Begin the work of Christmas

Walk the thought, 2007-08 No. 1

Today is Christmas Day. Howard Thurman’s well-loved Christmas poem echoed resoundingly to me this dawn, as if bent on being remembered. When the star in the sky is gone, when Kings and Princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks, the work of Christmas begins.

Christmas is not just a feel-good occasion; eloquence is not its only pleasure. Christmas is about working, performing deeds, making effort.

We can start with ourselves. Look back at 2007, rummage through the mess we might’ve made, and pick up the pieces. I’m sure we have dropped something nice here and there—an insight, a blessing, or even a virtue! We can forgive ourselves and be freed from bondages of kept regret or guilt.

That way we shall be able to love inclusively and our work of Christmas can go beyond and deservedly to others. To find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to make music in the heart.

Perhaps it is to promote the same lifework that December is National Volunteer Month in our country. By volunteering we can begin the work of Christmas and realize bits of our dream to create a better world for self and others.

Imagine the value of a volunteer who counsels and provides personal care to indigent people with cancer. A volunteer’s commitment for human rights campaign uplifts torture survivors. The little ones of the indigenous peoples enjoy a volunteer’s creativity and the toys he makes for them. Volunteers extend legal services to ease the burden of urban poor families.

The volunteer’s spirit is much-needed inspiration on the long, rough road of life. It is full of hope and optimism!

Volunteers market and sell Christmas cards to help farmers own the land they till. Volunteers design websites of organizations that promote the welfare of the physically disabled. They act as museum guides and tell the stories of minority groups. They develop databases for alternative health care programs. They organize resource centers and abstract works on women’s issues or children’s rights.

Volunteering creates. It is about people who make ripples and move in positive cycles with others. They clean up the bays and build nurseries. They nurture the soil with organic farming, manage coastal and marine resources, and fight fire to save lives. They monitor the livelihood projects of the mothers and map ancestral domains with the Lumads.

Volunteering draws us into worlds we have ignored, those of the lost and hungry. Or into our inner world where we lay broken and enslaved. But wherever it is, let the work of Christmas begin today.

Copyright 2007

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