Tonight and all this week, Saturn and Jupiter will have a “great conjunction.”1
Since reading Michael Ward’s Planet Narnia this year, which gave me a layman’s course in the medieval spheres, this conjunction has assumed monumental symbolic significance in my mind. Saturn is Infortuna Major, the sphere of suffering, old age, and death. Jupiter is Fortuna Major, the magnanimous, magnificent King. We get our term “jovial” from Jupiter.
Saturn—Infortuna Major—is there a better emblem of what 2020 has been to so many of us?
And Jupiter—the beneficent king—meets it. Is there any better symbol of what we need here at the end of this disheartening, ugly, saturnine year?
People are calling this conjunction the Christmas Star, and indeed it is a celestial figure of Christmas. The great king gladly enters, bravely meets, our suffering and death. From this entrance—this conjunction—he will transform it into something bright and beautiful.
In this season of Advent, waiting and hoping for the end to this particular wave of suffering that has swept the entire year along in its wake, I pray according to the symbol God has caused the heavens to declare:
Magnificent King of Heaven, as you have joined Jupiter with Saturn in our night sky, meet us in our great suffering.
When you are with us in our pain and sorrow, you make beauty come even from Greatest Misfortune.
The skies proclaim the work of your hands, and tonight they will enact the greatest news: you already met death once, and from that meeting came glory and grace.
In your Word, you say of the destroyers of your people, “As I live, declares the LORD, you shall put them all on as an ornament; you shall bind them on as a bride does” (Isaiah 49:18).
So many forces have worked destructively this year, Lord. But we don’t have to stay stuck in this ugliness. You can make even this year work beautiful things, too.
So, Lord, these last days of Advent, we thank you for this skyward emblem of how you work, and we wait for you to work that way again. Make our destroyers ornaments around our necks.
Lord, I hope the skies will be clear so I can see this conjunction that preaches so much to my heart. But Lord, the best part of it all is, even if I don’t see it, I know it’s still happening. Up there—and down here.
Come, Lord Jesus.
- This article was originally published Dec. 21, 2020 at ShannonStewartWrites.Wordpress.com. It’s reprinted here with permission. ↩