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The Work of Christmas: The Twelve Days of Christmas with Howard Thurman

Let us begin the work of Christmas!

This book is a celebration of the twelve days of Christmas, offering us a chance to dwell on the meaning of the season in dialog with the wisdom of one of America’s greatest mystics and activists, Howard Thurman.

Thurman knew that Christmas always begins in darkness—the darkness of the womb, the darkness of human violence and oppression, the darkness of hopelessness. In Christmas, Thurman reminds us, a light shines even in the darkness, and this light will never be defeated. God’s light streams into the most unexpected places—a stable, among foreign magi from another religious tradition, and in the varieties of human culture and ethnicity. Just a little light can transform the darkness and help us anxious pilgrims find our way.

During the twelve days of Christmas, our goal is to experience God’s light, despite the temptation to close our hearts in a world too often characterized by racism, sexism, polarization, nationalism, and exclusion. This season asks us instead to open our hearts and our lives, so that throughout the year ahead, we may be light-bearers, carrying the message of Divine justice and hope, making it come alive even in the darkest corners of the world. This is the year-round work of Christmas!

About the Author
Bruce Epperly is senior pastor of South Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in Centerville, Massachusetts, and a professor in theology and spirituality at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. He is the author of over 45 books, including The Mystic in You: Discovering a God-filled World (Upper Room Books) and The Work of Christmas: The Twelve Days of Christmas with Howard Thurman(Anamchara Books).

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