I’m always a little sad the day the tree comes down. The needles have been vacuumed, the ornaments sorted, the lights wound up, and the boxes of decorations are headed back to their closets, this time for a few years. We still have all the Nativities to take down and pack away. Every baby Jesus and every wise man and shepherd will be carefully wrapped and nestled into boxes and bins where they will be safe until they get to come out again.
Years ago I found the thought below, that runs through my mind every year as we take Christmas down. It’s an adaptation of a poem by a philosopher and theologian named Dr. Howard Thurman called “The Work of Christmas.” In 1944 he helped found the first racially integrated, multi-cultural church in the United States.
I turned my car radio on today, and for the first time in weeks heard secular music. I have not stopped listening to sacred Christmas music at home, although it’s time for those angel songs to be stilled for a while too. The holidays are over.
I was in a fabric store today and noticed not only Valentine’s décor, but also St. Patrick’s Day and Easter decorations for sale. I bought some lovely sale fabrics for our DfG events this week. We had 5 events last week and have 4 big ones to prepare for this week. We are back at work. The song of the angels is stilled. The star has gone. The kings and wise men and shepherds are being packed away.
I am grateful that Jesus not only was born, but that he lived and loved and worked and established a pattern for us to follow. I love him with all my heart. It’s time now to do His work.
When the song of the angels is heard no more,
When the Bethlehem star has gone from the sky,
When the kings and the wise men have returned to their homes,
When the shepherds are back in the fields with their flocks,
Then the real work of Christmas begins:
To spread the Christian message,
To lift up the unbelieving,
To make whole the broken hearted,
To break the bonds of sin,
To purify the national purpose,
To exalt the destiny of all mankind,
And to set our eyes on those eternal goals
That the son of God established in his day.