Bethlehem, NC – On Saturday, December 7th, the new Bethlehem Star, which was irreparably damaged by the EF2 tornado in October of 2017, will be lit! Come join us as we kick off the Christmas season with the lighting of Star! There will be dinner, bonfires, Christmas carols to sing, performances by the ACHS Jazz ensemble and a southern gospel group—The Pathfinders, all enjoyed with cookies and hot chocolate, and warm cider to drink! During the formal program, community residents and visitors will be invited to gather around Boy Scout built bonfires near the star. Pastor Stewart Lankford of Bethlehem Church of God will read the Christmas story and members of his church will staff the nativity which will have live animals. During the reading of the Christmas story, Judy Craig, who has served as a teacher at Bethlehem Elementary School for 56 years, will light the Bethlehem Star.

The formal program will be preceded by a musical program by the ACHS Jazz Band Ensemble. The nationally known ‘Pathfinders Gospel Trio,’ of Mt. Holly, will be a highlight of our evening together as they share a variety of Christmas-themed religious songs. The Pathfinders have performed at many churches throughout the southeast, at Dollywood, and other venues. This program will be held at the church bandstand following the formal program.

Donors and visitors are invited to view the Star Memorial, comprised of three granite stone slabs at the base of the Star, with more than 300 names of donors for the replacement of the tornado damaged star. Foothills Monument Company cut, polished, and etched the names on the monument. The nativity has been painted by Boy Scout Troop 275 and volunteers. Volunteers have also refurbished the nativity figurines.

Those in attendance will be led in Christmas carols by Lauren Wasmund. A special feature of the first segment of the program will be the awarding of a special donation to the Bethlehem Ministerial Association benevolence fund. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served by Boy Scout Troop 275.Girl Scout Troop 12905 will provide programs to attendees and information about other holiday events in Bethlehem. They will also host a craft fair with over 40 vendors from 4-7:30 in Celebration Hall beginning at 4:00 and ending at 7:30 p.m. Come early to shop the craft fair with over 40 vendors!

Following the performance and formal program, there will be a visit from Santa Claus, who will be hearing those special Christmas wishes.

The Bethlehem Fire and Rescue and Alexander Sheriff’s office and Explorers will provide traffic control. Disabled parking will be around the perimeter of the area containing the bonfires. A new star-themed Christmas ornament unique to the 2019 program will be sold by the Star Committee for $10. Proceeds from sales will be used for the benevolence program and star operation. No meal will be served in 2019 so volunteers may enjoy the star lighting.

There is no cost for attending the Star Lighting and parking is free. The Bethlehem Star is located on the property of Mt. Pisgah Lutheran Church ELCA at 9379 Route 127 in Bethlehem, in front of the Lowes Shopping Center. For directions and further information, please call the church at 828-495-8251; or visit our Facebook page at Mt. Pisgah Lutheran Church ELCA or our website at (A rain date for the event of Monday, December 9th has been established).

This is the first anniversary of the lighting of the new Bethlehem Star. After the star was damaged in 2017, community members started with almost nothing—no manpower, no money, no star. A committee was formed over the summer and they were not prepared for the outpouring of support— financial, manpower, and otherwise—that this project and event would inspire. In no uncertain terms, could anyone anticipate the response to the call to “Raise the Star!” It’s a small community with a great big love for this Star! Come visit with us, because we have a story, many of them, in fact, of a community that lost its shining star, with not much hope of getting it back, a community not defined by geographic boundaries, but by their love for this star and star lighting event.

This community came together with that love, and accomplished much, much more than many thought possible. In this time of divisiveness and controversy, come celebrate the season of giving and love, with a community that came together for the love of a star, and not just any star, but the star that symbolizes and signifies the birth of a Savior.
New Bethlehem star ornament
Santa with RJ Watson