I love the new year. The sense of starting fresh, the feeling of moving forward, the focus on what’s ahead. Resolutions (I prefer the word intentions) can be energizing and fun. We create goals for ourselves–improving our physical health, mending broken relationships, finally finishing that stuck project, traveling to that place we’ve always wanted to visit.
Yet how many of us include God in our intentions for the new year? How will God guide us as we flip over to a new calendar? I was inspired by the idea of Star Words, a movement that’s become a tradition for many pastors and congregations. As the Christmas season moves into Epiphany (when we celebrate the visit of the magi and God’s gift of a guiding star), we look for our own guiding stars for the next year. Epiphany also celebrates the manifestation of God in Jesus. We wonder–what does it mean that Jesus Christ was born as a baby and lived among us? How is the light of God going to illumine our paths and guide our steps in this coming year?
I gathered 25 words from various generous pastors and included some of my own–words like peace, joy, mercy, trust, wisdom and recovery. I then cut out paper stars with one word on each and handed them out in worship last Sunday, with the intention that these words would serve as personal prayer words and guiding stars for the following year.
As is often the case, people receive the Star Word they need. People were buzzing about them after worship and continue to talk about them. Some are baffled by their word and have no idea what they’ll do with it. Others immediately knew its relevance and recognized the Holy Spirit’s work. I hope to have various people share about their travels with their Star Word throughout the year.
If you want a Star Word, let me know and I’ll give you one!
By the way, my word is MERCY.