Follow That Star

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“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.’”

—Matthew 2:1-2

Imagine that you are one of those wise Magi who saw a bright, beautiful star leading the way to Jesus. Not much is known about these mysterious travelers. They may have traveled thousands of miles to look for Jesus, the newborn king—and they found him! They followed the star God put in the sky to guide them. If you were a traveling visitor from a faraway land, what do you think you would have seen? Can you imagine the excitement the Magi must have felt when the star finally led them to Jesus? Wow!

Many people include stars in their celebration of Christmas. We eat star-shaped Christmas cookies, put shiny stars at the top of Christmas trees, or hang star-shaped ornaments around our homes. The star that led the Magi to Jesus must have been a marvelous sight. Ever wondered where stars come from? Let’s take a closer look at some of the most incredible twinkling lights—and these won’t go out after your Christmas tree is put away!

What Is a Star?
A star is a gigantic sphere (ball) of hot gas in outer space that is held together by its own gravity. Stars form over time from clouds of dust. The dust and gases from space begin to pull together to form a huge ball of heat that becomes transformed into an amazing star.

Cool Star Facts
● The star closest to the Earth is the sun. (Yes, the sun is a star!)
● Stars can be different colors. Depending on how hot the star is, they can be brown, red, orange, yellow, white, or even blue!
● Stars shine brightly, but do not actually twinkle. They only appear to be twinkling because of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Stars in the Bible
The Bible has a lot to say about stars. Genesis 1:16 tells us that God created two great lights—the sun and moon—and the stars. God also told Abraham that his family would be as numerous as the stars in the sky (Genesis 15:5)—now that’s a lot of children! Stars are even commanded to worship God: “Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars” (Psalm 148:3). God’s Word also tells us that we who belong to God’s family ought to let the light of our faith shine like stars in the universe—holding out the word of life to others living in a dark world (Philippians 2:15). Just as the Magi followed the shining star that led them to Jesus, our lives should shine brightly and lead others to meet Jesus. So let your light shine brightly! Read on for some ways you can shine the light of your faith to those around you this Christmas season.

Star-iffic Christmas Activities

Star Cookies
Make a plate of delicious Christmas cookies—using your star cookie cutter!—and decorate them with colorful frosting and sprinkles. Deliver the cookies to a neighbor, friend, or relative, and explain how the Magi followed a star to Jesus.

Star Party
Have an “Outta This World” star Christmas party. Decorate your house with lots of glittery paper stars, Christmas lights, and candles (with an adult’s help). Serve foods like sandwiches shaped like stars (use a metal cookie cutter), star cookies, star cereal, star fruit, starburst candies, or anything else that’s star-iffic. Invite all your friends and have a great time! Read the story of the Magi following the star in Matthew 2:1-12. Then have fun acting out the story!

Star Ornaments
Make salt dough ornaments using the recipe below. Once the ornaments are hardened, use tempera or acrylic paints and glitter to decorate your ornaments. Give them to friends and relatives as Christmas gifts.

What you’ll need:
Christmas cookie cutters
Cookie sheet
Small straw
Yarn
Rolling pin
1 cup flour
½ cup salt
1 tbsp oil
1 cup water
tempera or acrylic paints
glitter (optional)

Mix flour, salt, oil, and water together in a bowl. Knead and roll out dough with a rolling pin (use extra flour as necessary) until the dough is about ¼ inch (1 cm) thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out your ornaments, then place them on a cookie sheet. Use a straw to poke a small hole at the top of each ornament (this is where you will string the yarn). Bake the ornaments at 250 degrees for 15 minutes or until the dough is hardened. (Or you could set ornaments out to dry overnight instead.) Decorate your ornaments with paint and glitter. When the paint is dry, string yarn through the hole of each ornament and hang them all on your Christmas tree!

About the Author

Christin Baker is a full-time stay-at-home mom who also writes for Faith Alive. She is a member of Resurrection Fellowship Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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