31 Maple Street
Bristol, Connecticut USA
Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman
January 7, 2018
In every time and every place, there have been people who have felt hopeless, people who have felt like they were walking in the darkness, that life is only getting worse. And in every time and every place, there have been dreamers, wishers, those waiting for someone else to make everything better.
And then, there are those with faith, those with hope, those who know that life is better than it was ten or a hundred or a thousand years ago – and that with God and God’s guidance, we can partner with God in making the world an even better place– a place of peace, justice, and joy for all people, a place where God’s love reigns on earth as it does in heaven.
Our calling as Christians is not to lament the world; our calling as Christians is not to sit back and wish for someone else to make our world better. God is calling us to be the light of the world, to use our gifts, our talents, our abundance in making our world a better place for all people.
Star gifts are a fun and faithful way to pause throughout our year and ask God how we can be hope and love in our world. And Star gifts are a fun and faithful way to remember that God is always with us, each and every day of our lives, guiding us to use our gifts to make the world a better place.
During worship this morning, you are invited to choose a star gift for 2019. Choose your star because it is your favorite color; Close your eyes and pick one at random; maybe one has simply been calling you throughout worship. However you choose, trust that God’s spirit is leading you. Trust that God’s spirit is calling you to pick the right star gift to lead you in 2019 for the sharing of your talents with the world.
Star gifts are a fun and faithful tool to help us hear God’s still speaking voice. Do not assume though that you know why you got this particular star gift. Repeat after me, “Do not – assume – why I got this star gift.”
We have been doing star gifts as a community for 10 years, and even though I say this every year, inevitably someone says, “Why did I get ‘giving’? I’m already a giving person.” Or others say, “Wow! I’m surprised you got faith. I wouldn’t have guessed you needed more faith.” It is not because I lack faith that I got it as my 2013 and 2018 star gift.
Do not assume why you got this star gift. Star gifts are a tool, a tool for discerning God’s calling, and discernment takes openness; discernment takes awareness; discernment takes time. Understanding why this star gift might take the entire year to discern.
So place your star gift somewhere you will see it every day. On the wall in your bedroom, the side of the refrigerator. Car visor mirror. Wall of your cubicle at work. Bulletin board in the kitchen. All good places.
Jacket or coat pocket. Bottom of your purse. Tucked in a drawer. Not good places. If your star gift is going to be a helpful tool for how God is calling you to make the world a better place, you need to see your star gift every day, so you can ask, “Where are You leading me, God, with this star? What are You saying to me?”
This past summer, while I was on sabbatical, study leave, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about my 2018 star: faith, and my two stars from 2017: creativity and playfulness. These three stars were the theme of my sabbatical.
With time in prayer and time journaling, I discerned that faith, playfulness, and creativity sum up my calling in ministry. And I believe these three words are what God is calling The Church to be as we discern what Christian community will be in the 21st century.
God is calling all of us to be creative, playful, and ever faithful to the way of Jesus Christ. So while I look forward to what my star gift will be in 2019, I also look forward to continuing this journey of creativity, playfulness, and faith as the church and the world is transformed by God’s holy spirit.
If you had the opportunity to choose a star gift for 2018, I invite you to also share how God was leading you with your star gift, how God was nurturing your calling and your gifts as you seek to be Christ’s light in the world.
You are welcome to speak from your pew, either standing or seated. _______ and _________ will bring you a microphone, and I ask you share your name, your star gift word, and some words about how it led you.
Time of Sharing about Our 2018 Star Gifts
During the singing of “We Three Kings”, everyone is invited to come forward and pick a star gift for 2019.
Feel free to pick your favorite color. Pick a star that is easy for you to reach. Pick a star that is under other stars. Trust that God is guiding you to choose the right star for you this year.
If you are 12 or younger and pick a star with a word you do not understand, then you can put it back and pick another star. While tempting, there are no do-overs for teenagers and adults if you do not like your star. Also, feel free to choose a star gift for someone who is not here or tell them star gifts will be available throughout the month of January in the Chapel, which is on the second floor, through the atrium.