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 others, to make music in the heart. (Howard Thurman)
My first introduction to this timeless poem came in the form of a choral arrangement and so I am including it as my last song in the season of Christmastide. And since today is Epiphany, it seems appropriate to pause one last time to reflect on what we have learned throughout these Advent and Christmas seasons and how we might continue on into this new year.
This year has not brought the easiest set of seasons, to be sure. Throughout the month of December life has had its ups and downs, its joys and sorrows, its triumphs and tragedies. Yet the star still rose. The angel spoke. The shepherds heard good news. The magi arrived. The Christ-child was born. And God’s love was set loose in the world again.
The honest truth is that Christmas is not meant to be only one day, or even twelve days, per year. The birth of the Child at Bethlehem is meant to bring a dawn of Love in our hearts that transforms us permanently. Making each day a new opportunity to live into a new life. A new way of being.
What might that look like?
It will look like that Child’s life when he was all grown up: Finding the lost. Healing the broken. Feeding the hungry. Releasing prisoners. Rebuilding peoples in need of reconciliation and restoration. Bringing true peace, one where justice is present. And speaking the true universal language that all of God’s children know – music of the heart.
Whatever may come, whatever may pass, however the world may try to shake our resolve as we leave Bethlehem behind us, the light of God’s love goes with us. And now it is our turn to shine it onto a world so desperately in need.