Written in the Stars

Following a Star

Lately I have been thinking about the wise men, their journey and search for a newborn king. It fascinates me, these foreigners journeying such a long way, so sure that their search would end in a discovery of this king. Amazing, too, that the star led them to the very place that this king – the baby Jesus – was born. 

Their gifts, though, are the most telling. How much did they know, these wise men? How much did they see written in the stars to give this baby such prophetic gifts? The following article, by Robert J Morgan, shows just how fitting those gifts were:

      Gold is one of the noble metals. No single acid can destroy it, nor will it rust away, like iron or tin. … No one can successfully imitate or fake gold, so heavy and incorruptible it is. … Pure, supple, almost indestructible, gold is indeed a royal metal. … In the ancient world into which Christianity was born, gold was far rarer than now.

      Incense was made from an expensive and elaborate formula, containing 16 different ingredients, with only priests allowed to concoct it. And the chief element in this holy recipe was frankincense, the second gift of the wise men to the Child.

      Frankincense is a resin, from a kind of tree held so sacred of old that in southern Arabia and Ethiopia, where it grew, only a few particularly pure persons were allowed even to approach it…. To obtain the precious frankincense itself, an Arab cuts a slash in the trunk, and then strips off a narrow piece of bark, about five inches long, below the cut. The sap slowly oozes out and is allowed to harden for about three months. At last it is collected in lumps, … yellow or colorless, dusty-looking, with a bitter taste. But they burn with a bright white flame, and then there arises to heaven that sweet, heavy perfume of mystery that the Wise Men thought pleasing to God.

      Myrrh is a shrub related to frankincense … The sap of myrrh is extracted in the same way … But its symbolism is more somber. The word myrrh comes from the Hebrew “mar,” meaning “bitter.” The ancient Egyptians used this resin in embalming, and hence its connection with solemn occasions.

I began to write the words that came to mind as I thought about these wise men and their search for a king. It doesn’t have a set meter. It’s more wandering, maybe even stumbling, than anything. Like a search that ended with bittersweet gifts placed at the feet of a baby. 

The stars shone bright that holy night

Brighter than ever before

But what did it mean to have Your name

Written among the stars?

The wise men must have had a clue

For with the gifts they gave to You

Was myrrh, the bittersweet perfume,

That told the tale of a waiting tomb

“Where is the King,” some heard them say

You came not for glory, fame

Unrecognized, yet still Your name

Was written among the stars

Were You born on a starlit night?

Did any wonder at the sight?

Or had so many closed their eyes

To wonder, glory, in the skies

So only shepherds heard the glad cry

Of one whose name

Was written among the stars


And on a night so silent, clear

I step outside, and I hear

And I sit as one entranced

To think the one who called them to dance

The stars in their celestial place

Telling their stories with silent grace

Wrote His name among the stars

He knew where the stars would be at His birth

The tales they would tell

Of Heaven’s hope upon this earth

Salvation from sorrow and hell

The stars that told in silent word

The birthday of the King

Spoke too of the time

When His heart would be pierced

When salvation He would bring


So what does it mean

To have your name

Written among the stars?

A destiny of love

The love of a Lord

Who bore beating and scars

He bled and died

But it was not the end

He rose to untold glory

He who made Heaven and earth

And draws us to know our worth

Authored life’s deepest, greatest story