We will be celebrating Star Gift Sunday on January 8th. This celebration of Epiphany, which marks the day the wise men arrived to worship Jesus, reminds us of the Light shining in the darkness, long after the excitement of Christmas has grown dim. The eight-week season of Epiphany encourages us to wonder
- Where is God’s Light shining?
- Where do you encounter God?
- How –and where – does God speak to you?
- Are we, like the ancient Magi, actively seeking the Light that is promised to us?
During worship, everyone will receive a paper star imprinted with one of about 200 words. Worshipers are encouraged to reflect on that word, that “star gift,” throughout the coming year. People use many creative methods to ensure they encounter their star word several times each day. The paper stars get hung on computers, mirrors, refrigerators or are transformed into digital “wallpaper” on phones and computers. Each glimpse of star gift reminds us that God is in that place, that somehow God is, as the United Church of Christ motto assures us, still speaking to God’s people. We are meant to be listening.
Google informs me that 7012 languages are spoken across the globe. Given that diversity, I am confident that God has a great variety of ways to speak to us. I am wary of people who insist that there is only one way to discern God’s presence or a single path to the Creator of the universe. Instead, as a child of God filled with God’s Spirit, each of us can listen for the innumerable ways God speaks to us. I have met people who encounter God in
- A cardinal in the snow
- A stranger’s kindness
- A child’s smile
- The beauty of a sunset
- The expanse of stars and planets, reminding us of God’s grandeur
- The certainty of the sunrise, no matter how late or how dim that light may be
I know a young widow who discovers “hearts from heaven” in nature which remind her that love is stronger even than death.
The important thing is to listen, with ears and spirit open to the possibility of God breaking through our everyday lives to speak to our hearts.
In these frightening political times, during tense family encounters, in post-holiday let down, during the bleak mid-winter, at moments or days when you are not sure you can go on – what if we listen? What if we look? What if we notice?
What is God whispering to your spirit today? I won’t presume to tell you. But I do know this:
– The message God has for you is one of love.
– God’s voice is filled with forgiveness.
– God promises faithfulness. God will never leave or abandon us.
God will love us when no one else does. Even when we don’t love ourselves.
I hope you can join us on Star Gift Sunday. Or send me your address and I will mail you a star.
But even more important –
- Be aware
God is speaking to you today.