Happy New Year
As I look ahead to the New Year, I find myself pondering Christmas.
Technically Christmas has only just begun. Our liturgical (church) calendar tells us that Christmas is a season of 12 days that begins on December 25 and ends on January 5.
Sunday, January 6th we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord, the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12). This is the Sunday we look at the travel and the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child.
As I ponder Christmas I have been thinking about the irony of how we never seem to think there is enough time as we prepare for the arrival of Christmas and all the celebrations that go with it. Yet with the Christmas season, as with the visit of the Magi, we always seem to be getting ahead of ourselves, wanting to tell the entire story on Christmas Day, then immediately moving on to what is next.
Part of this, I think, is that we have become so familiar with this Christmas story that it no longer feels like the incredible miracle it is. We tell the story with a glimmer of anticipation, and as soon as it is done, we are quick to move on to the next thing.
Yet the words of Howard Thurman, a theologian, preacher, educator, and civil rights leader, invites us not just to move on, but to know, reflect, and act on the what the heart of this story is really about: Christ, our Savior, who came to live with us, to work alongside us, and to invite us to do the hard work of living in this world, without being of this world (John 17:14-19).
“Now the Work of Christmas Begins”
by Howard Thurman
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
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 brothers,
To make music in the heart.
As the world stills and the new year begins:
how are you going to do the work of Christmas?
May our work, our time, our gifts, and our community come together as we turn toward God and begin again the work of Christmas — not just in this season, but always.
Blessings in Your New Year