Stars to Guide Us
I have had a hard time getting back to work, getting my mind and heart organized after a couple of weeks off. The rest and detachment was good for body and soul, and I confess that the tired feeling has both eased and still exists. How about you? We are the same people who left campus in December, who are arriving back now and in the coming weeks. The calendar has changed a page, a number, and we have brought ourselves with us into whatever is new and old about the days we inhabit.
Epiphany is the Christian celebration of the 12th day of Christmas on January 6, the feast day of the Magi who followed the star to find the baby Jesus. Many years ago I started a tradition of giving our Epiphany Stars on the first Sunday of the new year. I cut out stars, wrote a word of inspiration on each one, and offered them in a basket on campus, from which community members chose randomly. They serve as a guide for the year, for a season, some illumination to ponder.
I continue to choose one for myself each year. My star says “tenderness.” I keep this star in a safe place, to see often, and to center my reflections.
The fortunate ones of us saw a star this year, in the convergence of Saturn and Jupiter, a rare cosmological event that felt fortuitous and propitious to many. It felt to me like a hurting world seeking a sign, a touchstone, or a wonder to lift our hearts and spirits.
As you begin the new academic season, and a new year, know that there are stars everywhere to guide you—people, nature, scriptures, spiritual awakenings, quiet moments of the day, whispers in our minds, dreams, music, art, and so many more. Keep a look out for them. Do you want or need a star this year, a guiding word, a point of reflection to organize your heart and soul? I can choose one from the basket and campus mail it to you, or draw you a word and email it to you. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy New Year, Elon family!
Jan Fuller has been the University Chaplain at Elon since 2011. She is an Episcopal priest and deeply invested in helping students to find their own spiritual paths while interacting with others in differing paths with appreciation and respect. Raised in Beirut Lebanon for the first half of her life, Jan is the daughter of Southern Baptist missionaries to the Arab peoples of the Middle East. Jan’s education includes a Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary, a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and a B.A. in English and French from Hollins University. Jan describes herself as a “war-zone survivor,” who retains a sense of humor and love of gentleness. She loves Arab art and food, and all kinds of music. She intends to find the gift in every day and to live her life as a way of giving thanks.