So this is Day 11 of the Christmas season. Many of us will have packed up the tree and have moved on in various ways, not including the dedicated shoppers still hunting for those 80% off deals on Christmas merchandise. I however am still listening to Christmas carols. I am a stalwart Christmas celebrator. I savour the lights and the glitter. In fact, last night, friends and I exchanged gifts.Their tree is still up too.
On this 11th day I contemplate Howard Thurman’s message:
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 teach the nations
To bring Christ to all
To make music in the heart.
This is the work of Christmas that we cannot–indeed must not–pack away with the tree and tinsel. This is the work that Christ calls each of us to, that reminds us of why Jesus became human. His face is in the hungry, the broken, the poor, the beaten, the wounded, and the lonely. We are called to make music in hearts that are tone deaf, to brighten the darkness that threatens to overwhelm, and to journey with those in need of compassion. His are the tears of a child in Syria. His empty belly aches in Burundi. The thin body in the shared hospital bed in Ethiopia is Christ’s. The woman trafficked from Cambodia is the Suffering Servant. The child in the Philippines whose home is destroyed is a familiar Face. Reach out to the least of these. The work of Christmas is not over as we say goodbye to this Holy Season. If you are looking for a New Year’s Resolution, think of your gifts and of someone who can use them. These are the gifts that were not under the tree but the ones that we were blessed with and were to be given away in service.
As Christmas ends, what gift will you give to those in need? Won’t you join in the continual work of Christmas?