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 the flocks,
then the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal those broken in spirit,
to feed the hungry,
to release the oppressed,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among all peoples,
to make a little music with the heart…
And to radiate the Light of Christ,
every day, in every way, in all that
we do and in all that we say.
Then the work of Christmas begins.
--Howard Thurman, adapted
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain an hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Grace to you and peace from God our Creator and our Savior Jesus Christ. God bless you in this time of Christmas, as we remember the birth of the Messiah and look for His coming again to fulfill the promise of His kingdom.
We’ve spent our time with family and friends. We’ve opened presents and squealed, some of us in horror, others in delight. We’ve eaten lutefisk, lefse, potato sausage, turkey, ham, goose, figgy pudding, pie and other delights until our guts are filled to bursting – and then we’ve gone and done it all over again a few hours later. Football has been played. The tree is starting to shed its needles. Parents are anxious for the kids to go back to school. With luck, snowmobiles and fish houses have been put to good use. So – is Christmas complete?
No, not by a long shot. As Howard Thurman said, the work of Christmas is just beginning. It will soon be a new year, and a new opportunity to make Christ known to a world desperately in need of His good news. All the trappings of our holiday season have been removed, and what remains? The boy-child, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Now that the holiday Christmas is gone, the work of Christ remains – and we remain as Christ’s hands and feet in the world.
We’ll soon be holding our annual meeting. We’ll set the budget, talk about the ministry we’ve done in the past year, cover any concerns we need to discuss as a congregation. For many of you, we’ve seen you at Christmas services for the first time all year. This year, why not make a change? Why not come and be part of the ongoing work of Christ? After all, this is the purpose of our church: to make Christ known for the sake of the world, not just at Christmastime but in all times and for all people. God has given you gifts for the good of the world – why not volunteer those gifts to the church in service to the One who gave them to you?
I pray for you always, and I hope you’ll grow in your service to God and our church this year. Merry Christmas to you, and a Happy New Year.