Almost two hundred years ago in Niesky, Germany, a particular stellated polygon was created as a math project.  The shape proved popular and rapidly became a symbol of hope and rebirth used in the celebrations of Advent and Christmas.  One of these shapes, the augmented rhombicuboctohedron, became particularly popular as a hanging glass lamp in the early 1900’s, and similar stars are popular as Christmas-themed decorations made from several different materials.

Interestingly, although we in the West view the Moravian Star as a distinctly Christian symbol, the delicate geometries and startling dynamic shape also have an Eastern flavor, used in decorations for many non-Christian holidays, as well – all sharing the common theme of hope and rebirth.  God as the Light, or An-Nur, is a theme treasured and reverenced in many faiths, the promise that the illumination of the Divine dispels all darkness and hopelessness.  This shape also reminds me of the beautiful traditional American Sacred Harp hymn, Shepherd’s Star or Star in the East, a lyrical recounting of the Advent of Christ from the perspective of the shepherds.  As we approach the Divine, the natural inclination is to show our commitment with gifts of the most valuable things we can find, and this hymn reminds us of the most precious thing we can ever offer – our heart’s adoration.

Another beautiful version