The Star of Bethlehem

The trail was so dark that shadows kept playing tricks with your eyes, but you could see the light in the distance.  It was shining brightly upon all the residents below.  Sitting on the mountain top, it never failed to light up the night sky.

Finally, you reached the clearing… Every city has their iconic symbol; Bethlehem has its star – and there it was.


Walking around Bethlehem, you will spot our iconic star.  It is on street signs, “Follow the (STAR SYMBOL) To Bethlehem Attractions”.  It is on necklaces in storefronts on Main Street on north-side, it is forged in steel and glass hanging above doorways, and even on the road on Main Street.

What you have to watch out for is Bethlehem is also the home of Moravian history and Moravian College.  The Moravians also have an iconic star.  The Moravian Book Shop sells merchandise of both stars and pointed out the difference in a Facebook post from 2011:

The Moravian Star is also known as the Advent Star or the Herrnhut Star (which was the location in Germany where the star was made exclusively for many years). As the Moravians believe in equality among men and women, the points on the Moravian Star are all equal in length.

The Bethlehem Star, which can be seen atop Bethlehem’s South Mountain, has fewer points than the Moravian Star, and the points at the top and bottom of the star are elongated. This star is also know as the Christmas Star, representing the Star of Bethlehem that led the Magi to the manger where Christ was born.

So, when you’re trying to determine which star you’re looking at, if the points are all equal, it’s a Moravian Star; if the top and bottom points are elongated, it’s a Bethlehem Star.

Star of Bethlehem 7

Above: On note cards sold at the Moravian Book Shop, you can see the difference between both stars.

To get to the star it is a bit of a hike, but worth every step.  For one, seeing the star up-close is novel.  The star looms above you, and is lit from the front, as well as the back – so it can be seen from the north and south.  As a precaution, it is gated all around the base.

Secondly, the hike is worth it for the view.  It is truly breathtaking!  To be in a complete cleared area above the woods looking down on the lights of Bethlehem below…

…it is simply magical.


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