“The Church is... where the Lord is acknowledged, and where the Word is.” - The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine §242
Kempton New Church

Christmas 2004

Dear Neighbor,

One of the beautiful stories of Christmas tells how a special star appeared and led the wise men to the Lord: “And behold, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was” (Matthew 2:9).

The wise men must have known the ancient prophecy, recorded in the book of Numbers: “There shall come a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel” (24:17). So they were watching for the star, and when they saw it, they knew the King of Israel had been born, the One who would hold the scepter. They came to worship Him, bringing very special gifts, so they must have known that He was the Lord.

People have wondered how a new star could appear and lead the wise men. Some astronomers have proposed various theories. But it seems clear that this special star was mainly something the wise men saw with their spiritual eyes, the eyes of the body in which we live after death. As Paul wrote, “So also is the resurrection of the dead… [The body] is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42, 44).

There are many stories in the Word of people seeing into the spiritual world. At Christmas we especially think of Mary and the shepherds, seeing the angel Gabriel when he came to announce the Lord’s birth.

The Lord Himself is the Sun of our life, the source of all the warmth of love and the light of truth. At a dark time in the history of mankind, He seemed distant, and most people did not recognize Him at all. But to those who were willing to see, He sent angels to give them hope.

The Lord’s teachings in the Bible – that there is one God, who is our Lord Jesus Christ; that we are to love Him above all, and our neighbor as ourselves; that we are created for eternal life; that God joins married partners together; and many others – all of these teachings are like stars, points of light in our minds, by which we can steer our course and come to Him. May the Christmas star renew your hope and lead you to the Lord, as you read these wonderful stories. (See Matthew and Luke, chapters 1 and 2.)


Rev. Lawson M. Smith