“The Silver Star”

"We have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him" (Matt. 2.2)

     INTRO.: A song which mentions the importance of the star which guided the wise men in relation to the Christ is "The Silver Star." The text was written by an author whose initials are D. K. En. I have been able to find no further information about the identity of this author, when the words were penned, or where they were first published. The tune was composed by Horatio Richmond Palmer (1834-1907). I have no further information about its source of publication, but the song is dated 1895.  Palmer is best known for his hymn "Yield Not to Temptation" and the melody for "Peace, Be Still." Among hymnbooks published during the twentieth century by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 both edited by L. O. Sanderson. The only other hymnbook in which I have ever seen the song is the 1987 Zion’s Praises edited by Aaron Z. Weaver and published by Weaver Music Co. of Pittsgrove, NY, a Mennonite publisher.

     The song makes application of the story of the wise men who came to see Jesus after His birth.

I. Stanza 1 emphasizes the wise men
"On the brow of night there shines a silver star,
On the brow of night there shines a silver star,
And the wise men gaze on its heavenly rays,
Till they find the King, whose throne they sought afar,
In the Babe of Bethlehem."
 A. The wise men followed a star which guided them to Bethlehem where the young Child was: Matt. 2.9
 B. The wise men rejoiced to gaze on it heavenly rays: Matt. 2.10
 C. It led them to where He who would become King lay: Jn. 18.36-37

II. Stanza 2 emphasizes the star
"’Tis the lamp of God high hanging in the air,
‘Tis the lamp of God high hanging in the air,
And it guides our feet through the royal street;
There is sweet soul-rest for those who seek it there,
From the Babe of Bethlehem."
 A. Just as God sent a star to guide the wise men, He has given us a lamp to our feet to guide our pathway: Ps. 119.105
 B. Just as God guided them through the street to where Jesus was, so He wants to guide us: Ps. 32.8
 C. Those who thus follow His guidance will find sweet soul-rest in Christ: Matt. 11.28-30

III. Stanza 3 emphasizes the gifts
"Bring your gifts of gold, of frankincense, and myrrh,
Bring your gifts of gold, of frankincense, and myrrh,
For the King we own is on David’s throne;
Let the holy Child your best affections stir.
‘Tis the Babe of Bethlehem."
 A. The wise men offered Christ gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh: Matt. 2.11
 B. Just as they adored Him, we also own Him as King on David’s throne: Acts 2.30-36
 C. That holy Child who was born in Bethlehem should our best affections stir because He grew up to die for us, was raised again, was exalted, and was given a name to which every knee should bow and which every tongue should confess: Phil. 2.5-11

     CONCL.: The chorus calls upon God to continue guiding us as He did the wise men on their way to Bethlehem.
"Silver star, holy light, shine afar, o’er the night,
Till the world shall come where the young Child lay,
And enter the gates of the new born day."
(Christian Hymns changed this to read:
 "Till the world shall come from its sin-stained way,
And enter the gates of a newborn day.")
In a recent discussion on an e-mail list on how far New Testament Christians can go in observing certain traditions of the Christmas season, someone remarked that one disadvantage of the fact that the religious world celebrates Christmas as the birth of Christ is that some otherwise good hymns are heard only at that time of year. I have known of Bible class teachers of young children who said that whenever their classes study about the birth of Christ (summer, fall, winter, or spring), they have them sing some of these songs to impress the facts upon their minds. I myself have preached lessons about the birth of Christ and even the coming of the wise men at different times during the year and such songs would also be appropriate for those occasions. The account of the wise men is a Biblical event, and it will do us good at all times to give some consideration to the meaning of "The Silver Star."


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