Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Carrying Christmas forward ...

The neighbors have turned off their Christmas lights, so there was nothing to see when I glanced out into the darkness before going to bed last night.

Can't complain too much --- I've had no lights to turn on or off this year other than those that ordinarily burn. But it does seem odd to dismantle physical reminders of the holiday at a time, headed into a new year and a predicted winter storm, when we need to be working on strategies to carry its messages forward.

I shared Howard Thurman's brief poem "The Work of Christmas" (above) on Facebook the other day after it popped up as a memory. The graphic is something I did a few years ago. It bears repeating.

Thurman (1899-1981; left), a grandson of slaves who was ordained a Baptist preacher in segregated America, went on to broaden his theological --- and social --- horizons considerably, studying with Quaker mystic Rufus Jones, even Gandhi. His became an integrated, intercultural, interdenominational faith of non-violence that incorporated a call to action. He became a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders.

Here's another Thurman piece, "The Candles of Christmas." 

I will light Candles this Christmas,
Candles of joy despite all the sadness,
Candles of hope where despair keeps watch,
Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days,
Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens,
Candles of love to inspire all my living,
Candles that will burn all year long.

If you know anything useful about the Christian church you'll know that the season of Christmas continues until Epiphany, Jan. 6, so there's still plenty of time to light candles. Get busy!

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