1. Conception or Birth?
A startling thought suggests itself. We get very excited about Christmas – and so we should, since this birth is the revealing of God’s invasion into humanity, in celebration for which the angels tear aside the very curtain of heaven (a most unique event in itself!). Yet the birth is really only secondary. The more extraordinary event is the conception, where an almost invisible single cell – a fertilized egg – “contains” the Great Almighty Creator God, the Son. So if the actual miracle is the conception, should and does the Ballet of the Stars take notice of this greater occasion? If so, how does the time of gestation – conception to birth – fit into the Ballet?
The average length of human gestation is 266 days. Often 280 days is assumed, but that counts from the last menstrual period to birth, and since the egg cannot be fertilized until it is released from the ovary, the 14 days after the last period cannot be included.
Counting from August 12, 3 BC (first Venus-Jupiter conjunction) to May 8, 2 BC (last Jupiter-Regulus encounter), there is a total of 269 days, a startlingly close match, however there still is a three-day difference. But wait! While the egg is forming in the ovary, the woman’s basil temperature rises for three days prior to ovulation. Why should these days be significant?
Normally conception is when the seed of man, the male sperm, (with 23 chromosomes) unites with the egg (with 23 chromosomes), bringing together the required 46 chromosomes that define a person’s human body, but there is no such human father involvement for Jesus. How and when does He then get the “other half” of the needed chromosome code? Truly, it could just “appear” at the right time. Or – when the egg itself is forming, rather than separating into a half chromosome content, it retains the full 46, however, with one of the two female “X” chromosomes becoming the male “Y.” The “fertilization” or conception occurs while the egg is forming, therefore “Jesus” exists also for these additional three days before He is released by the ovary. Since the “other half” of the chromosome count is also supplied by Mary, He then is indeed truly “the seed of the woman” [Genesis 3:15].
2. The More Complete Picture
As we consider the length of time, why should we stop at the conjunction on May 8th? If we count the days from the Venus-Jupiter conjunction on August 12, 3 BC to the remarkable second Venus-Jupiter joining on June 17, 2 BC, it is exactly 269 + 40 days.
A woman who has conceived and gives birth to a son will be unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during the days of her monthly period. On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. Then she shall wait thirty-three days in the Blood of her cleansing. She shall not touch any holy thing; she shall not enter the sanctuary until the days of her cleansing are over. [Leviticus 12:2-4]
7 days to the circumcision plus 33 more days – 40 days is the period of “purification” for a woman who has just given birth to a male baby, at the end of which, according to Luke, Jesus is presented in Jerusalem in the temple:
When the eight days were completed in order to circumcise Him, His Name was called ‘Jesus,’ the Name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. Now when the days of her cleansing according to the law of Moses were completed, they took Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. [Luke 2:21-22]
269 plus 7 days (the eighth day) to Jesus’ Circumcision has its place (to be discussed shortly), while the “33 days” also catches the eye, since Jesus’ life on this earth spans “about” 33 years.
3. The Golden Parentheses
On August 12, 3 BC, a masculine Venus joins the New King, Jupiter; and on June 17, 2 BC, it is a feminine Venus joining Jupiter. In the first conjunction, Jesus (Jupiter) joins with human flesh (masculine Venus), in the second, Jesus is now at His mother (feminine Venus)’s breast; in the first He “empties” Himself [Philippians 2:7], “leaving” the throne of His Father, now in the second He is presented before the throne of His Father.
This forms "the Golden Parentheses,” an overview of Jesus’ birth. Inside "the Parentheses,” the feasts occurring at the conjunctions of Jupiter and Regulus describe the details of what Jesus is about and what He will do. As well, there is what could be in the heavens a “real-time” mirror of what is happening on the earth.
Although the Magi have some of the “His-Story” through the prophecies, we have the advantage of knowing the full Story and therefore know even more fully what the meaning is to the Ballet of the Heavens. As best as can be determined, this Ballet has never occurred before, and probably will not again. The Ballet cannot be mere happenstance, yet it does happen – now, at this place, at this time within world history. The planets and the stars, hung long ago at creation, now, for the first time, “in the fullness of time” dance their message so that even “the heavens declare the Glory of the Lord.”