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The Work of Christmas Begins

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Dec 26, 2010


Another Christmas Day has come and gone. We may have bought presents, received cards, baked cookies, and added to our waistlines.

But what now? What do we take away from this December 25th? Do we return to the normal, the regular, and the everyday?

“The Work of Christmas,” a poem by civil rights leader and theologian Dr. Howard Thurman, reminds us why we stand on the side of love throughout the year:

Dr. Howard Thurman was an influential author, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader. He was Dean of Theology and the chapels at Howard University and Boston University for more than two decades, wrote 20 books, and in 1944 helped found the first racially integrated, multicultural church in the United States.

Dr. Howard Thurman was an influential author, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader. He was Dean of Theology and the chapels at Howard University and Boston University for more than two decades, wrote 20 books, and in 1944 helped found the first racially integrated, multicultural church in the United States.

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 brothers,
To make music in the heart.

10 Responses to “The Work of Christmas Begins”

  1. To allow the Love of God in your heart.

  2. Barbara Dean says:

    Thank you so much for publishing this beautiful, brief and to the point, poem from the heart from a great man. It is good to be reminded that there is so much still to be done, and that we are the ones who can do it.

  3. Fred Small says:

    Dr. Thurman, whose portrait hangs in the library of First Parish in Cambridge, MA, is one of our heroes and inspirations. Each year “The Work of Christmas” is the benediction at our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, sending worshipers into the wintry night ablaze with Dr. Thurman’s spirit.

  4. Thanks for sharing this wonderful poem with us. We must take it as a real inspiration to do more to reach the goals it sets forth for us.

  5. Carlos Gomes says:

    Thank you for sharing Dr. Thurman’s poem. It is as poignant and relevant today as the day on which he wrote it.
    It is good to be reminded of “the work of Christmas”.

  6. [...] around to posting Christmas reflections, but maybe it’s appropriate to wait considering that “the work of Christmas” begins on the day [...]

  7. Tom Kelly says:

    How apt.

  8. JCF says:

    Thurman was my grandmother’s pastor, and influenced her greatly her whole life (and, through her, influenced me). Next week, my church choir is singing a setting of “The Work of Christmas.”

    Holy Howard, Pray For Us.

  9. I would add: go forth and live life according to the spirit that you were given at birth.

  10. And I would add: “And go forth doing all these things with milk and cookies at hand.”

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