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The Strange Irony – Howard Thurman

December 17, 2018

As I continue to reflect and prepare for our Blue Christmas Service on December 21st, the longest night of the year; I think about the time that will be offered for reflection, prayer, and fellowship for those who may not feel especially festive or jolly. It is only a few days before Christmas Eve and I well remember our hearts as we lit candles a month after my Mom’s death last year. This year we will light candles for her and for Denise’s Mom who died this past March. There are so many candles to be lit personally and as the pastor of a congregation where there have been so many deaths.

Reflecting on Blue Christmas and Christmas Eve, I came across this quote from Howard Thurman’s book, Christmas Meditations.

There is a strange irony in the usual salutation, “Merry Christmas,” when most of the people on this planet are thrown back upon themselves for food which they do not possess, for resources that have long since been exhausted, and for vitality which has already run its course. Despite this fact, Christmas symbolizes hope even at a moment when Hope seems utterly fantastic. The raw material of the Christmas mood are a newborn baby, a family, friendly animals, and labor.

An endless process of births is the perpetual answer of life in the face of death. It says that life keeps coming on, keeps seeking to fulfill itself, keeps affirming the margin of hope in the presence of desolation, pestilence, and despair.

Even in the darkness of these days, my prayer is that we will find light and hope. That we might see the light that John talked about in the first chapter of his Gospel. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:5)

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