The Family Star

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(This is an excerpt from the chapter "The Family Star" in the book The Mother's Mite.)

A woman I genuinely admire has an illuminating ritual that reveals a great deal about her family’s loving relationship. Whenever there is the slightest cause to rejoice, to mourn, or to lighten an emotional load—Kim simply turns on the star above her front door. And that star serves as a symbol to all who have eyes to see.

This story began when Kim’s father-in-law was just a little boy growing up in humble circumstances. After visiting a lovely home with a bright, beautiful star all lit up at Christmastime, he vowed to have a home of his own with a lighted star right above the front door someday. And after many years of hard work, he realized his dream.

Today, all of his children—now with families of their own—respectfully display a star above their front doors year-round. For Kim, the star is a beacon. “When really hard things have happened in our family,” she says, “I always light up the star. It represents hope. It’s a symbol of Christ coming into the world and of Christ coming into our lives.”

Kim also uses their family star as a symbol of celebration. “I light it when our children get married, when missionaries leave, when they come home, when new babies are born, when people succeed, or at times when family members truly need to feel loved. When they see the star above our door—they know that star shines just for them.”

One evening, after her husband had a particularly difficult business meeting, Kim anticipated her husband coming home late and discouraged. Although she knew she couldn’t change the sad events of his day, Kim knew she could turn on the star so he would see it as he drove up the street toward their home. “It makes me emotional just thinking about it,” she sighed. And I’m certain it had a similar effect on her husband that night.

Kim loves giving stars to the people she cares about most, like to her missionary son when he was serving in Pennsylvania and to her newly married daughters as they started their own homes and new lives. And though there are certainly multiple layers of meaning behind this endearing tradition, Kim feels the message that star conveys most meaningfully to the members of her family is, “You’re going to be okay. We’re here. Christ is here. We’ll all get through this together.”

And with such a loving and supportive mother, there’s no doubt that they will.

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