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Christmas Is Over?

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Christmas 2 / Epiphany: 4 January 2001
"Christmas is Over?"
The Rev. Philip R. Taylor

We took down the tree last night. Most of the gifts are put away, or up, or hidden.

But the wise men were given a warning
in a dream not to go back to Herod,
and returned to their own country a different way.

I think Marshall is getting a cold or something. He seems fussy and is sneezing a lot. The weather is really strange; hot one day, cold the next. No wonder everyone is sick. I went to Carroll's pharmacy last week to get something for my cold. Walked right up to Kay and said, "Got anything for the 'crud'?" Kay knew exactly what I meant.

After the wise men had left, suddenly the angel of the lord
appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
'get up, take the child and his mother with you,
and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you,
because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.

What in the 'sam hill' is wrong with this stupid computer? The more confused I sit here, the longer I get. Two thousand dollars will get you plenty of hertz all right, a hertz in the brain. I know what, I'll call my friend Neal. He knows about computers.

So Joseph got up and, taking the child
and his mother with him,
left that night for Egypt,
Where he stayed until Herod was dead.
This was to fulfill what the lord had spoken
Through the prophet:
I called my son out of Egypt.

The neighbors' dogs are out again. One more yard clean up and I'm going to call animal control. Don't they have any respect for other people's property? Turn off the TV. There's only bad news on tonight. There's only bad news on every night.

Herod was furious on realizing
that he had been fooled by the wise men,
and in Bethlehem and its surrounding district
he had all the male children killed
who were two years old or less,
reckoning by the date he had been careful to ask the wise men.

Yes, I know my cough is worse. Yes, you're right. I'm sorry. I'll go to the doctor tomorrow. Really, I will.

Then were fulfilled the words spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
A voice is heard in Ramah, lamenting and weeping bitterly:
it is Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted
because they are no more.

This is the nineteenth Christmas since mom died. I miss her. She once gave me a pencil for Christmas. It was all she could afford. She scrubbed floors at a hospital and made $50.00 a week. Our rent took half of that paycheck. She never lost her spirit though. She taught me a lot by giving me that pencil. She taught me that all gifts are special, no matter how small. I most remember her smile. It could light an entire room. Wish she could be here to hold Marshall and see his smile. He looks like her a little, don't you think?

After Herod's death, suddenly the angel of the lord
appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said,
'Get up, take the child and his mother with you
and go back to the land of Israel,
for those who wanted to kill the child are dead.'

What do you think the market will do? I don't know. Neither does anyone else. Dear God, I'm tired of people asking me that. It's your business, don't be tired of it, think positive. Maybe, one day when someone asks you that question, you'll have a vision of the future and you'll be able to totally startle them with your brilliance. Are you glad Christmas is over? Glad? I think it is reason enough for a whole other celebration. Yes, I'm glad. Is it really over? Yes. Somewhat sad though. The tree was pretty, wasn't it? Good night, dear. Good night. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Oh, did I tell you about the sermon I have to preach this Sunday? I've decided to use Howard Thurman's poem "Christmas Never Ends" as my theme. Have you heard it? Goes something like this:

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 - Poet & Philosopher

So Joseph got up and,
Taking the child and his mother with him,
Went back to the land of Israel.

Amen.

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