The Rev. Peter A. Lane
When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.
+ Howard Thurman
I love this perspective from Howard Thurman about the work of Christmas. Most, if not all of us, think the work of Christmas is all about the preparation – the shopping, decorating, wrapping, cooking, and cleaning we do to prepare for Christmas. Thurman’s poem turns us around and sets our sights on the work we’re given as a result of Christmas, the miracle of the incarnation. Like John the Baptist, we know that the Light of Christ has come into the world, but unlike John, we think the light is simply something to be grateful for as it guides us in our living and scatters any darkness from our path. We fail to grasp that as followers of Jesus, we have received the light of Christ not simply for our own benefit, but for the sake of others, too.
To modify Dr. Thurman’s poem, when the Christmas carols are silenced, when the decorations are stored away, when the last of the Christmas cookies has been eaten, then the real work of Christmas begins – to bear the light of Christ out into the world, that all may know the saving power of God’s love made manifest in Jesus. Christmas does not end, despite what the calendars and the retailers tell us. The miracle of Christmas is ongoing if we understand it rightly, and if we join in the work it calls us to do – to carry the light of Christ out into a world in desperate need of healing and hope.
And so, on this 6th day of Christmas, may the light of Christ shine brightly in you and through you, and may you continue to share that light in the days and weeks and months to come.