The solar eclipse & the baby in the manger[1]

solar eclipse (Wikipedia)

By Spencer D Gear

On Wednesday, 4th December 2002, a total eclipse of the sun was visible from within a narrow corridor across the Southern Hemisphere. The path of the moon’s shadow began in the South Atlantic ocean and crossed southern Africa. After moving across the southern Indian Ocean, the path sweeps through southern Australia where the eclipse ended at sunset.[2]

A shadow passed over the South Australian town of Ceduna[3] and other parts of inland Australia. For just 31 seconds, the sun’s raw glare disappeared for 31 seconds. The cause was the moon as it passed between the sun and earth. It was a total solar eclipse.[4]

The next solar eclipse to be viewed over Australia will be on November 13, 2012, viewed from Darwin and Cairns.[5]

The first Christmas day just over 2002 years ago and the total eclipse have a remarkable connection. You read correctly!

The Lord Jesus Christ, the beloved Son of God, created all things “in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (The Bible’s Book of Colossians 1:16-17).

Jesus Christ’s involvement with the remarkable events of a total eclipse came about because that first Christmas day was not the first day that Jesus existed. The Person in the manger has always existed. All things today “hold together” in the universe because of Christ’s sustaining power.

Christ is not a part of creation. He is not a created being. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things in the universe.

The Bible’s Book of Hebrews 1:2 speaks of Jesus, the Son, “through whom he made the universe.”

Think of what this means. The baby in the manger is the one who created this immense universe with the ability for a solar eclipse.

Think with me on the enormity of the universe. It causes me to bow before the living Lord, the truly a majestic, all-powerful God.

It has been explained this way: A hollow ball the size of our sun would, for example, hold 1,200,000 planets the size of the earth–with room for 4,300,000 more

globes the size of our moon! The nearest star, Alpha Centauri, is five times larger than the sun. One of the stars visible in the constellation Orion is Betelguese. It is 248 times larger than the sun. Arcturus is ten times larger than that!

No wonder Job expressed his awe of God this way: ‘How should man be just with God? If he will contend with him . . . which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades’ (Job 9:1-2, 9, King James Version).

A ray of light travels at approximately 300,000 km per second, so a beam of light from earth will reach the moon in a second and a half. Mercury could be reached in 4.5 minutes. It would take about 35 minutes to reach Jupiter, about an hour to get to Saturn, but it would take 4 years and 4 months to get to the nearest star.

For light to travel only to the edge of the galaxy, the Milky Way, would take about 100,000 years. Count the stars as you travel and you would find about a hundred billion in the Milky Way alone. If you wanted to explore other galaxies, you would have literally billions to choose from. The size of the universe is incomprehensible.[6]

Who made all of this? Scientists want us to believe it came about by a naturalistic Big Bang explosion that eventually formed a primordial swamp, etc.

This doesn’t explain it satisfactorily to me. God created it. Every last corner of it. Who? The One who became the baby in Bethlehem. He made everything.

More than that. The Bible’s Book of Hebrews 1: 3 confirms that He is “sustaining all things by his powerful word.”

Without the real God-man, Jesus, this whole world would fall apart. The solar eclipse would not be possible. He is actively involved in sustaining this world. Your next breath cannot be guaranteed without the sustaining power of Jesus.

Yet, how do we treat Him? With a tip of the hat at Christmas time, maybe! But really, Santa, reindeer, snow, tinsel and materialistic things take pride of place. The Saviour, Creator and Sustainer of the universe, Jesus himself, is an embarrassment to a world that needs a reason for a public holiday.

This solar eclipse should be enough to bring us to our senses at this Christmas season. The baby in the manger is God in human flesh.

What child is this? This has been poignantly expressed by the poet:

Some say He was just a good teacher,

but good teachers don’t claim to be God.

Some say He was merely a good example,

but good examples don’t mingle with prostitutes and sinners.

Some say He was a madman,

but madmen don’t speak the way He spoke.

Some say He was a crazed fanatic,

but crazed fanatics don’t draw children to themselves or attract men of intellect like Paul or Luke to be their followers.

Some say He was a religious phoney,

but phonies don’t rise from the dead.

Some say He was a phantom,

but phantoms can’t give their flesh and blood to be crucified.

Some say He was only a myth,

but myths don’t set the calendar for history.”[7]

This Jesus of eternity, Bethlehem and the cross of Golgotha has been called: the ideal man, an example of religion, the foremost pattern of virtue, the greatest of all men, the finest teacher who ever lived.

These descriptions give some idea of his character, but they don’t approach the full truth. I think the apostle Thomas stated it beautifully when he saw Jesus after the resurrection and exclaimed the truth: “My Lord and My God” (John 20:28).


[1] This was a Christmas devotional that I, Spencer Gear, presented to the Bundaberg Ministers’ Association (Bundaberg, Qld., Australia) for its December 2002 meeting.

[2] NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, “Eclipse Home Page: Total Solar Eclipse of 2002 December 04”, available at:: [Accessed 1 January 2010].

[3] See the “Ceduna Total Eclipse Report” [Accessed 1 January 2010].

[4] “Total solar eclipse 2002: Eclipse science,” [Accessed 4 December 2002]. However, on 1 January 2010 this URL was not available.

[5] Ibid., also [Accessed 4 December 2002]. However, on 1 January 2010 this URL was not available.

[6]John F. MacArthur Jr. 1989, God with Us: The Miracle of Christmas. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Books, p. 93.

[7]Ibid.,, p. 83.


Copyright © 2010 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 13 October 2015.