When the song of the angel is stilled
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 rebuild the nations,
to bring peace on earth,
to make music in the heart.
Our Christmas trees are down and chipped into next season's flowerbed toppings. The angels are tucked away in boxes. The lights have been taken down - or have blown onto your neighbor's roof. Christmas is over. The good news is, our lives are back to their normal stress levels and we've turned our attention to New Year's resolutions - like more skiing and ice-skating!
But these post-Christmas words by African-American poet and theologian Howard Thurman remind me that Christmas is not over, but rather it's just getting started. The spirit of Christmas continues long into the New Year - through us - with a post-Christmas agenda.
For the work of Christmas, God provides the tools (us), gives us the courage to plant seeds - seeds of hope, justice, and kindness. The seeds are nurtured through prayer and worship, through the intimacy of small group fellowship and through serving God. Because of what God has done at Christmas, we're set free to go look for the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the captive, and to rebuild the nations.
The ``work'' of Christmas is letting the images of Christmas really change you. It means removing Jesus from the manger, letting him grow up, being led by his words and deeds, and following in his footsteps. What happened in your heart at Christmas isn't over, it's being changed from a feeling into action. That's the beauty of what God can do! It never stops. It changes and renews us. Even in post-Christmas January.
Greg Lindsay is the pastor at Northern Light United Church.