T HE WISE MEN TRAVELED great distances to offer their gifts to the newborn Christ child. The star was ordinary to the untrained eye, but a gift to those trained in reading the heavens. Something about that star told them a king was born. They left their academics, their families, their lives and set out. Guided by the star. First they received God’s gift of a star and a child, then they offered their gifts to God.
Today is Epiphany Sunday. Every Jan. 6 the church universal celebrates the wise men coming to the infant Jesus. A star plays an important role in Epiphany, as you heard in our Bible reading.
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AS WE CELEBRATE TODAY the arrival of the wise men and remember their offerings, we delight in a paper reminder symbolizing God’s generosity in our lives.
Today each of you will receive a “star gift.” Don’t know what is a “star gift”? It is simply a star-shaped piece of paper with a word written on it. But it can be more than that. It can be a gift from God for you this year. Later this morning you will receive this gift.
Reflect on the word written on that star. Think about what significance the word might have in your life. Ponder on how God might be speaking to you through that simple message. Do it day after day. Claim that word as a gift to you for this year.
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SOME OF YOU might remember you received a star word from Pastor Jody Beth two years ago. In some congregations people look forward to this day with great anticipation. I’d like for this to be an annual tradition. But only if you find it valuable.
Brenda Dombrowski notified me earlier this week that she still remembers her star word — knowledge.
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SOME STORIES from others:
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WHY WOULD SUCH A SIMPLE GIFT take on such deep meaning? What is it about receiving a word on a piece of paper that touches people? I don’t know. I’ve never done this before. What I understand is that people yearn for tangible, clear signs of God’s presence.
The church is filled with people like you who spend hours baking for sales, cooking meals for shut-ins, writing cards to the sick, calling on people in hospitals and nursing homes, praying for those in need, and giving generously what you can.
We’re good at being busy and “doing” for God. Star words offer us the opportunity, if we use them, to “be still” in the presence of God and to receive God’s gifts. God is abundant in his generosity to us.
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HERE ARE SOME SUGGESTIONS that I’m going to follow. You might want to also.
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HERE’S HOW this is going to work to receive your star. The star gifts are going to be passed around using the same offering plates that we use later on in worship to gather up the tithes and offerings. Help yourself to a star gift (without looking — just reach in and grab!).
In this moment you are not asked to give to an offering; you are invited to receive an offering, a gift. It reminds us that this is always the order of things in God’s realm — God always gives first, and then we are invited to respond with our gifts and ourselves.
(Those reading this online can receive a star word by requesting in the comments on Facebook.)
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SPEND TIME RIGHT NOW reflecting on the word. Claiming the word. Hearing God’s initial Word for you through this star gift.
— Keith Cardwell