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As Christmas Approaches Once More…

December 23, 2016

“Christmas returns, as it always does, with its assurance that life is good.”

So the prophet and poet Howard Thurman reminds us. I have carried this poem and prayer in my heart for so many years. I was first introduced to Howard Thurman’s writings at United Theological Seminary in 1984. His writings and his spoken recordings continued to touch my heart in every place where God has called me to serve. 

Whether it has been Christmas services around the world or in bases on a wartime footing, Christmas has always come with its assurance that life is good.

God came down at Christmas into the crazy world of a Roman census and an oppressive regime. God came down into a world where a tyrannical despot would order the massacre of thousands of innocents. God came down and in Christ became a refugee escaping political persecution. Despite all the horror and the darkness, God came down to remind us that life is good.

As I reflect on the hatred and division in this country and world. As I seek a way in the midst of so much darkness. As I look for hope and promise, I find myself once again before the manger. I look into the calm eyes of a young mother who should by all account be scared to death. I look into the eyes of a father who carries his own questions and concerns. Then, and only then, do I look into the eyes of a wee baby whose glance revealed the light and love of the world.

Yes, dear reader, Christmas comes once more with its assurance that life, and the love of God, is present with us.

As I close this reflection, I offer to you the words of Howard Thurman… may the peace of Christ which they proclaim, be in your hearts this evening and always.

Christmas returns, as it always does, with its assurance that life is good.

It is the time of lift to the spirit,

When the mind feels its way into the commonplace,

And senses the wonder of simple things: an evergreen tree,

Familiar carols, merry laughter.

It is the time of illumination,

When candles burn, and old dreams

Find their youth again.

It is the time of pause,

When forgotten joys come back to mind, and past

dedications renew their claim.

It is the time of harvest for the heart,

When faith reaches out to mantle all high endeavor,

And love whispers its magic word to everything that breathes.

Christmas returns, as it always does, with its assurance that life is good.

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