Editor's note: Yuletide Chat with Bishop Ken Carter continues with some of the bishop's favorite themes for the Advent season.
The Work of Christmas
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 flocks,
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.
-- Howard Thurman
A Christmas Prayer
for Those Who Don't Go to Church
Lord, I don't go to church much.
I don't go at all.... Well, I go at Christmas.
I'm home then. I feel drawn to it.
I like the Christmas Eve service,
the coolness of the air.
I feel like a kid again. It's surreal.
I know folks make fun of people like me.
What can I say? I've drifted ... but there is a pull back.
Are You saying something to me?
I hear something in the sermon, sometimes,
but mostly it's the music and the candles.
What is it about those candles? And the darkness?
The darkness ... it's the light, I suppose.
Light and darkness.
I know about light and darkness. I live in both.
I've got some of both in me.
I'm basically a good person, but I struggle.
I know about light and darkness.
But I want to be closer to the light.
I want to light that candle and sing those songs.
And in the dark street shineth the everlasting light.
I would like to live in that light, Lord.
I would like to meet Jesus.
Maybe what I'm saying is that I would like to be born again...
maybe that's what Christmas really means.
-- Ken Carter