Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

January 4, 2013

A positive minute: Follow the star

Dr. Michael Layne
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — I attended West Liberty-Salem School in Ohio from sixth grade through the first semester of 10th grade.

West Liberty is a Village of, plus or minus, 1,800 people. Located at West Liberty are the Piatt Castles. One is Danish Provincial and the other French Provincial in style. These are tremendous old buildings to go through and down the road you will find the Ohio Caverns.

My time in West Liberty has left a lasting mark upon my memory. Good school, good teachers and overall, great people. I maintain friendships with some of my old school chums. About the only thing changed about some of us is the color of our hair! Some have aged gracefully and others have just aged. That’s life. We learn to deal with it, but the memories keep us young.

I was recently reminded of something very special about West Liberty, the star on top of the grain elevator. Every year, for as many as I can remember, the star would be lit right about Advent. It was something to behold. You could see that star for miles, especially when approaching from the South on U. S. Highway 68.

Becky Young, a resident of West Liberty, tells a great story about the star: “My mom, Doris Young, got very lost in a horrible snowstorm while she was driving home from Dayton just before Christmas in 1956 and because of poor visibility in the white-outs, apparently got turned around several times. After hours of doing this, she said she saw the star on the silo and knew she would be okay. That star always held a very special meaning for her. She was also seven months pregnant with me.”

Becky’s story reminds me of the Wise Men who followed the star to find the Christ child. You can find the story for yourself in St. Matthew the second chapter. By the time they found Jesus, he was a toddler around two years of age.

They followed the star as it appeared in the East. I would imagine that during their journey there were those times when it was cloudy. They couldn’t see the star because of the clouds, but they continued in the direction believing the star was still there.

As with Becky’s mom who continued her journey through the snow storm, she eventually saw the star as it gave guidance to West Liberty where SHE would find safety and home. The Wise Men also continued their journey, I would suggest by faith, to the place where Jesus would be and there they would worship him and bring their gifts.

On this road of life for people of faith, there are times when there is cloudiness in our lives to deal with, but by faith we continue forward movement in the direction which the Holy Spirit guides and eventually we see the star, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

As we have entered 2013, what are your plans to develop a new focus? What are your plans for becoming the kind of person our Lord desires for you to be? We can make all sorts of New Year’s Resolutions, but are you going to take the Lord in advisement and seek his will?

Let us learn from our mistakes and sins of 2012 and leave them with Jesus as we enter 2012. Ask him for new direction if you have no idea what you should be doing. Ask for his guidance if life is cloudy right now. He will point you in the direction of home and safety. Happy New Year!

The Most Rev. Michael Layne is a Bishop in the Lutheran Orthodox Church and can be reached at 812-614-2160 or