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By Dan Baumgartner on
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Jan 04 in Musings
Whoosh! The holidays have passed. What a season at Hollywood Presbyterian! Truly. Christmas craft night, community art project, Wednesday chapel services, our first ever Longest Night service, choir concert, Advent Sunday worship, Christmas Eve family service (including maximum adrenaline levels) and the candlelight 10pm service. Kids’ choirs, bells, candles, guitars, organs, John 1, carols, dimmed lights, joy, incarnation. Where does one go from here?

On December 30th our choir sang a Dan Forrest piece called The Work of Christmas. It is based on a poem of the same name by Howard Thurman, an African-American theologian, educator, and civil rights leader:
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 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 the people,
to make music in the heart.
This is where we go- to work. To live life in a way that honors Christ and cares for people- body, mind and spirit. To embrace the incarnation of Christ by allowing the Spirit to lead us in good gospel work. A new year always seems to present us with two choices. One is to mope around and feel sad that the excitement of December is over– the wise men are indeed back home and the shepherds have returned to their fields. The other option is to dive into 2019 open-hearted and open-handed, eager to see what the Lord has for us.
A couple of years ago Anne and I received an old style letter board for our house. We take turns putting a different quote on it each month. The current one (picture) is a famous quote from the poet Rainier Maria Rilke, an early 20th century German poet. In a 1907 New Year’s Day letter to his wife Clara, he wrote:
                 “And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.”
May we have our eyes wide open, watching to see where God leads us in 2019.

Blessed New Year,
     Pastor Dan

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