This Week's Reflection


This Week's Reflection

This week has seen, as it always does, the decorations come down in many places because, we are told, we have to have them down by Twelfth Night or who knows what will happen…..! I’ve not taken mine down yet, I might do them this weekend, we’ll see how time goes, but I rather like leaving them up for a little longer and sometimes I even leave the tree up until Candlemass – which falls on the 2nd February, 40 days after Christmas Day. I ALWAYS leave at least one decoration up all year, and this year I decorated myself an angel with the particular intention of it staying with me, on a shelf by my desk, all through the year. I do this to remind myself that Christmas doesn’t get packed away after Christmas, because if we believe that Christmas is about celebrating God being with us, flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone, then that Christmas truth is true all through the year. I think that’s why I always feel a little sad when the decorations go down and the lights outside our houses get turned off: it’s not because I’m sad that Christmas time itself is over, but I’m sad because I think we lose the focus on the hope and joy of the light shining in the darkness. We lose the lights that literally shine in the darkness that remind us that the light of God really does shine on in our very dark world. 

Christmas can be a time to remember stories which we may or may not believe but like to recall and sing about. It can be a time to decorate our homes as winter takes hold and feel warm and a little more jovial. It can also be a time to stop and notice what is always true: that God is at work in our world, whether or not we notice. This is the truth that we with us throughout the year. Perhaps, like me, you might like to leave a decoration out this year to remind yourself that this truth of Christmas is with us all year round.

Our picture this week focuses on some words of Howard Washington Thurman (November 18, 1899 – April 10, 1981). He was an American author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. As a prominent religious figure, he played a leading role in many social justice movements and his belief in radical nonviolence influenced and shaped a generation of civil rights activists. He was a key mentor to leaders within the civil rights movement, including Martin Luther King Jr. His words quoted here remind us that the work of Christmas goes on in the life that we lead. To me this is a very real example of what it means for the light of God to shine on in the darkness of our world.

I wrote these words last year based on Howard Thurman’s words. They go to an old folk tune called “O Waly Waly” and I’m also told you can sing it to “O Christmas Tree.” You might like to sing along…..

The star comes down, the lights turned off, the tinsel taken from the tree.               

Put Christmas firmly in its box, there’s nothing left for us to see.


The shepherds go back to the hills, the trav’lers wisely wind their way,

the manger once more offers food, and we move on from Christmas Day.


Yet “Christmas-time” is never gone; the angel words shall be our call,

and peace on earth will be our work, the manger baby cries for all.


For there are lost and broken ones, and hungry hearts and bellies here,

and many captives to our ways, and lives that live too much with fear.


The star shines on if we will see, and listen out for angel songs

for if we live this story now the hope and joy will still go on.


Let the light shine on!

Let your light shine on this week, this year and forever

Rev. Anne Sardeson 9th January 2022