Friday, September 19, 2008

A New Star Over Bethlehem

On that holy night so long ago when the Savior was born, the veil of the heavens was rent and glory spilled to earth as hosts of angels, a veritable army of heaven proclaimed peace to the world.

Yet as the angels departed and darkness once more claimed the night, one bright witness remained in the heavens; the scriptures tell us that a new star arose and stood fast over Bethlehem. Although wise men at some distance saw the star and knew its significance, apparently, those near Bethlehem were oblivious to the light shining from above.

Nonetheless, through that night and through the nights that followed, the new star gleamed in the sky, steady, penetrating, reaching every part of the world with its still, small light. Did not some glimmer of its light grace that scene about the manger where Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus found rest?  In the loneliness of night could not the fisherman have seen its reflection dance in the black water of the Sea of Galilee? Night after dark night, did not the light of the star of Bethlehem offer hope to the child born blind? To the prodigal son who had forgotten the way home? To the woman, ensnared in sin, condemned by those who should teach forgiveness? 

And still today, in man’s darkest hours of despair and fear, does not the starlight yet shimmer as it weaves amid the twisted branches and tangled olive leaves of the ancient grove at Gethsemane? For the star of Bethlehem was sent as sign, symbol, and promise of the great work that Christ came to the earth to perform.

For in that ancient grove at Gethsemane, on another sacred night when moon and stars wove through twisted branches and tangled olive leaves, Jesus suffered in agony of body and spirit, in anguish so intense that an angel was sent to strengthen Him. There Jesus paid the penalty for all the wrong, the weak, the weariness and sin in all creation. When, finally, the Savior surrendered His life on the cross and rose to live again, the permanence of death and sorrow, misery, and injustice were destroyed.

“Come unto me,” Jesus calls, “All ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I shall give you rest.” That is to say, “I have suffered for your sins, for your weakness, for your sorrow. Allow me to take away what I have already paid for on your behalf. Come and have peace in your life now, and eternal blessings in the world to come."

That is why I wrote the lyrics to "A New Star Over Bethlehem." Diane has made a beautiful song of it: it is available as both a simple solo version and as a more involved choral arrangement.


Amity said...

This is a beautiful song. Thanks for your thoughts on it.

Amaree said...

This is absolutely gorgeous!!!! I am hoping to sing this as a solo, and transposing the flute for clarinet (since we have no flutist in our ward). Oh, so lovely!