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By Laurel Pattenden

When we get ready for our new calendar year, familiar New Years’ Eve celebrations usually include watching large, lighted digital clocks or large balls dropping in N.Y. Counting the seconds down so at the stroke of midnight we can turn to that first, fresh month of January in our calendars.

Opening our new, crisp, unmarked calendars, we will travel through each new day, week and month, as if their numerical sequence gives us direction, so we can plot out our way through the new year. With every calendar page we turn over, our hopes and dreams also travel along with each page. Encountering distractions and unforeseen events will cause us to draw a line through our penned in plans, changing our hopes and dreams.

Meanwhile, in our liturgical church year, the magi are still on their way to meet the Christ child. Riding camels on their journey following “the Star” they sighted in the sky.

We also get to have “the Star” with us as we open up our new year. Not knowing whether this is a coincidence or not, I find the timing of these two different calendars comforting. Actually, to me, this is a bonus of the season.

Our travels with the magi to Epiphany are somewhat plotted out for us. We have the comfort of their companionship.

We all arrive together, allowing us to watch while the magi adore the Christ child. The magi have reached the destination of their seeking but their journey is not over until they return home. It was good to have traveled with them. We all got to our destination safely. However, it is at this time we say our goodbyes to the Magi, for we will not be traveling further with them.

Now, the best part of not journeying further, with the magi, is that we can get off the camel! Have you ever ridden a camel? Nor have I. I am afraid my eyes would have been perpetually on the ground not on ‘the Star’ of the night sky. I would be lost if not for the magi!

The beckoning of “the Star” changed the plans of the magi, calling to them to travel afar, seeking. Then set them home on a unpredicted, perhaps unknown, route. Their lives had been changed. Altered.

This same star beckons to us and will also set us on a different, unpredicted but better route. Our life has been changed. Altered. For once you see “the Star” and follow it to the Christ child, there is no other light that shines so bright. It far outshines dropping balls in N.Y. and flashing digital clocks. The Star is the guiding light for traveling into and though the new year. This light, that shines to our very hearts, will accompany us as we travel through the crisp, new pages of the calendar year.

Is it a coincidence that the liturgical year and the calendar year overlap? I like to think it isn’t. What better way than to enter the new year following “the Star”? It will light the whole journey.

I am thinking of inviting the magi to our celebrations this year. They can probably give us advice on how to keep on track, following ‘the Star’, this New Years’ Eve.

Laurel is retired and likes to spend her time in her art studio.