Christmas Values: On Epiphany, a belated DAY TWELVE

Friends, after faithfully keeping alive the twelve days of Christmas, I failed on the actual day 12 (January 5). Today is Epiphany, the celebration of the day the wise men, magi, kings, magicians arrived from Persia to honor the Messiah born in Bethlehem.

The most poignant, profound poem ever written about Epiphany is T. S. Eliot’s Journey of the Magi which can be read here or listened to here.

This whole series on the Twelve Values of Christmas has been an effort to reclaim the actual season of Christmas throughout its duration. I think we long for it. I don’t think we really do want to pack everything up on 12/26 and start cleaning up. I think we want and need to luxuriate in the richness of Christmas, of hope, of generosity.

I think commercialism has robbed us of the chance to honor Advent as a season of anticipation so that we might experience Christmas fatigue.

And so I chose this year to luxuriate a little. Thank you for joining me.

Two last reflections so we can carry this with us:

In the brilliant words of Howard Thurman, the real work of Christmas is begun now:

In sung form, and you should take time to listen to his words set to music:

And a final reflection from my friend Ben Bohren that I hope to revisit periodically to reground myself in these Christmas values:

A Latin American Christmas creed
by AUTHOR UNKNOWN

I believe in Jesus Christ and in the power of the gospel, begun in Bethlehem.

I believe in the one whose spirit glorified a small village, of whose coming shepherds saw the sign, and for whom there was no room at the inn.

I believe in the one whose life changed the course of history, over whom the rulers of the earth had no power, and who was not understood by the proud.

I believe in the one to whom the oppressed, the discouraged, the afflicted, the sick, the blind, the injured gave welcome, and accept as Lord and Savior.

I believe in the one who—with love—changed the heart of the proud and with his life showed that it is better to serve than to be served, and that the greatest joy is giving your life for others.

I believe in peace, which is not the absence of war, but justice among all people and nations and love among all.

I believe in reconciliation, forgiveness, and the transforming power of the gospel.

I believe that Christmas is strength and power, and that this world can change if with humility and faith we kneel before the manger.

I believe that I must be the first one to do so.

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