People even today remain fascinated by the story of the Magi and the star of Bethlehem, even many atheists and agnostics. There are scriptural accounts of some kind of ancient astronomical phenomenon, but is it true - or simply a fable to notch up the significance of the nativity of Christ?
Matthew 2:1-1 notes a "star" leading three wise men to Bethlehem. The exact words attributed to the Magi are:
"For we saw his star at its rising and have come to worship Him".
However, no other quadriform gospel utters a peep or syllable about it. Why not? If it was an actual occurrence, why didn’t any of the other New Testament authors address it? This is disturbing and makes one recall the words of a Catholic historian, the Rev. Thomas Bokenkotter, writing in his monograph: ‘A Concise History of the Catholic Church’(page 17):
“The Gospels were not meant to be a historical or biographical account of Jesus. They were written to convert unbelievers to faith in Jesus as the Messiah, or God.”
One astronomical explanation long since debunked is that the object in question was an actual star. Reason? No one star - no matter its brightness (magnitude)- would be visible long enough. And certainly not at a fixed location or altitude such that it might provide a "search beacon".
We can surmise then that the Bethlehem star story from Matthew is basically a spiritual fable, like so many others. However, we can be certain of one thing: over time the Christian astronomers (like one of my former physics Ph.D. advisers) will think of other possible astronomical phenomena to explain a basically mythical event: three wise men being directed to a nativity scene some 2,000 plus years ago.
Perhaps if one insists on such a thing, some object "guiding" wise men to a special creche, it's best to go with what my late brother Jerry:proposed 30 years ago: a hovering UFO (actually, an "Ezekiel -type spaceship") pointing the way to an alien's birth. (Whenever Jerry heard the words "God incarnate" he interpreted them as "alien incarnate." )
Jerry's take is probably weighted by having worked in an Air Force Top Secret section at Wright-Patterson AFB ca. 1970-71 where he insisted he'd actually witnessed the alien bodies recovered at Roswell. He never diverged from that account.
And he vowed to "write a book" presenting all the data, images - mostly in the form of sketches of the bodies he recalled. No photos. He distrusted nearly all the photos claimed to be of those Roswell aliens. He was about one- third finished with his book when he died suddenly of a ruptured abdominal aorta aneurysm on August 6th, 2016.
His last words to me in an email contact were: "Those aliens, the same ones Christ was really a humanized front for, are coming in 2022. You can take that to the damned bank!"
Well, we will see if his forecast - the one he also planned to deliver in his uncompleted book ('The Roswell Aliens: Solved') - turns out to be true. One thing for sure: to the degree humanity and the planet is spiraling into climate catastrophe, pandemic chaos, political authoritarianism and a massive rejection of reason - we may need a constructive alien intervention.