DEVOTIONAL: Christmas 2019 is now in the rear-view mirror
The last Christmas of the 2010s is in the past. What does God have in store for our future?
Christmas for another year has come and gone. Christmas trees will soon be taken down, and ornaments and other decorations will be put away for another year. 2020 calendars will soon be hung in place of the 2019 ones. Birthdays and upcoming appointments will soon begin to show up on those calendars. The page will be turned. A new decade will begin.
What will have happened in your life by next Christmas season? There’s a good chance that some reading this column won’t be with us any longer. Maybe me, or, maybe you? God only knows.
So, what can be our response to the start of this new decade? What do we want to see God do through us toward others? How can we make a difference in our world?
During a Christmas season some time ago, I stumbled on this poem written by Howard Thurman, who a mystical, prophetic preacher active in the civil rights movement and who joined the Wider Quaker Fellowship in the 1960s. The poem is titled “The Work of Christmas.”
“When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, When the kings and the 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.”
What a great challenge for each of us! How can some of these things be accomplished? What will it take? How can we flesh out these huge challenges to serve others? It begins with taking the first step: Ask God for help.
Ask God to help you see the world as he sees it. Ask God to give you wisdom as to where you can begin to make a difference. The opportunities are endless but be laser-focused. Be specific and give yourself a timetable to begin. As Thurman’s poem continues:.
“We are 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 and let it begin with me.”
About 2,500 hundred years ago, the prophet Jeremiah wrote about God’s promise to bring the Israelites out of a 70-year captivity. God said, “I will bless you with a future filled with hope” (Jeremiah 29:11) This is what God wants for each of us.
Rev. Loren Ferch is the spiritual care coordinator at Heritage Living Center..