An After Christmas Poem by Howard Thurman

I stumbled on to this poem by Howard Thurman on Christmas eve. Thurman was a mystical, prophetic preacher active in the civil rights movement who studied with Rufus Jones and joined the Wider Quaker Fellowship in the 1960s. I found this Christmas poem of his in the book Black Fire: African American Quakers on Spirituality and Human Rights and thought it worth sharing. Many of his books have been published by Friends United Press.

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 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.

5 responses to “An After Christmas Poem by Howard Thurman”

  1. This is one of my favorite poems.

  2. I find this poem the most eloquent way to convey what Christians need to do when the Christmas season comes to an end. — Rex S. Wignall (Sun City United Methodist Church, Menifee, CA.

  3. I’ve used this poem as the Call to Worship on the first Sunday after Christmas and sometimes throughout January because it captures the real meaning of Christmas and actually speaks to what should be the churches mandate throughout the year. It echoes Jesus’ statement that he made when his ministry began in the synagogue worship described in Luke 4:18-19. Joe Tanner, Presbyterian minister, retired. Cleveland, TN

  4. Yes, take time out between looking for stocking stuffers and planning your Christmas Day feast to remember what we’re really supposed to be doing.😊

  5. Our pastor read this poem today (Epiphany). Love it!

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