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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The Work of Christmas has Begun/MANN

It’s the end of January. I took my Christmas tree down yesterday and put away all the visible evidence that Christmas even happened at our house. However, in Jim Strathdee’s song, “I am the Light of the World”, he claims:

“When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and the shepherds have found their way home, the work of Christmas is begun."

How then do I work, or facilitate someone else, to carry out the work of Christmas?

Looking at my list of errands on Monday morning, I realize that opportunity is within reach. Over Christmas, our church had collected homemade mittens, scarves and socks for kids who have to leave in the night, and head for a shelter with their mother. Every time I ring the bell on these doors, I think of these words:

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me" (Matthew 25:34).

Also on my list is a visit to our local school to take two bags of healthy snacks—gifts from our church’s outreach. A child, perhaps not hungry in the early hours of the morning, will enjoy a snack later in the day.

As a recipient of someone giving me information about a person with whom I’d lost contact, I’m able to visit an 85 year-old-woman in a local extended-care facility to renew a friendship. And later in the week, I’m given the free time to take an old friend a scarf I’d knit.

I’m aware that not all situations are geographically close enough to personally continue the work of Christmas: a woman from a nearby community is being held by Mexican officials; a family grieves the eminent death of a daughter, mother and sister; a grandchild is lost on city streets. The list is endless, and for some I can only pray.

The cruise ship tragedy is a story that I’ve been following. When I read the words, ‘As shaken survivors speak of a “mad rush” to evacuate the ship, and criticize the crew’s preparedness and slapdash emergency procedures . . . (Internet news account), I am left trying to imagine the feeling of overwhelming panic and crushing fear that must have consumed the passengers: children, women and men alike. Perhaps my only way of continuing the work of Christmas here is to shy from judgement, wait for justice and pray.

In all of the situations mentioned above, perhaps our greatest challenge is remembering Jesus’ words of relationship in appreciating women who learn to be strong in their personal situation, men who work to fulfill their individual responsibility and children who grow up watching them both.

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Donna, the lines of the quoted song make a very significant point, and you have beautifully illustrated it in your thoughts -- and have also demonstrated it in your deeds! :)