It’s January 6, 2022. Maybe I’m just weary, but I haven’t felt like choosing a word for the year or writing about it. The news has been filled with the horrible events of January 6, 2021, and it’s been hard to find something positive to fill my thoughts. Fortunately today is also Epiphany, a church feast day that has been celebrated for almost 2000 years. I won’t go into the history of Epiphany here except to say that the first recorded reference of it was in 361 A.D. It has morphed over the years somewhat, and today it marks the end of the Christmas season with the story of the wise men presenting gifts to Jesus. It is sometimes called Three Kings Day or Little Christmas, and in some countries this is the day children receive their gifts.
Epiphany is a time when the church begins celebrating the manifestation or appearance of Jesus who came here to shine God’s light into it. I never celebrated Epiphany growing up, but once I became a parent I started attending a church that did, and I instantly fell in love with it. We began celebrating Twelfth Night or Epiphany in some form or fashion once my kids were in elementary school, and I now have the privilege of sharing the tradition with my grandkids!
The reason I bring up Epiphany in this post about choosing my word for 2022 is that I got my word from my church as part of their Epiphany tradition! They will send a “star word” to anyone who asks for one. It is randomly selected and is meant to help guide you in your journey toward Jesus in the coming year. My word was “Quiet,” which is pretty funny considering the word I chose for myself last year was “Speak.” I think someone up there is trying to tell me something!
I must admit that speaking is not my strong suit, and I was not very successful at it last year. I did learn that it is very difficult to have a voice and feel heard, not just for me but for many people and for various reasons. I was raised in the tradition that children should be seen and not heard, and I think it had a profound effect on me throughout life. I was always very shy and quiet. I was pretty terrified to speak, and to this day I usually get flustered speaking to more than one person. So, I’m very happy to have received the word, “Quiet,” for 2022. What a relief!
Of course, quiet doesn’t simply mean to be quiet. I have already found other ways to interpret it, and I’ve only had the word about 24 hours! Earlier today I was upset about something and started having a long conversation with myself about it, getting more and more upset. Then “Quiet” popped into my mind, and I realized I needed to quiet the voice in my head and quiet my spirit. I was making a mountain out of a molehill. This actually helped me stop that negative spiral in my mind, and I was able to become sane again. Is this the way I should interpret my word for 2022?
Now I’m contemplating other possibilities for my year of quiet, and I’m looking forward to the new ways it will guide me, like the wise men were guided by the star. The wise men studied the stars and writings of prophets, even prophets outside their own faith. They seemed to be open to whatever wonders they discovered, and that sounds pretty good to me! Perhaps this will be a good year for reading, studying, and opening my heart to the wonders around me.
Even as I type this on my laptop, I glance up to see the little piece of paper taped to my desk which quotes a phrase that moved me (I don’t know the source). It’s dated 8/15/21 and says, “How filled with awe is this place.” In the midst of the uncertainty and high emotions we’re experiencing in our nation today, may I quiet my mind and take this phrase to heart, over and over again, as needed.