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“A Star, A Star”

“A Star, A Star” – by Pastor Joecks

Sermon, December 13, 2015

at St. Stephen’s, Edison, NJ


Psst shepherd, wake up, wake up, for never have I seen

so bright a light, a light turning night into day.

What – what’s that you say?

Has one of the lambs roamed away?

Or does some lion, some ravenous beast

lurk near our flock looking for a feast?


No, rather a star ignites the night

never have I seen the likes of such a sight.

So what – another star, another sky –

you wake me from my sleep, but why?

O foolish shepherd, let me be

a star is nothing much to see.


Ah, a million stars may look the same

but none like this – so much aflame.

As if a thousand diamonds hurled

hang now suspended above this work,

blazing, burning across the skies,

the very brilliance hurts my eyes.


A star, a star – oh yes, now I see!

But is this not a dream, could such a star be?

It illumines all earth, formed to a stem

that points its way down to Bethlehem.

That little village now showered – a thousand rays

poured down from this celestial blaze.

The beauty of all this – more than I’ve seen,

but why such an evening star – what could this mean?

Is there a hidden message within its radiant beams?

A hundred hopes, a thousand dreams?

Or does the – wait – what floods the skies?

How can we escape it – it’s blinding our eyes!


Lo, shepherds, peace! Fear not for this day

we bring you good news, for not far away

is the joy of a boy born in a stall,

come to be savior of shepherds and all.

And one day when grown He’ll own also your name,

for as a shepherd He’ll lead us, to be shepherd He came.

As shepherd He’ll tend us, care for each one apart,

as shepherd He’ll feed us, with life, love, His heart.

And just as you shepherds risk live every day

from wild beasts that prowl to make sheep their prey,

so one day He’ll lay down His life and His breath

that His sheep might find God’s love in His death.

So follow that star and follow its aim,

it points to a child, Good Shepherd’s His name.


Meanwhile as shepherds begin their journey afar

a cagey Herod catches a glimpse of that star.

By gods of all Romans, I tremble to see

this giant light above us, a mystery to me.

Casper, Melchior, astrologers, come look and come tell,

what hidden message here, what sign or what spell?

You who read stars as if parchment or scroll,

has this star any meaning, some message foretold?


O Herod, there it is, as prophets proclaim,

it burns over the birth of a king of great fame!

A king you say, a king, hmm a king -

far be it from Herod to stop such a thing.

Of course I am thrilled to hear such great news,

but tell me what kind of king?


King of the Jews!


King of the Jews?  An ambitious little thing,

is this baby who would grow to make himself king

Well then, load up your camels, go find him, please do,

then bring me word that I might worship him too.

Go bring him your gifts, go praise him and then

make sure that you come back to Herod again.


Farewell good King Herod, we go as you say,

at once we’ll make ready, they’ll be no delay.

We’ll follow that star and follow its aim,

it points to a child, King of Kings is His name.


Meanwhile as wise men travel to follow the light,

a blind Bartimaus stumbles in the Bethlehem night.

He walks with a friend and his friend tells him how

a special star hangs over Bethlehem now.


O tell me good friend for I cannot see,

what is this star like, what special things be?

O Bartimaus, a star of such width and such height,

as though God himself decided to light up this night;

so took all our town’s candles and hung them up high,

then one by one lit them to light up our sky.


O friend, it sounds wondrous, I wish I had sight

to see such a wonder on this special night.

But here, take my arm, lead no matter how far

that I might stand beneath such a bright, splendid star.


So hobbled he on not knowing that night,

that the one he would find would one day give sight.

So they followed that star and followed its aim,

It points to a child, Light of Life is His name.


As Baritmaus hobbles, two Roman guards walk,

and that same shining star fills their sight and their talk.


Wait till the Empire hears tell of this story,

for in all of our Rome, never such glory!

No Roman shield, no battlefield – filled with the troops of a thousand men,

no horse brigade, no big parade could match this sight of Bethlehem.

Even the Emperor with all his power by far

could do nothing to make this magnificent star.

To think what a crazy thing – that this star should choose

to shine with such brilliance over such lowly Jews.

Meanwhile Zelda wakes Jeremiah to see –

It’s the biggest star ever, you can take it from me!


Oh, Zelda, Zelda, go back to sleep,

stop your star gazing, start counting your sheep.

Too many weddings and too much wine

has begun to affect your sight and your mind.

Out of that window, always sticking your nose –

it’s this neighbor’s hairdo and that neighbor’s clothes.

Now you see a star filling the skies,

too little brain, too many eyes,

unlike a star, you are not very bright.

Back to bed, Zelda, say your prayers and good night!


Meanwhile in the streets below, a weary father has begun

to lift within his arms and carry home his crippled son.

Thank you, father, hope I am no burden for you this night.


How could you be?  You are my son, the burden then is light.

Father, look above us, O what a pretty star.

You’re right, my son, the most beautiful by far.

Father you look so happy, does that star make you smile?


O son, for that shining star I’ve waited a long, long while.


For God has promised a star to shine that beneath its flowing rays,


a child would come to see us through our darkest days.


And He will carry both of us safe in his arms of care.


He’ll lift us up close to his heart, there’s peace and comfort there.




O father, could we see Him – could you take me to the place,


that I might make Him a friend of mine and look upon His face.


Of course, dear son, let’s follow and see




So they followed that star and followed its aim,


it points to a child, Loving Savior His name.


And you, fellow Christians, tell me now true,


does the star over Bethlehem shine over you?


Does it shine but on Christmas cards this time of the year?


Or can it still shatter our darkness, our fear?


Can we like Bartimaus groping and blind,


still hope it its burning some hope to find?


Can we like the shepherds seeking a way,


still find in its shining direction today?


Can we like the little child with crippled up limb,


also bring beneath this star our crippled lives to Him?


Then come as they on that very first night,


and lift up your eyes to see such a sight.


Come though broken and battered you be,


come stand neath the sky, come look and come see.


Come you who are weary, come you growing old,


lift your eyes to the Christmas Star, come look and behold.


Come with your tears, your dreams falling apart,


come with your broken hopes and your broken heart.


Come with your hurts, with lives that are tossed,


come with the sorrow of those you have lost.


Come with your strivings and fightings and fears,


come with the sufferings woven through years.


Come with your hurting for those whom you care,


come with the burden that no one else shares.


Come stand ‘neath the heavens and you too shall see


the star that’s still shining for you and for me.


For the child that is born there is our Jesus too,


and the love that shines forth there is God’s love for you.


So follow that star and follow its aim,


it points to a child, “God with us” His name.


Psst Shepherd, wake up, wake up, look, look this way.


What now – can’t a shepherd catch sleep in the middle of day?


But over there yonder, there’s a hill and a tree.


So what, crazy shepherd, a tree is really nothing to see.


But they’ve nailed Him upon it and lifted Him high.


A tree – oh, I see – O no and O my!


You’re right, for with thorny crown does His head lowly bow.


He lays down His life and His love for us now.


Of a hundred million other trees, none to compare,


let us go, shepherd friend, that we might find Him there.


That as we once followed His star above,


so now we might stand at the tree of His love.


For the tree gently bears our gentle King’s frame,


for there’s one who is dying – Loving Jesus, His name.


So gives He this Christmas a star and a tree,


And the little Lord Jesus for you and for me.


So find Him and keep Him and make Him a part,


Of your whole life-long living, of your whole life-long heart.

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