The candles have been put away; the wax cleaned off the pews. The poinsettias have been delivered to the home bound. The Live Nativity is vacant on the church lawn. The presents have been unwrapped, bows are strewn about and boxes stacked. The aunts, uncles, cousins and friends have gone back home. Leftovers are crammed in the frig. Finally, a silent night with no Christmas party or choir singing. God’s house and my house are empty. Is Christmas finally over? The celebration may have come to an end, but now our work begins. Today at Rehoboth UMC (Two Notch Road, Columbia), pastor Doug Benton reminded me of my favorite Howard Thurman poem, as he shared it in his sermon. Let us commit to the work of Christmas in the New Year.
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,
the feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.
Dr. Howard Thurman was a theologian, author, professor, preacher, and civil rights leader. He served as Dean of Theology and Dean of the chapel at Howard University and Boston University. In 1944, Thurman helped start the first multicultural church in the U.S.