By Marian Wright Edelman
Jackson Advocate Guest Writer
As this holy season in so many faith traditions comes to a close, this is always a time to take stock and embrace the lessons that can be taken from this season with us into the New Year. This year finds us once again in the middle of perilous times for our nation and world. Yet one of the lessons of this season of light at the darkest time of the year is that this is the time when change begins. I share again an adapted version of Madeleine L’Engle’s poem “First Coming” (used by permission in my book “Guide My Feet” as published in “Imagining the Word”):
God did not wait till the world was ready,
till . . . nations were at peace.
God came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.
God did not wait for the perfect time.
God came when the need was deep and great.
God dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.
God did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy God came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
God came, and God’s Light would not go out.
God came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.
We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
God came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!
I also share the words of beloved theologian Howard Thurman, who speaks to this moment in “The Work of Christmas”:
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.
These words are once again a reminder and encouragement for all we must and will do in the new year. Let’s commit to moving forward together with purpose, determination, gratitude, and joy.