“Star of wonder, star of light star with royal beauty bright westward leading still proceeding guide us with thy perfect light”
The star which depicted the birth of Jesus is often referred to in both literal and metaphoric terms. This new bright star suddenly appeared in a sky well know to scholars and shepherds. Light coming from that star illuminated the hopes and fears of those gathered under it. Light shining in the darkness still evokes powerful images and feelings. There is something deeply moving about candlelight; a campfire in the wilderness; a flashlight beam in the dead of night, the illumination of a path unrecognizable in darkness.
Today, the sky is still filled with stars, packed into the sky from horizon to horizon. Most of us don’t pay much attention to the stars. Depending on where we live, light and air pollution may not see allow us to see them unless we are out in the wilderness or countryside.
Light as love, goodness, God, Jesus, light overtaking darkness are all metaphors for the star and the light radiating from it that first Christmas. The appearance of that star was significant. It caused a reaction, ripples of which continue to this day. The Wise Men left their homes, jobs, and families to follow it; the disciples left their homes, jobs, and families to follow Jesus.
God continues to invite us to “see the light”; to see it shining in everyone; to radiate that light into a world cloaked in cold darkness.
“We are all meant to shine, as children do; to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; It’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” From “Our Deepest Fear” by Marianne Williamson
In addition to amazing worship each Sunday, this Advent season has been packed full of a wide range of wonderful activities:
The UMW Holiday Bazaar, Friendly Visitors Poinsettias for Shut ins, Gifts for Good, our Children’s Christmas Program, the Choir Cantata, the Blue Christmas Service, our All Church Christmas Brunch, Caroling for Shut-ins, and the Candlelight Christmas Eve services
Each of these activities offered the opportunity to illuminate God’s love in and through one another. Like the dazzling, twinkling stars shining in a dark sky, these rays of hope, peace, joy, and love shared the message of Christmas well beyond our church walls, in the faces of those we serve and those who serve us.
A new year is upon us. Many opportunities to share our gifts, to serve, to connect with one another await at First Church! I hope each of us will allow ourselves to be open to God working in our own lives this coming year without distraction or pollution or distance…open to God’s illumination of our dark spaces so that we may more fully reflect who God is calling us to be; shining unobstructed, reflecting the love and goodness that is within. In doing so, we will make manifest our magnificent partnership with God in the transformation of the world.
Happy New Year Everyone!