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October 23, 2017

The Work of Christmas

What? Why are we already talking about Christmas in October? A bit early, don’t you think?

Well, not really! Musicians live their lives with a future view, because of the time it takes to prepare for special events like Advent, Christmas, and our Epiphany Concert. Planning for that concert actually began in the second week of June this year, and has continued since. The choir started the music in September also, with a weekend choir retreat and ongoing rehearsals afterward.

However, there’s a specific reason to bring it up this early. It’s the piece of music that will end our Epiphany Concert, entitled The Work of Christmas. It’s by composer Dan Forrest, and has a text by the African-American pastor Howard  Thurman, who was active in the Civil Rights movement in the mid-20th century, and who was a member of the Friends (Quaker) fellowship.

Thurman’s text is very appropriate for the Church of the Brethren, with our focus on service to others. The musicians of the church would like to share it early, as sort of “marching orders” for our church. It’s work that we do all year long! Please ponder this text, and keep it in your heart until you hear the choir sing it in January, and far beyond.

The Work of Christmas
by Howard Thurman

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.

May God bless us as we try to live this simple, yet profound, text!

—Emery DeWitt