In 2020 we have been faced with so much adversity and we need to remember that during Advent there is great expectation and hope for the Birth of Christ. Today as I watched the local news, I saw that there was going to be a rare astrological event that would take place on December 21st, the first day of the Winter Solstice when Saturn and Jupiter align with one another. This rare phenomenon also took place in Bethlehem at the Birth of Jesus many years ago. It reminds me that there is beauty even in the darkness of the night as these two planets emulate a great light.
As I reflected upon this I was reminded of the beauty of Christmas during this most challenging year. Especially as we social distance and cannot be with family and close friends. It brings a different element into our celebration of Christmas. At times when I ponder the absence of having family over for Christmas and of not being able to sing in our church Choir at Midnight Mass or when I think about how long it has been since I have hugged my grandchildren, I have tears in my eyes. I feel a dark hole in my heart just like Mary did when she saw her beloved son put on the Cross.
Then I reflected on Mary, her edified “Fiat” in her response to the Angel Gabriel’s announcement of great joy and hope. It demonstrates her willingness to embrace the hope that God has to offer, even when she is unsure of how the future will unfold. Does that sound familiar? Are we not doing the same thing right now amid COVID-19?
Mary responds with profound faith and her openness to be an instrument for God to bring hope into the darkness that can cloud our human experience. Yes, it is hard to be in this pandemic, but we can be confident that we are not alone. We can be like Mary and trust in the task to which God calls us.
After pondering about Mary’s Fiat, my perception changed. I had the thought that we all need to see the brightly shining planets as symbolic of the Star of Bethlehem. It is a reminder of the Hope that God brought into the world and we all need HOPE now evermore. Then I took a deeper look at how amazing this occurrence would be and is happening in the year 2020.
In the year Jesus was born, there was social unrest, chaos, violence, and political upheaval. The Three Magi found Him by way of the star which was the “meeting” or alignment of 3 stars: Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars. The Magi followed that star until it rested where Jesus was and upon seeing Him began to worship him. In a time with so much darkness in the world, Light was brought into our world. Jesus was born and He stepped into the chaos and brought peace.
If we think about this day and age in the year 2020, it also is a time of social unrest, chaos, violence, and political upheaval. It is a time of darkness. Winter Solstice, December 21st is a time where the day is the shortest and night is the longest. It IS literally the “darkest day” and is what some would say is the cold, dark, and winter season. The sunlight is sparse in the Winter and the night sky prevails in darkness, but you can see the stars in the heavens above.
Think about this, “On the darkest day in 2020, Jupiter and Saturn will come together, giving us the Christmas Star!” How fitting that in the moment of time during the Christmas season that we get to see this miraculous reminder…. That even in the darkest of time … Light will, and has, stepped in. Into our chaos amid a pandemic, social unrest, political upheaval, and violence. In all this mess and even in the darkest of times, He is there. He brings us Light and makes all things new.
May we be reminded of His power and Light that He brings for all of mankind. Jesus is perfect at stepping into our chaos and turning it into peace as He said in John 14:27 “My peace I give you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” Indeed “It is often in the darkest skies that we see the brightest stars.”