By Roger McKinney
Globe Staff Writer
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Motorists traveling on Missouri Highway 43 south of Joplin this past week may have seen a large, lighted Christmas star to the east.
No, it’s not the Star of Bethlehem, which the Gospel of Matthew says guided the Magi to the birthplace of Jesus more than 2,000 years ago.
Actually, the couple who built it are calling their star “The Guiding Light.”
Adorned with a garland, the star is 20 feet in diameter and welded from rebar. It has been hoisted atop a flagpole at Construction Adventures, about a mile south of Petro Truck Stop.
The star is the work of Dave Johnson, owner of Construction Adventures.
“We just put it up so people can enjoy it,” he said last week.
Johnson and his wife, Sherri, said the star was the focal point of their entry last weekend in a boat parade at Cherokee Yacht Club on Grand Lake in Northeast Oklahoma. Their children portrayed Mary and Joseph in a Nativity scene beneath the star during that parade.
Sherri said the star is a way for the family to profess its Christian faith.
“Christianity has taken such a back seat in the nation,” she said. “We are proud of being Christians.”
Dave said they have had “Merry Christmas” in lights on the fence for the past three years. They plan to make “The Guiding Light” an annual tradition, too.
“A lot of people stop in or call the office to express their appreciation,” Sherri said.
Sherri also said they plan to keep the star up past Christmas for the enjoyment of those driving by.
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’”
Matthew 2: 1-2