This was, as I recall it, the very first work I chose for this year's project. It was a nice surprise, therefore, to hear it read from the pulpit at the UUS Christmas Eve service last week. Well, maybe not that surprising, since I found it among the readings at the back of Singing the Living Tradition, the Unitarian hymnal, but it's not like it was the only piece Rev. Anya could have chosen.
Reading over this just now, I was struck by the sense that I had posted a poem in a previous year with a similar theme, but looking over those poems I can't find anything particularly similar to it. I may just be thinking of Matthew 25, or of the anthem "Come, Ye Blessed," which takes its text from that chapter. Regardless, it's a message worth keeping in mind.
The Work of Christmas
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,
To make music in the heart.
Howard Thurman (1899–1981)
Previous Advent posts:
2003: Moonless Darkness Stands Between
2004: Black Madonna and Child
2005: Joy to the World
2006: Song of the Angel at the Nativity
2007: Madonna and Child with St. John the Baptist and St. Mary Magdalene
2008: Winter Song