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Epiphany and Giving Out Stars

One of the most loved traditions in our church is the celebration of Epiphany Sunday.  On that day, each member draws a star with a word from the basket and that word becomes the person’s word for the year.  You cannot put the word back, and you may need a year to figure out the meaning of that word in your life.  Many put the star word on the refrigerator just to be reminded to wonder about it. While some would be hard pressed to explain the Epiphany tradition, people make sure they are present on ‘Star Sunday.” No one wants to miss chance to get their star.

The name “Epiphany” comes from the Greek word Epiphania, and means “to show, make known, or reveal.” The Epiphany celebration originated in the Eastern Church in AD 361, beginning as a commemoration of the birth of Christ. Later, additional meanings were added – the visit of the three Magi, Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River, and his first miracle at the wedding in Cana.

Perhaps Jan Richardson captures our sentiment the best; the star represents the hope that beckons.

A Blessing for Epiphany
by Jan Richardson

If you could see
the journey whole,
you might never
undertake it,
might never dare
the first step
that propels you
from the place
you have known
toward the place
you know not.

Call it
one of the mercies
of the road:
that we see it
only by stages
as it opens
before us,
as it comes into
our keeping,
step by
single step.

There is nothing
for it
but to go,
and by our going
take the vows
the pilgrim takes:

to be faithful to
the next step;
to rely on more
than the map;
to heed the signposts
of intuition and dream;
to follow the star
that only you
will recognize;

to keep an open eye
for the wonders that
attend the path;
to press on
beyond distractions,
beyond fatigue,
beyond what would
tempt you
from the way.

There are vows
that only you
will know:
the secret promises
for your particular path
and the new ones
you will need to make
when the road
is revealed
by turns
you could not
have foreseen.

Keep them, break them,
make them again;
each promise becomes
part of the path,
each choice creates
the road
that will take you
to the place
where at last
you will kneel

to offer the gift
most needed—
the gift that only you
can give—
before turning to go
home by
another way.

—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace
“© Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com.”