Monday, December 22, 2014

Editorial: Star of Bethlehem

By Jerry Wolgemuth, Director of Communications, SUSUMC

In the 1970s British journalist, and late-comer to the Christian faith, Malcolm Muggeridge looked around and said, “It is difficult to resist the conclusion that 20th century man has decided to abolish himself. Tired of the struggle to be himself, he has created boredom out of his own affluence, impotence out of his own erotomania, and vulnerability out of his own strength. He himself blows the trumpet that brings the walls of his own cities crashing down until, at last, having educated himself into imbecility, having drugged and polluted himself into stupefaction, he keels over, a weary battered old brontosaurus and becomes extinct."

Those are dark words from the prior century, but it is true that at Christmastide we often take the time to paint a backdrop of the present state of humankind against which our story of the Star of Bethlehem can shine most brilliantly.

The light of Christmas might shine most brightly in the simplest of terms. The family of A.L. Phipps (wife Kathleen and two of twelve children) recorded gospel and Kentucky mountain music in the 1950s and 1960s. In the Southern Gospel tradition, Mr. Phipps wrote the song “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem.” The chorus reads: 
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem
Shine upon us until the glory dawns
Give us a lamp to light the way
Unto the land of perfect day
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem, shine on.

You’ll find several renditions of this song by the Oakridge Boys on YouTube, such as this one at

You might enjoy learning the song and singing with a karaoke video at:


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