Live the spirit of Christmas year-round

As we approach Christmas I am grateful for so many ways in which God’s blessings have been felt among us and mindful of those for whom this holiday season is also a time of difficulty. Those who are sick, those who grieve the loss of a loved one, those in job transition all look for the promise of the angel’s song in the Christmas story: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Part of the blessing of the season is also the chance to embrace those who still look for the promise but haven’t found it for themselves just yet. I am often reminded of the poem of the theologian Howard Thurman at this time of year. As we enjoy the cheer and blessings and food and the chance to gather with friends and family, I also hope we will respond through the year to all who need us.

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.

As carols fill our homes and our places of worship, as we hear again the story of God’s love, may we also remember the call to bring what we celebrate into our lives each day — long after we have enjoyed the lights and the tree, long after we have eaten the last Christmas treat, long after we have enjoyed the looks of joy with our presents, let’s all continue to live into that promise as we reach out and share love and hope with all we might meet.

There are so many ways in which it happens already in Boulder City. Just look at the small army of volunteers in Lend A Hand, Emergency Aid of Boulder City, Meals on Wheels and the Senior Center of Boulder City, just to name a few of the organized ways we care for each other.

May the spirit of this season move more people to consider how they might help in these and other good works.

But we can’t forget the sometimes very small ways we have opportunities each day with a kind word and a listening ear and a simple smile.

May joy and peace be yours in abundance this Christmas. May all travel safely and return refreshed. And may we each live the “work of Christmas” each day to make our homes and our city resemble that peace and joy all year.

The Rev. Bob Stoeckig is pastor at St. Andrew Catholic Community.