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The Twelfth Day of Christmas – A Reflection

January 5, 2020

Today is the last day of Christmas. This morning at Worship I was challenged by the Spirit to speak of the Lord’s peace in times like these. When rumors of war assault all of our senses constantly. Tomorrow is the Feast of the Epiphany. The Magi came a day early in today’s worship. Today was a message of challenge… of hope… of consolation… of peace in the midst of chaos.

This afternoon we had the blessing of spending a few hours with two dear friends who are family to us. Erin and Nadine’s music makes us smile. They share laughter and joy with those who hear their music. We are so very thankful for that time of music and joy.

As I drove back up the canyon, my mind came back to this season of Christmas which ends today. It has been quite a season. There have been highs and lows aplenty. It has been a time with family and dear friends. It has been a time of rest, reflection, and blessings. It has been a time of music, love, and laughter. It has also been a time of tears, fear, and sorrow. It has been a time of deep prayer and lament.

Once again I turn to the words of both Howard Thurman and Bruce Epperly. Thurman’s words ring loud and clear in my heart and soul.

When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone,

When the kings and princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flock,

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 among brothers [and sisters],

To make music in the heart.

We were challenged today in worship (both the pastor and the congregation) to look upon this season differently that we have perhaps looked upon it before. The events of long ago were indeed radical. The events of long ago challenged and transformed Shepherds, the Magi, and of course the Holy Family.

Between the music in worship and the music of our dear friends I was reminded of the beauty of this season. The music also reminded me of our purpose as people of the Light. As John 1:5 says–the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

Epperly put it quite beautifully in his own reflection on the final day of Christmas:

Love always trumps fear and hate. Love opens us to novelty and wonder, and inspires us to bring beauty to daily life, to the lives of the vulnerable, and to the world. Yes, joy and beauty to the world, because God is here!

Christmas is a season, but it is also a state of mind that dwells tenderly on the simple things, that looks for beauty in ugliness, and seeks peace in conflict. On this twelfth day of Christmas, we don’t need partridges, rings, or maids a milking; we need the dream of God’s realm to energize and challenge us. Let us make a commitment to become Christmas people, builders of a new world, embracing persons in need and seeing Christ born and reborn in every child. Let us pray to take our Christmas spirit into the season of Epiphany, the season of the Persian magi and God’s revelation in unexpected places.

The light of the world still shines. (pp 84-85)

Indeed, the light of the world still shines and we are called to carry the light of that love which always trumps fear and hate. May we be Christmas people each and every day of the year.

One Comment
  1. These are beautiful, inspiring thoughts from Howard Thurman and Bruce Epperly. I especially love the idea of Christmas as a state of mind as well as a season. It challenges us to consider the advent of the Incarnation on a daily basis, and live with the light, hope and joy it represents. Thanks, Michael! 🙂 ❤

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