Star light, Star bright...
On Sunday, we celebrated Epiphany Sunday. This is the day in the cycle of the church year that we hear and remember the story of the Wise Men who followed the star to Bethlehem, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ child.
This Sunday, and the day of Epiphany which is celebrated each year on the 6th of January, usher in a new season in our church year. The church year begins, not on January 1st, but on the first day of Advent- so we are already several weeks into this church year. We have already observed the first two seasons of the church year, Advent and Christmastide. Now we move into the season of Epiphany.
Epiphany is a word that describes a big "aha," a sudden and dramatic awareness of something new. It is the moment our minds open up, our understanding is freed, it is that "light bulb" going off. For the wise men, their epiphany was the star that told them something wonderful and powerful had happened with the birth of child far way. For us, in the season of Epiphany, we recognize that God is ready to do something new, wonderful, and powerful in our lives and we open our hearts to discover and receive it.
In worship on Sunday, we passed out, as we have the last couple of years, construction paper stars- with words written on them- our own epiphany stars to guide us this year. You may have received your word and thought, "I know exactly why I received this word." Or perhaps you will have your "aha- that is why I received that word" at some point as the year goes on. But the word is there to open us up to look for a new way God is going to work in us, a new attitude or action God is calling us to, a new place we will be called to go, or a new awareness as we go about our days.
Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:26
So, what are we to do with these stars?
Like any gift, star gifts can be either received with joy or discarded and forgotten. I invite you to be intentional about your star and the word on it. Throughout the year, as we enter into each new season, I will offer suggestions for how to seek the leading of the Spirit related to your star word.
But first, in this season of Epiphany- of discovery- of "aha!" you can begin by putting the star somewhere you will see it often- your bathroom mirror, beside your computer screen, on your refrigerator or coffee cup cabinet door. Then take some time in this season to think about that word. Make a list of all the words, ideas, songs, poems, idioms, etc. that your word calls to mind. Look it up in a dictionary and really learn its meaning. Look it up in a thesaurus- how do words with similar meaning help deepen your understanding of the word? How do words that express an opposite meaning add to your reflections on your word. Google, "Bible verses about _________" to see what Scriptural insights you can find. And also Google quotes about your word. Record your thoughts, favorite verses and quotes somehow- whether you type them up, or create an artistic piece of some sort. Go back to it and reflect on it through the year, add to it as you have new insights, write down the way the word speaks to you, how you feel and sense God leading you by this word, how you experience "aha!" this year. Be expectant! Be ready!
(If you were not in worship and you would like a star- let me know and I will set one aside for you!)
You are loved,