Wednesday, 30 December 2009

It's just begun

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 teach the nations
To bring Christ to all
To make music in the heart.
— Howard Thurman

Thurman had a great influence on Martin Luther King and this short reflection was read out close to the end of a midnight mass service which we attended this year. The extract below is from Thinking Anglicans,taken from a series of daily reflections which I hope will continue until Epiphany, and reminds us that Christmas is just a beginning, not an ending and in no way a sentimental story to be packed away with the nativity scene.

Within three days of the good news, comes the bad news. Yes, the Word has become flesh and is dwelling among us; but there seems to be a catch: the process of full redemption and recovery is to be accomplished within human beings, resistant materials that they are, step by step. As Robert Frost once observed ‘the best way out is always through’. Indeed the whole logic of incarnation is that God’s reaction to our evil is to meet it head on, not to steer round it. If this is the nature of the operation, the fullness of any redemption brought us in this holy child is bound to be a process that works from the inside out, needing to take flesh in real people through the seemingly random and cruel processes of the world, not a magic wand job.

Picture above is Breugel "The Census in Bethlehem" which I love for its sense of all the effort and chaos of human life and endeavour.

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