null Skip to main content Skip to footer content
Toggle menu

What's the Significance of the Christmas Star?

“…and lo, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was.” Matthew 2:9

Why are stars a symbol of Christmas, featured everywhere from Christmas trees and lights to Christmas cards and Christmas cookies?

The simple beauty of stars shining brightly on a clear winter night might be reason enough to make the star a universal Christmas symbol. In fact, Martin Luther, who is credited with beginning the Christmas tree tradition, was so moved by the sight of pine trees against the night sky that he placed candles in his tree to mimic starlight.

The Christmas star is intertwined with the Christmas story. The Bible tells of a particularly bright star that is said to have led the Three Wise Men to the Christ Child. While no one is really sure if there was a Star of Bethlehem, the star has become a common Christmas symbol.

What is a Christmas Star?

Christmas stars can be depicted in several ways.


You’ll often see a simple five pointed star on top of Christmas trees, in decorations and Christmas cut out cookies.

Elongated eight point stars mimic the shape of the cross, radiating beams of starlight from the center. This is the traditional representation of the Star of Bethlehem.

The Moravian star is also common. This three-dimensional star has its beginnings in Saxony, Germany, around 1830 as a craft project to help schoolboys learn geometry. A traditional Moravian star has 26 points, but it can have fewer or up to 100 points. The star was adopted by the Moravian church to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem and was often incorporated into their nativity scenes.

Seeing a star at Christmas time reminds us of the biblical Christmas story. However, even those who don’t celebrate Christmas understand that a bright star in the night sky is a symbol of the hope and expectation of new life during the darkest part of the year.

You may also like: