Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16
I love to learn new things, in fact, I attempt to resemble the old remark, “you learn something new every day.” An abiding inquisitive curiosity can fill our days with discovery and delight.
Just recently, I was researching the season of Epiphany when I happened upon a new concept, “star singers.” I know, it kind of sounds like the next big reality television series in which we crown the next big musical performer. But, “star singers” are even better than that!
“Star singers” are carolers, but for the season of Epiphany.
Yep, “star singers” are young people who make their way from house to house (typically in European countries). As they travel about they hoist stars on sticks, many dress as kings or magi, and they even have a special repertoire of Epiphany tunes with which they regale their friends and neighbors.
Lest you think this is a new tradition, it’s been going on in one form or another since the 1400’s, and it was so popular, it persisted through the changes that unfolded in the height of the Reformation. In fact, if you google, “star singers” you’ll get up-to-date pictures of these joy-filled processions.
Now, the reason I am so taken with this whole concept is because of the way it takes the traditions and joys of one season and transposes them into the next.
January and February can be dreary months during which our spirits are diminished by the cool temps, gloomy weather, and looming demands of a new year. Everything we have put off until “after the holidays” is staring us down.
But there’s no mandate that insists that we hole up and be miserable. Just as we looked forward to the family gatherings of just a few weeks ago, maybe we should reach out to an acquaintance or two and get something on the calendar, something to look forward to.
Just as we sang the treasured chestnuts of the Christmas season, what are the tunes that can usher a renewed sense of joy into our worship services during Epiphany?
And, while we won’t need to pile gifts under the tree all over again, is there not still “great joy” in meaningful expressions of generosity? Of course!
Yes indeed, just like all the other days, “this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
Question for reflection: In your opinion, what’s the best way to fend off the winter blues?
Yours in Christ,
God of love, as we make our way through this season of light, may we appreciate these lengthening days and see each of them as an opportunity to not only witness your goodness among us, but also serve as a witness to your grace and mercy. All this we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.