Last year about this time, I learned about an Epiphany tradition of selecting a “star word” for the coming year. Epiphany, January 6th, marks the end of the 12 days of the Christmas season and commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. On this day, we remember how the Magi followed the star to find Jesus, brought Him gifts, and worshiped Him.
Selecting a word as a star word for the coming year is a way to celebrate Epiphany. The idea is that this word might function as a sign for us, and that we will allow ourselves to be guided by this word, just as the Magi were guided by the star.
Part of this practice of adopting a star word includes trusting that the word selected for us is the word we need. Rather than combing through the dictionary and carefully choosing the word we want to be our focus, the idea is to choose a word in such a way that allows for mystery. The word may seem strange at first, just as the Magi must have puzzled over their unusual journey. But through our own journeys, we are likely to discover God guiding us in new and unexpected ways to grow closer to God.
Last year, on January 8th, the first Wednesday night Bible Study of 2020, we passed around a basket of words written on paper stars. Each person selected a word and was encouraged to make that his or her star word for 2020. At that time, we were just beginning a sermon series on the gospel of Mark, so the words in the basket came from the first three chapters of Mark’s gospel.
The word I selected was “amazed.” As we all know, 2020 turned out to be a most usual year. I indeed found “amazed” to be an appropriate word! One of the ways in which I was frequently amazed was by the compassion and grace showed by this church family. During stressful and uncertain times, your desire to reach out to and care for our community as well as your encouragement of our staff was so often a blessing which left me amazed.
If you had a star word for 2020, I would love to hear about it (through an email, note, or phone call, or we could also set up a time for a socially distanced and masked visit.) What was your “star word? How did God guide you through that word?
For this year, I want to invite you to select a star word for 2021. To select your word, try one of the following:
Visit the website wordoftheyear.me and allow the site to choose a word for you.
Choose a number between 1 and 20 and write it down, then CLICK HERE to see your star word.
Once you have selected your star word, write it down (on a star-shaped piece of paper, if possible) and keep it somewhere you will see it frequently, perhaps in your Bible or taped to a mirror. Click here to print an Epiphany star (PDF download).
May God use your star word to guide you in the coming year, and may your journey lead you ever closer to God.
Pastor Jennifer Rygg