I was fascinated by the landing of the InSight spacecraft on Mars several years ago. The trip took about six months to travel 33 million miles. That distance pales in comparison to the distance from the earth to the sun, which totals 93 million miles. Going one step further, the nearest star is Alpha Centauri which is 4.67 light years from the sun. Doing the math, that distance in miles is 2.651+13 zeroes.
On a clear night, the visible stars make a magnificent sight, inspiring awe in me and giving me pause to consider, how did they get there? The vast distances in space and the sheer numbers of stars and planets are simply mind boggling.
Romans 1:20 says “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
2,100-odd years ago, a group of shepherds in Israel were watching over their flocks at night when a galactic event took place. The Bible described it thusly: “An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” I guess so! This was a visible divine radiance since it was God’s glory on display.
Remember the scene in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” when the alien spaceship landed amidst a dazzling light show? That was nothing compared to what the shepherds saw and heard.
The actual birth of our Savior took place in humble surroundings, typifying His abasement of Himself by assuming human form. But make no mistake, God Himself announced the event not only to the shepherds, but also to the Magi. This birth of Christ changed the world forever since people could thereafter be reconciled to God through faith in Christ.
This fact is what we celebrate at Christmas: God intervened in human history and provided a means of rescue for all who repent and follow Christ in faith.