The week between Christmas and New Years is filled with so many questions.
- Do I take down the Christmas decorations or leave them up?
- When will my neighbors begin to judge me for leaving them up too long?
- When will the tree become a fire hazard?
- When will the lines to return gifts be shorter?
But then I start doing my post-Christmas reading, and such questions seem so trivial.
And I place my blame this year squarely on Howard Thurman.
Howard Thurman was a 20th century prophet, pastor, and writer. He served as Dean of the Chapel at both Boston University (my alma mater) and Harvard as well. He wrote 20+ books and countless sermons.
In his book The Mood of Christmas, Thurman writes the following haunting remarks on post-Christmas concerns of a Christian:
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 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 people,
– To make music in the heart.
Advent was a time to celebrate the Christ Child being born and a new source of life on our planet. Christmas is 12 days that give us time to really celebrate and re-evaluate our lives. But after Christmas, after this coming Sunday the Epiphany (January 6th), we return to the hard work of finding the lost, healing the broken, feeding and sheltering the homeless.
But thankfully, we get to do it together, reinvigorated, cleansed from the holiday hustle and bustle, and ready to face the challenge once again and make Christmas be not the one time a year when we serve others, but the time when we remember why we do the serving the other 11 months of the year.
I hope to see you this Sunday for worship as we celebrate the end of the Christmas season and the renewing of our own vows to serve the least and the lost among us.