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Rev. Michelle's Message December 28, 2023

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We certainly had some beautiful celebrations at UMB! Our Winter Solstice candle-lighting service had the best attendance in years and was just so lovely, with the newly revamped UMB choir singing so beautifully! And our Magical Mystical Metaphysical Christmas Story was meaningful and inspiring as always!


Let us not forget, however, that Christmas doesn’t end on December 25! In fact, the 12 days of Christmas begin on that day and go through January 6, the day the three kings from the Orient are said to have arrived to see and bring gifts to the newborn baby Jesus. Many cultures around the world have special celebrations on that day. Some of the people in my husband’s Mexican family even wait to open gifts until January 6!


There is so much peace and love and goodwill that is generated during the holidays. Wouldn’t it be great if we could continue with the loving feelings toward one another that were created during the holiday season–even toward strangers and people who are different from us–and carry them into the New Year? I think that is the idea that Howard Thurman had when he wrote his poem, The Work of Christmas:


When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone, When the kings and 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.


I love this poem as a reminder that in order to make lasting change, the goodwill we have experienced at Christmas needs to continue well beyond the holiday season. Our call to be the love of God in action requires us to turn that goodwill into concrete acts of kindness and compassion and justice and mercy such as those mentioned in Thurman’s poem.


Our job as followers of “the Way” that Jesus taught and modeled is to continue to advocate for all those who are marginalized and oppressed, the sick and imprisoned, the lonely and the hungry, and to never stop working for social justice in our communities and in the world.


So I challenge all of us this year, myself included, to heed Thurman’s words and carry the spirit of Christmas into the New Year and well beyond!


Holiday Blessings, 

Rev. Michelle


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