Somehow, as if by accident or chance, the area around the lamp on my office desk has turned into a space for artifacts to orient my day. Over the years, I’ve gathered these small tokens of encouragement to anchor my working space with reminders of who I am and who I love, what I do and how I do it. They’re all there under the guiding eye of saint Dolly Parton — a perennial favorite! — who injects this little corner of my desk with needed levity and humor.

Here I’ve placed photos of my family, ‘wisdom cards’ from a favorite artist, an unexpected “love you mom” note I once found from Liam, various stones from key turning points in my life — one calling me to courage, one to remember the fragments, one a crumbling piece of our chapel, one calling our church to beauty and community. So when I picked up my ‘star word’ on Sunday, it was immediately apparent to me where it should go — soaring high atop the tower of talismans, guiding me with a call to wonder in this new year.

We marked Epiphany Sunday in worship this week, looking to the star to better grasp God’s revelation, God’s revealing of love, light, life in the world. After our celebration of communion, each person was invited to take a star word from a basket as they returned to their seat. “No digging around in the basket for the word you want!,” I reminded everyone, “but rather appreciating the gift of the word you get.” Every star bore a different word, mixing nouns like delight, discipline, discovery, discernment with verbs like choose, change, create. For every more, there’s a less; for every proclamation, there’s a silence; for every feasting, there’s a sobriety — words that call to mind the dazzling array of God’s invitations in the world, each day, to us all. If only we took our cue from the Magi and noticed!

I asked everyone to ponder their words, to notice the invitation they offer, to ask God how it might enlighten your living. Post it somewhere where you can see it every day. Look it up in the dictionary if you need a refresher! Let it invite you to notice and respond to the world around you differently.

Since then, I’ve already heard from several of you wondering about how your star word invites you to live this year. Your responses have covered the range…
… my word is more, but I’m trying to do and have less! Maybe I can have more joy, more contentment, more peace with less clutter in my life.
… my word is charity, but I’m already giving a lot! Can I choose a different word?!
my word is acceptance; the irony is not lost on me on this one!
… my word is focus, and I wonder what that might look like in our church this year.
… my word is consideration, and I’m trying to live into that right now!

But no matter the word, no matter its invitation or location, coming to us all is the Light that pierces every darkness, Light that enlightens all, Light that to us has come. Arise and shine, beloved community!

Together in wonder for God’s work of Love,
Pastor Emily

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