When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins.
To find the lost. To heal the broken.
To feed the hungry. To release the prisoners.
To rebuild the nations. To bring peace.
by Howard Thurman
Seldom has one single poem moved me so, especially around Christmas and near the dawn of a brand new year. And I admit that the “Christmas Season,” whatever that is, year after year looms as a personal challenger for me to cope and surrender into the genuine balm of good cheer and merriment and spirit of those around me. I struggle oftentimes to hear that melody that deserves to be sung and sung mightily.
But I pray, that way will open for me as one person, a soul among many, to find and attend with patience and love, the one or the many who are lost and alone in the months to unfold in 2008. And if by voice or presence or touch, I bring some fraction of healing closer to just one, or more than one, that, for me, will be Christmas celebrated over and over again.
I should feed the hungry, and all of them, but how? Perhaps, way forward will come by whatever measure and step. We shall see. That my country, the United States of America, the richest nation on the planet, has children of its own who go to bed, hungry still, is shameful. That the US, my country, continues to drop more bombs than bread on the neediest of my brothers and sisters in far-off places is nothing less than criminal.
As for prisoners, I would start tomorrow, the release; from Guantanamo; from the dingy overcrowded county jails of sheriffs who rise politically on the backs of addicts and others who are trapped in a world without.
My nation I would rebuild tomorrow, beginning with releasing too, my President. I’d apologize to all our world-wide friends, and foes alike, and pledge to find new leaders that could listen, learn, and act from intelligence, not strength alone. And peace would come, or some increased measure of it certainly, by breathing in the Gods of many, and knowing then with gratitude and wonder, so this, at last, is Christmas. That would be my news and hope for a new year.
Text by K. Lee