Look for the star
As a preacher I know I am often preaching to myself more than to anyone else. Today I am writing this blog for myself – but listen in if you would like to! Perhaps together we can look for the star…
The Twelve Days of Christmas ended last night, Twelfth Night. All the decorations are supposed to be packed away now. Shops are no longer playing Christmas music. “Peace on earth” has not materialised. The world is still as full of suffering and injustice as it was at the end of 2016. I have eaten too much over the past two weeks. Here in Glasgow the weather today can only be described as “dreich”. I have a huge backlog of emails to be answered, paperwork to be completed, preparation for the year ahead to be tackled…
All of that just about amounts to a list of “reasons to be miserable”…
As I unlocked the front door after a trip to the supermarket this morning (more food?!) I was suddenly assailed by a heavenly scent (maybe it was heaven-sent!) The “Christmas Box” shrub on our porch bears tiny white star-shaped flowers at this time of year, whose fragrance is out of all proportion to their size. Today is the first day I have noticed the scent this winter, and delight pierced the gloom of a grey, wet, ordinary, busy day. After all, today is the Feast of the Epiphany – a celebration of the “shining out” of the light of Christ. As the wise dean of Durham Cathedral said two years ago when I was there for evening prayer on 5th January, “Twelfth Night is not the end of Christmas but the enlarging of it…”
So, our fairy lights are staying up a bit longer, as this truth sinks in. I then began looking around the house, noticing how many stars are around and determining to allow the light to shine out, and to shine in too – to shine into my downbeat mood.
In the garden as well, some other plants are shining through the rain:
In the kitchen I lit three candles for Epiphany, promised myself I would try, throughout this season of Epiphany, to keep on offering whatever I can to God (starting with aforementioned emails, paperwork and preparation), to keep on praying for that peace to come, to keep on looking for the stars…
and recalled the excellent words of a hymn we sang last Sunday. “The silent stars shine down on us” by Herman G. Stuempfle Jr. (Singing the Faith 231) of which this is the final verse:
“O Christ, the bright and morning Star, whose radiance does not fade,
whose glory filled the universe before the planets played:
come, heal our hearts of blinding doubt till faith shall end in sight.
shine down upon our darkened earth and conquer sin’s long night.”