A Generosity Project Reflection: The Work of Christmas Begins…

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A Generosity Project Reflection: The Work of Christmas Begins…

The Generosity Project is a collaborative effort between ABCUSA, regions, and local congregations. The Generosity Project aims to help pastors re-frame the conversation around stewardship and generosity in their congregations. Bi-monthly blogs help support new growth and understanding as we deepen our ministry and discipleship. The reflection below was provided by Rev. Stacy Emerson.

Thanksgiving has come and gone, that grand season of gratitude, and in the church, we immediately turn to Advent and Christmas, a continued time of great generosity in the church with special offerings and projects to help our neighbors. We ride this tide of goodwill throughout the season and with resolution hope to carry it all into a New Year. This December I am praying with Howard Thurman’s classic words about “The Work of Christmas,” as a reminder that the season does not end on Christmas Day or even on Epiphany. The work of Christmas, the generosity inspired by the season, is to become a way of life all year round if Christmas is to truly mean anything.

And that generosity goes beyond donating money or food or essential items. Thurman’s definition of generosity implied in his poem is about so much more. Generosity finds the lost; generosity heals the broken; generosity feeds the hungry; generosity releases prisoners; generosity rebuilds nations; generosity brings peace…singing a hope that the world desperately needs.

So when the time comes and we put away the manger and move on into the New Year, let us carry with us the broadest definition of generosity that knows how to dwell in a way of life, not just a particular act of giving.

“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 flock,
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 brothers,
            To make music in the heart.
~Howard Thurman, The Mood of Christmas

Rev. Stacy Emerson is the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church in West Hartford, CT and the Stewardship Consultant for ABCUSA.  She is also the Coordinator for The Generosity Project which is about helping congregations deepen their understanding of stewardship as a call to generosity as disciples of Jesus; re-framing the stewardship conversation; and cultivating generosity in pastors, lay people, and congregations.