I should probably have mentioned a little earlier that I’m on holiday, up North and away from the internet. But, you may ask, that means this is a scheduled post – why didn’t I just say it when I wrote this? A very good question. You’ll have to ask me in the new year when I get back.
In 1955 Arthur C. Clarke published a short story titled The Star, about (spoilers!) a Jesuit astrophysicist investigating the remnant of a supernova referred to as the “Phoenix Nebula” that destroyed a civilisation when it exploded. This is revealed to have been the source of the star over Bethlehem, concluding:
[O]h God, there were so many stars you could have used. What was the need to give these people to the fire, that the symbol of their passing might shine above Bethlehem?