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Sunday, July 25, 2021

    Star Light, Star Bright

    Reverend Aleese Kenitzer
    Aleese Kenitzer serves as the pastor of Shepherd of the Cross Church in Muscatine.

    Muscatine Living

    I’ve heard two reactions to how people rang in the year 2021: 1) with excitement or 2) with apprehension.

    As with any new year, there are experiences and new beginnings to look forward to. Finally, at last, there’s a sense the slate has been cleared. Maybe, just maybe, the coming year will be different than 2020.

    But, will it?

    That seems to be the question echoing in the minds of many. That seems to be the question that left some feeling a bit apprehensive when raising their glass on the night of Dec.31, 2020. Though we’ll turn the calendar to a new year, will everything just change?

    As much as I wish that to be so, logically I know that isn’t entirely true. Some of the same things we’ve been coping with in 2020 will linger. Even though everything around us might not shift, I wonder if we have the opportunity at the beginning of a new year to shift our mindset.

    Consider it this way: a colleague recently shared with me that the night the “Christmas star” appeared, he just about missed it. For those of you who didn’t catch the hype, on Dec. 21, 2020, the planets Jupiter and Saturn aligned in the sky, called a conjunction. This was the first time this happened since the time of Galileo, and the first time the naked eye could see it since the 1200s. Quite the sight to behold! As my colleague shared with me, if he hadn’t known where to look in the sky, he would’ve completely missed it.

    So, let’s think about our lives and our world: all the time, there are bright moments that happen. Perhaps we are missing them because we aren’t looking for them. Maybe we’re too distracted, or we don’t know where to look, or we try but our vision is clouded, or we’re looking in the wrong place. Supposedly, this “Christmas star” would have been the star the wise men of old followed to find the Christ child who had been born. Had they not been actively looking for the star, and had they not known where to look for it, they wouldn’t have found the child.

    In many ways, I wonder if we are the same. We find what we’re looking for. We find what we intend to see – maybe not right away, but we often find what we seek. If you’re looking for reasons to be thankful, you’ll find them. If you’re looking for reasons to be scared, you’ll find them. If you’re looking for reasons to be angry, filled with joy, or hopeful, you’ll find them.

    All that said, that doesn’t mean that if you just look hard enough, you’ll make something happen, but, with our eyes open, maybe you’ll see what’s already happening. Maybe you’ll see the bright moments that are around you and perhaps even within you.

    It’s hard telling exactly where 2021 will lead us. Goodness knows most of us predicted 2020 differently than it panned out. As we enter into a new year, maybe we have an opportunity to shift our mindset, and in doing so, we just might find those bright spots we’ve been missing all along.

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