April 18, 2014

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The Star of Bethlehem

As seen in Billy Tucci’s A Child is Born

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” – Psalm 19:1-2 (NIV)

The Star of Bethlehem fascinates. For millennia, believers, scoffers, and the curious have wondered at the Biblical account of the Star. The Bible recounts unusual, or even impossible astronomical events at Christ’s birth. But what happens if we combine current historical scholarship, astronomical fact, and an open mind?

I first asked this question over a decade ago. A lawyer by trade, I became fascinated—obsessed, really—with figuring out the Star. Sitting in the dark on my back deck, my eyes to the heavens and my laptop crunching numbers in an astronomical software program, I uncovered a celestial poem so beautifully written it changed my life forever.

And I am not alone.

Fast forward to summer, 2011, and the day Billy Tucci had a friend ring me about contributing to a graphic novella interpretation of the Christmas story. At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. What I was unaware of at the time—and something Billy’s fans have known for years—is that Billy is obsessed with details. Every line Billy’s pencil carves is informed by meticulous research. He’s not above dressing his friends in period costume and posing them in still-life reenactments if it will improve the page. Some people think Billy goes overboard on this detail stuff. I donʼt, because I’m the same way. (I’m a lawyer, remember?)

And that’s why, when Billy’s friend called, my mobile phone danced in my pocket. You see, Billy being Billy wanted the Star in this book to be spot-on accurate. Many people don’t realize that the neighborhood nativity scenes get it wrong. The Magi weren’t manger-side the night of Jesus’ birth; they arrived months later, guided by something visible to all but that only a few could really see. Billy knew from my DVD, The Star of Bethlehem, that I’d seen the Star. Maybe I could help him—and you—see it too.

The science behind the Star begins with a five-hundred-year-old Austrian brainstorm that’s still shocking and sizzling today. Back then, Johannes Kepler puzzled out his three Laws of Planetary Motion. Kepler’s conclusion? The universe and our solar system run smoothly, like a great mathematical clock. Centuries later, NASA (and everyone else) uses Keplerʼs laws to calculate paths for space probes. Think about it—spacecraft slingshot through a black vacuum at unreal speeds for decades and arrive at precisely the correct bit of space and time to do their work.

But Kepler’s math also works in reverse. Running Keplerʼs stopwatch backward allowed me to show scientifically that Christ’s Star wasn’t some goofy invention of early believers trying to embellish Jesus’ birth. The Star was a real astronomical event. An event strongly supported by 1) Keplerʼs math (in the form of computer software), and 2) every clue I could pry out of the Bible, including the original Greek texts. In fact, if you take the time, you can find nine specific clues about the Star in Matthew’s original gospel account. It’s those nine clues that drove my pursuit of the Star. And it’s the evidence they illuminate that brought Billy Tucci and me together in this book.

So, what happens when you combine current historical scholarship, astronomical fact, and an open mind? I invite you to visit www.bethlehemstar.net and join the tens of millions of people worldwide who discovered for themselves the truth about history’s most famous star. If you’d like to hear me tell the story and show you what the Magi saw 2,000 years ago, pick up a copy of my DVD, The Star of Bethlehem—a fun and fascinating presentation that’s also one of the best-selling indie documentaries on Earth.

God bless and go for broke, Billy!

Rick Larson

The Star of Bethlehem