Star Light, Star Bright

P1110199 (2)There’s something mystical and beautiful about a Moravian Star. It has a wonderful symmetry – and in fact, was supposedly first created as part of a geometry lesson in a Moravian (a Protestant denomination) school in Germany.

It has been widely adopted now as a symbol of the Christmas Star, Advent, and the Epiphany.

The Moravian Church originated in central Europe (Czech/German), and sent missionaries around the world, including to North America’s native populations. Those people included tribes of the Hudson Valley and Northeastern Pennsylvania. The Moravians actually founded the city of Bethlehem, PA, home of Moravian College.

Growing up in Eastern Pennsylvania, we were surrounded by Moravian stars in stores and homes all around us. I remember the year my mother bought a kit and she and I assembled a heavy paper star about two feet in diameter, designed to have a light inside it. It was beautiful and adorned some section of our living room every year after that, from Advent through Epiphany, when it came down with our other Christmas decorations prior to our parents’ annual “Twefth Night” party.

This year, my beloved and I went into New York City twice during the holiday season. On both trips, we and our companions wandered through the Columbus Circle Holiday Market on the southwest corner of Central Park. Imagine my delight when we emerged onto Columbus Circle and looked up at the Time Warner building. Hung from the celing of its main lobby was a collection of huge Moravian stars illuminating the building, gradually changing colors. I was able to get a better look at them when we went into the building in search of lunch. They took me back, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.

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Epiphany was this week, and I suspect that many of the Moravian stars put up for Christmas this year have been taken down now. I’m thinking I’ll go online and order a kit or two to make some to decorate my house next Christmas – maybe my grandkids can help me put them together, and we can add these beautiful illuminating stars to our family traditions. They’re certainly less fattening than cookies!


This post was written in response to the WordPress Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination.  To see other bloggers’ bright responses, click here.

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48 Responses to Star Light, Star Bright

  1. Pingback: Let There Be Light | The Retiring Sort

  2. Pingback: Moravian Falls, NC | Delight Thyself in the LORD

  3. What beautiful Christmas illuminations and a great interpretation of the theme. due to the Austerity measure in Portugal I did not see any christmas decorations in the streets. All seemed a bit sad and flat really.


  4. The photos do lovely justice to your enriching story. So enjoyed reading it. Covered the topic beautifully, from the historic, your memories, and the hope to build on tradition with your grandchildren 🙂


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  9. bebs1 says:

    I didn’t know that’s what they are called. I wrote before I will get one at the next Kriskindlemarket in Chicago. I went to this building for lunch too with my friend. I love the salad bar at Whole Foods there – I told her I could eat there everyday!


    • The Whole Foods in the Time Warner building is great (it was REALLY crowded at the holidays), and there are some nice cafe-type places upstairs, too – it’s quite a place! Hope you’re able to find a star at your Kriskindlemarket for next year… I’ll probably get mine at the Moravian Bookstore in Bethlehem, PA! Thanks so much for stopping by. 😉


  10. I really like these photos.


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  14. Zen says:

    I like the sharpness and the color of that star. 🙂


  15. Pingback: Illumination Deux « Ruth E Hendricks Photography

  16. lexiesnana says:

    These are beautiful and I never knew they had a name either.I too am going to go on line and the little grandkids and I are going to be constructing I can see.Thanks for the wonderful idea.


  17. onsunnyside says:

    As a life long Moravian, I’m always happy to see other folks enjoy some of our traditions! Do order a star for next year; put it up the first Sunday of Advent and enjoy. They are especially beautiful on a lightly foggy night. Have a great New Year!


  18. adinparadise says:

    Wonderful pics of these beautiful stars. How lovely to get the NY skyline in the pics too. 🙂


  19. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination 2 « Beijing Daily Photo 2

  20. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination | Here & Abroad

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  25. I enjoyed reading about the history of the Moravian stars. I had no idea. That’s what I love about your posts. You have a gift for integrating traditions and reflections in a sincere, informative way. The pictures are awesome, too! 🙂


  26. Jeff Sinon says:

    Great shots! I really like the reflections in the windows, nicely done.


  27. tobyo says:

    I never knew they were called Moravian stars, so thank you for teaching me something new today. Great photos!


  28. rutheh says:

    Beautifully lit Moravian stars! Happy New Year. Thanks for the like on my blog today. I am liking your stars, too.


  29. fgassette says:




  30. We didn’t get to that building when we were there over Christmas! So pretty! ~ Kat


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