Bethlehem, NC – The Bethlehem Star has continued to shine during the challenges of the Covid pandemic and served as a beacon of hope and comfort since March 21, 2020. Hopefully, the return of the annual Bethlehem Star Lighting event on December 4 will mark a transition to a more normal lifestyle. The Annual Bethlehem Star Lighting activity will have two themes this year- remembering those in our community lost during the pandemic and celebrating the hope and joy given by the Christ child as the Bethlehem Star is relighted. The program will begin at 7:00 p.m. on December 4 at the pavilion and bandstand at Mt. Pisgah Bethlehem Star Lighting/RemembranceLutheran Church in Bethlehem.

A special video of the days leading up to the birth of Christ and a performance of the ACHS stage band will precede the remembrance activities. The remembrance will include the reading of the name of the deceased person, a ringing of a large bell by boy and girl scouts in their memory, and acknowledgement of the families through the presentation of a miniature cross. To have the name of a loved one included, members of churches in Bethlehem or residents are encouraged to call Mt. Pisgah Lutheran Church at (828) 495-8251 by Monday, November 29. The remembrance will include a rendition of Amazing Grace, reading of Psalm 23, and recognition of those who have given sacrificially to combat this pandemic. Committee representatives ask that a family member of a person to be remembered please call the church office at (828) 495- 8251 to say whether someone from the family will be in attendance.

Following the remembrance segment of the program, attendees will be asked to move to the area under the Star for the remainder of the activities. Once attendees are settled under the star around bonfires, the program will continue with the reading of the Christmas scripture by Pastor Bill Honeycutt, singing of Christmas carols led by local artists, singing of the song, “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem,” enjoyment of a live nativity, and the lighting of the Bethlehem Star by local resident David Lail.

The Girl Scouts have plans to host a Christmas craft fair with 42 vendors in the church’s celebration hall prior to the remembrance ceremony. Access to this event will be through the church narthex on the North side of the building. In respect for the remembrance program, the doors next to the pavilion will be used for emergency exit only during the program. Following the activities under the star, Santa Claus will make a cameo appearance for the children at the pavilion.

The Bethlehem Fire Department and Alexander County Sheriff’s Department will direct traffic and security. Overflow parking is at the Bethlehem Shopping Center. Care should be taken to follow the marked path between O’Reilly Auto Parts and Highway 127. Programs will be distributed by girl scouts and boy scouts will serve hot chocolate. The Bethlehem Ruritan Club will assist with the meal for the volunteers.

The Bethlehem Ministerial Association and Bethlehem Star Committee look forward to returning to the traditional program held in Bethlehem to celebrate the meaning of the Star and the Christmas season.

Note: Plans are being formulated for components of the Star Lighting/Remembrance Ceremony to be online. Organizers suggest checking on the Mt. Pisgah Facebook page for a live stream or on the. Mt. Pisgah webpage for a recorded version of the activities.

David Lail to Light Star

The Bethlehem Star will be lighted this year by David Lail, a 67-year-old resident of the Bethlehem Community. Son of Dexter and Mary Lail, he lives with his sister Joyce Lail. David was born with disabilities that were life threatening. His first surgery was at one-month of age. He spent considerable time with special schooling and training not only in his home but also at orthopedic hospitals. For 36 years David has been fortunate to attend the Alexander Opportunities program each day of the week.

As a member of Bethlehem Church of God with an 18-year perfect attendance record, he is known as “Super Dave” by the congregation and many in the community. He loves going to church, going to Alexander Opportunities, sitting on his front porch listening to music, and waving happily as people pass by his home.

According to Pastor Stewart Lankford, “ David is a prime example of Jesus’s love of all of his children. Even though he was not expected to live, his determination to overcome many obstacles has made him an admired citizen in our church and the Bethlehem Community.” David was selected to light the star because of his self-determination and personal understanding of the meaning represented by the Bethlehem Star as it serves as a shining example of hope for all who see it.