Every year now for the past 4 years, I have passed out something called "Epiphany stars" on Epiphany Sunday . This is a tradition that has gathered steam over the past few years and each of the congregations I've served in that four years has enjoyed the practice.
Epiphany is the day after Christmas ends. There are 12 days of Christmas, so for most traditions, that puts Epiphany on January 6th. It's the observance of the magi coming from far away to visit baby Jesus (probably more like toddler Jesus, but let's not get too hung up on the historical aspect just now). They found him by reading the stars and following the one that indicated the birth of a new kind of king.
Epiphany symbolizes the idea that God came to earth for ALL people of EVERY race, EVERY heritage, etc. It's the day when we recognize that God is revealed to all people and we all have a star to follow.
Epiphany star words are simply words printed on paper or cardboard stars. Each person is given one randomly as a star to follow for the year. It's a meditation and reflection word to live with for that year.
If you didn't get one at church this year, check out the random star word generator I put together last year.
I've discovered on major problem with these star words, however. Everyone (myself included) gets really excited about them in January and talks about them for a few weeks, but by March or April, they have gone the way of New Year's Resolutions. We've either forgotten about them or we've run out of ways to interact with them and/or think we've got it nailed. So this year, I've put together some study tools to help with keeping up on the star words. You're welcome to download and print these for your own use, but if you'd like to copy and distribute them at something like a bible study or Sunday school class, please touch base with me first for permission.
There are three ways you can use these. They all contain the same content, but it's organized a little bit differently. The outline just gives some guidance as to themes and trajectory for the year. There are a few questions to reflect on each month/theme, but that's about it.
There are also journal pages that you can print and insert into your journal of choice. They are half-page sized so they should fit in most journals. These include a title page for each month with some journal prompts and questions.
The most "ready to use" version is the workbook. This is literally a workbook that you can print out and work through during the year. At church, I spiral bound these for everyone, but you could also just use a small three ring binder.
I'm just as guilty as everyone else about losing track of my word each year, so this year I have entered my word study into my calendar as a regular task. I plan on blogging monthly to chat about how the star word is going this year.
In 2016, I pulled "motivation" and that's the year I realized I was being called to a new congregation. In 2017, I pulled "endurance" and ran my last full marathon (I realized at about mile 15 that it was my last full marathon and enduring for the sake of endurance is not wise). Last year, my word was "reliability" and I spent time learning how to rely more on other people and take less of it upon myself.
For 2019. . . (drumroll please). . . God has given me:
Start to live with the word day to day
Charissa Clark Howe
Pastor, author, musician, audiobook narrator