They set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage.Matthew 2:8-11
At Christmastime, the church I grew up in always decorated their sanctuary with German Stars. Perhaps you have seen them before. Hundreds of stars of differing sizes hung from the ceiling, from lights, and placed in greenery that hung on doors and windows. As a kid it always struck me with awe, and it always felt empty when they had to take it down after Christmas. However, one year they missed a star. It was a small two-inch star that hung just above a pillar light over the pulpit and lectern. It would have been easy to miss, and not worth getting a ladder even if it was noticed. All year I looked at that star, probably when I should have been paying attention. I pointed it out to people every chance I got. Through Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost, it just swung there anytime the heat or air turned on.
The star is an important character in both the season of Christmas, and the season of Epiphany. On Christmas, the star guides the shepherds, and in Epiphany the Wise Men. It is not some star staying in one place, but it actually leads people to the Christ Child. Over rocks and hills, moors and mountains it leads them. I like to think that the star leads us too. Not just at Christmas when the Messiah is born, but in every season. Like that little star that avoided the storage box, the Christmas star is always hanging above us, ready to bring us back to the Messiah when we take a wrong turn. We get lost and that is okay. Because of the star, we have no reason to panic. Throughout the year we can always remember the promise of Christmas, that God chose to love us by being with us.
During worship on Sunday, December 31st , we passed out Star Words. This has become a popular ritual in many Protestant churches, where people can choose at random a star that has a guiding word on it (faith, forgive, rest, laugh, etc.). The idea is that this word has been given to you, to guide your faith journey for the upcoming year. It’s not just a word, but a prayer that the Spirit will weave into your everyday life. If you would like a star word sent to you, please contact the office and we will get you your one-of-kind star word for 2024! So as you go into the new year, don’t panic, just look for the star and you will be lead to the Christmas promise again.
Rev. Keith McDevitt