After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.”
… When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
-Matthew 2:1-2, 10-11
A long time ago, in a Galilee far, far away…
Well, technically, Bethlehem is in Judea, not Galilee. “A long time ago in Judea, far, far away” doesn’t have quite the same ring, however. And today’s devotion is all about Star
Wars Words, so let’s just go with it.
What’s a Star Word? Let me tell you!
This Friday, January 6, is Epiphany. We’re almost done with the 12 Days of Christmas. (That’s Dec. 25- Jan. 5, by the way. In case you still have Christmas gifts or cards to send, just tell the recipients you’re celebrating all twelve days this year.) Immediately after the Christmas season comes Epiphany, the day the church celebrates the arrival of the magi with their gifts. Those gifts were gold, a gift fit for kings, and frankincense and myrrh, sweet and pungent resins used for religious anointing and preparing bodies for burial. The gifts, while not very well suited for a toddler, spoke to Jesus’ identity: God’s chosen king, whose life and death would change everything.
For some Christians, Epiphany has been the day of exchanging gifts, rather than Christmas. The idea was that since the magi brought gifts for Jesus, we could share gifts with one another on the same day. During the Reformation, Christmas was established as the day of giving gifts, and Epiphany fell by the wayside.
A new practice has come along to revive the practice of giving meaningful gifts at Epiphany and as a counter to the “New Year-New You” self-improvement industry. That’s where Star Words come in! Just as the star guided the magi to Jesus all those centuries ago, Star Words are given to each of us to guide us through the year ahead. A key word there is “given”: Star Words aren’t intended to tell you what you need to fix about yourself. They aren't another task for your to-do list. They’re a gift.
Now, if we were in worship on Epiphany, I’d hand you a word on a paper star. But since Epiphany is on Friday, and that’s my day off and most of you will be in school or at work, we’re going virtual! You can click the link here, today or on Epiphany itself if you’d rather, and receive a Star Word as gift and guide for the year to come.