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The Eleventh Day of Christmas – A Reflection

January 4, 2020

Today is the Eleventh Day of Christmas. Epiphany is nearly upon us. We will celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany tomorrow in worship. We will gather around the Lord’s Table where we will break bread and share the cup.

It is also still mid-Winter. The days are still short and the January winds are blowing here in the Rocky Mountains. I continue to walk with Howard Thurman through the Twelve Days of Christmas thanks to Bruce Epperly’s book. Soon we will enter a new season in the church year. The season of Epiphany will last until the season of Lent begins. This season is also called Ordinary Time. Yet as I look at the world around me, the time is anything but ordinary.

There are days when I long to soar above the world as the pelican at the top of the blog was flying when I received this image on Perdido Key in Florida this past November. In TH White’s book, The Once and Future King, a story is told about young Wart (who would become King Arthur) and one of Merlin’s lessons for the future King. Wart was turned into a bird by Merlin and was flying with him (Merlin turned himself into a bird to join Wart in this lesson/adventure). Wart discovered that when he was flying high above the ground he couldn’t distinguish the boundaries between the various counties in England. The borders were created by humans. They were on maps made by humans. Yet in the sky the boundaries disappeared. The land was seen as God had created it. It was one land with one people. Oh the people may have different backgrounds but they were all united as creatures whom God had created.

As I consider the borders that humankind has fought over for millennia, I wonder what God thinks. Surely God must weep over the actions of those who were created in God’s own image (Imago Dei).

Once more, the words of Howard Thurman ring out so very clearly to me. Even though he wrote decades ago, his words (the words of a Prophet in my eyes) ring so very true.

Look well to the growing edge! All around us worlds are dying and new worlds are being born; All around us life is dying and life is being born. The fruit ripens on the tree; the roots are silently at work in the darkness of the earth against a time when there shall be new leaves, fresh blossoms, green fruit. Such is the growing edge! It is the extra breath from the exhausted lung, the one more thing to try when all else has failed, the upward reach of life when weariness closes in upon all endeavor. This is the basis of hope in moments of despair, the incentive to carry on when times are out of joint and [people] have lost their reason, the source of confidence when worlds crash and dreams whiten into ash. The birth of the child—life’s most dramatic answer to death—this is the growing edge incarnate. Look well to the growing edge!

This is the growing edge! This is the basis of hope in the midst of despair. It is to this hope that I will cling. It is this hope which will guide us through these times of darkness. It is this hope that will bring us to the light of a new day. May it be so, Lord! Amen.

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