Epiphany: a Star, Magi, and Another Road

Epiphany magi
Cartoon silhouettes of three camels with riders against a night sky with one big star and several smaller ones. Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via Pixabay.

It's important to ask ourselves what "star" we are following and where we hope to arrive.


January 6 is Epiphany, the day we observe the arrival of the magi at Bethlehem. We will be celebrating this day on Sunday. In the meantime, it is a good day to reflect on where we have been and where we might be heading.

According to the story, the magi followed the star to Bethlehem from the East. It is entirely possible that there was some sort of astronomical phenomenon around the time of Jesus’ birth. However, we have no way of knowing for sure what is factual and what is mythic in the stories around Jesus’ birth. Either way, there is still Truth here.

When we think about 2022, what were the moments of grace, the moments of feeling like we were in line with God’s hopes for us? What were the moments in which we felt lost? What made the difference? Where are we now?

It’s important to ask ourselves what “star” we are following and where we hope to arrive. The magi followed a star, believing they would meet a king. They met King Herod and they met the Christ Child. After the long journey and meeting both, they went home by another road.

Something in their encounters changed them, and they altered their course.

Presumably, we have met both Herod and Christ on our journey through the year, and will meet them again as we continue on. Are we open to altering our course when we encounter ugliness or Love? What truly guides us?

On Sunday, you will have an opportunity to choose a “star word” to guide you through 2023. (Read Join us Jan. 8th for your Epiphany star word for 2023.) If you have ideas for a guiding word for the whole community for 2023, put it into the comments here.

May the journey be full of Light and Love, especially in the moments of challenge and difficult choices.

About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and accessibility. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others. She is grateful to be in ministry with Living Table today.

Share this Pastoral Notes

post from Rachael

7 thoughts on “Epiphany: a Star, Magi, and Another Road”

  1. When considering my Star word I thought of many that might fit.
    I think the same might be true for our sweet church.
    I’m going with Growth. Change often brings growth.
    My prayer is for both.

  2. I loved the option last Sunday (1/8) during the service to pick a random “star” word out of the pile. since I hadn’t come with a word in mind, I decided to trust the choice to the Spirit’s leading–and ended up selecting the word “aspire.” With which, I am very happy–food for good reflection.


Leave a Comment