There’s a star in the east (Rise up, shepherd, and follow)

There’s a star in the east (Rise up, shepherd, and follow). African American spiritual*. The first stanza as printed in current hymnals is as follows: There’s a star in the east on Christmas morn; Rise up, shepherd and follow; It will lead to the place where the Christ was born; Rise up, shepherd, and follow. Follow, follow, rise up, shepherd, and follow, Follow the star of Bethlehem. Rise up, shepherd, and follow. The noted African American author James Weldon Johnson* (1871–1938) mentions the relative paucity of spirituals devoted to Christmas. He suggests that this was because enslaved Africans seeking liberation preferred to think of Jesus as a powerful king (See...

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