Star Words of Wisdom

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In a more recent tradition at First Baptist Church of Decatur, we began passing out “Star words” on Epiphany Sunday, which is typically the first Sunday of every year.

What is Epiphany Sunday?

Epiphany Sunday is when the Church remembers the visit of the Magi who brought gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh to baby Jesus. But because our church cannot financially afford to give every member one of these three extravagant gifts, we have opted into the tradition of handing out star words.

What are star words?

Star words are small paper stars with a single word written on them. Individuals receiving star words don’t pick their word out. Instead, they’re handed it by another member of the community (who, for the record, also does not “pick” the word). 

The idea is that we carry these words with us into the coming year, whether in our purse, pocket, backpack, or wherever else we feel led to. But we intentionally allow God to speak to us through the word as the months progress.

My Epiphany of Wisdom

My star word for this year is “wisdom.” When I reached into the basket during communion to take my word, I purposefully dug my hand deep into the bottom of the pile. I wanted to get something good, so it’s no surprise that I unearthed the word “wisdom,” which is often something you have to dig for.

And while I might be a little thick in the head, I’m no fool: I realize wisdom isn’t something earned or made, rather it’s something “caught” after years of weathering the highs and lows of life’s experiences. 

But I’m not sure this year is about me gaining wisdom as much as it is about me looking for it, sitting at its feet and listening to it.

There’s a saying in Job where he asks, “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?”

I’m thinking my star word is going to lead me down the path of listening more attentively to those who have gone before me in life and faith, to capturing their stories, to incorporating their years of insight and understanding into the rhythm of my own life.

I’m eager to see how I grow in this word throughout the year.

What’s your star word?

Did you receive a star word on Sunday? What was it? Share your response in the comments and let us know how this new(er) tradition at FBCD impacts you.


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Matt Snyder is a thirty-something writer and Director of Communications at First Baptist Church of Decatur. You can read more of his writing at matthewlasnyder.com