Epiphany, January 6, is the official end of the 12 days of Christmas. Many Christians celebrate this day by remembering the journey of the Magi. The Magi found their way to Jesus by following a bright heavenly body, usually represented by a star. Many congregations celebrate this day by having "star words" available for their members. Members are invited to choose a word that is meant to "guide" them through the coming year. It seems that, much like New Year’s Resolutions, the words can get lost in the shuffle or get tossed by the wayside.
Two years ago, I chose the word "dream." I was shocked to see how often the word crept into my life throughout the six weeks following its entering my life. Why am I only mentioning the six weeks? Take a guess. The beautiful word meant to guide me for the entire year got set aside in the hustle and bustle known as my life. Nobody to blame other than myself. Who knows what other wonders might have occurred had I stayed true to my "focus word."
Last year I missed epiphany at our church and a friend who pastors a church in Texas gave me the choice of two words she drew out specifically for me. One didn’t speak to me whatsoever and the other practically screamed out, "I’m your word!" The word was "understand." Numerous things had happened in my personal life the year before that I truly didn’t understand. I felt the word chose me and I kept it close at hand the entirety of 2019. When I would start to question something, I’d think of my word. Understand. What exactly was it that I needed to understand? How could I understand more? How could I help others understand? When I was lost or confused. Understand. When I was hurt. Understand. The word kept me grounded and as the year came to a close, I was sad to think I would be moving on from it.
Epiphany 2020. I carefully prepared 200 words for our congregation to choose from. I was once again planning to be away from worship that particular Sunday, but I wanted to choose from this set of words. There were several that "spoke" to me, but I kept coming back to the word "REFRESH." In the past several months, I had become overwhelmed with work, school, being a mom, being a daughter, being a committee member, etc. I wasn’t spending enough time on self-care and meeting my own needs. I wasn’t saying "no" when "no" could serve as an answer. I wasn’t saying "yes" to the single-most important person in my life.
I am fully embracing the word "REFRESH" this year and it comes up in conversations and discussions I have with others. I didn’t want to rely on seeing it next to my computer or next to my bed. I needed this particular word to be much closer to me at all times. I’ve had it made into a bracelet as a constant reminder to stay refreshed.
If you have not chosen a word to guide you for the year, it’s not too late – and it just might change your life in ways you can’t imagine yet. I have LOTS of words left you can choose from. Call me at Hays First Presbyterian (785-625-2847) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to connect you with a "star word."
Becky Rogowski is Generations in Faith Together coordinator at First Presbyterian Church.