Christmas blessings! I pray you will have time this Christmas season to experience the profound joy of Christ’s birth.
And how amazing that we are about to begin a new year!
For the fourth year in a row, I will be preparing for the new year by listening for my Star Word or Epiphany Word. As I’ve written in the past, this practice stems from the early church when Christians would seek out the local monastics and ask them for a word. “Abba (or Amma, for female monastics), give me a word,” the pilgrim would say. The word was intended to help them be still, focus, and pray; a way to listen for God’s guidance throughout their life.
In recent times the practice has become associated with the new year and Epiphany. Like the star that guided the wise men to Bethlehem, the Star Word is intended to guide you through the year. Like the star, the word comes from God; it is not something you choose or create for yourself. And like the star, the word is meant to bring you face to face with the Christ child, the very real reminder of God with us.
I love the practice of receiving my word because it involves listening and paying attention to the movement of the Spirit around me. I have received my word in various ways and at times when I least expect it, such as reading a magazine article, walking my dog, or coloring a book.
I also love this practice because I have begun to see a pattern, a correlation between my words each year, revealing new ways in which God is guiding me in life. My word for 2015 – the first year I tried this – was simplicity. For 2016, it was trust, and I realized I had been learning to trust God as I had practiced simplicity, letting go of the habits, behaviors, and possessions that were unnecessary. For 2017, my word has been release. This made sense given this was the year in which I launched full-time into Prayerworks Studio and released the steady paycheck I had relied on for so many years. This required an enormous amount of trust, so I was grateful I had spent the previous year learning what trust looks like.
As I listen for my 2018 word, I invite you to join me. What is your Star Word for the new year? What gift is God offering you, and how can you listen for it and receive it?
Like last year, I would love it if you would share your Star Word with us in the comments below or on my Facebook page. I’ll collect all the words and share them in a fun graphic over the next few weeks. And those who share their words by Monday, January 8, 2018, will be entered into a drawing for a free gift: a choice of one of my books or a “Deeply Loved” candle.
Blessings as you listen for God’s word to be revealed to you. And may the face of the Christ Child shine on you as you celebrate the new year.