Saturday, December 13, 2008

THE GIFT OF GRACE

A snippet from a Christmas season reflection by Howard Thurman

A VOICE OF RELEVANT GRACE. I happened on to Howard Thurman's writings at a bookstore at Earlham College 20 years ago. A quick thumb-through a few of his books and I was hooked. His books are more easily accessed online now than they were back then. If you're new to Thurman, I suggest starting with For the Inward Journey, which is a collection of essays and poems from his other books. The Growing Edge is also powerful. The Moods of Christmas by Howard Thurman might be the most gracious gift I happened onto (at the public library) this season. It is a collection of the influential African-American Quaker preacher's poems, stories, essays and sermons of the season. II have already posted "The Work of Christmas" and I may share excerpts from a few more of Thurman's reflections of this season Here's a snippet from a piece titled "The Gift of Grace."

This is the season of Christmas. For many people, it is a time of
great pressure and activity, a time when nerves are tense, and when a great deal
of anxiety hovers over the common life. And this is just the reversal of
what the mood and the meaning of Christmas really are. I would like to
suggest, then, that for those of you who care deeply about the meaning of your
own lives and significance of moments of high celebration, that you would do two
things during this season.

One, that you will seek reconciliation with any person or persons with whom
you have, at the moment, a ruptured or unhappy relationship... Think about
such a person and find a way by which you can restore a lost harmony, so that
your Christmas gift to yourselves will be peace between you and someone
else.

The second is just as simple. Will you with your imagination, with
your fancy, will you conjure up in to your minds a gift of grace that you might
give to someone for whom you have no obligation, someone whose need is not so
great that if you don't respond to it during the season you will feel
guilty--but someone upon whom you might confer a private blessing... Say a
word of reassurance, of comfort, of delight, of satisfaction--so that you will
feel that out of the fullness of your own hearts, you have conferred upon some
unsuspecting human being the gentle grace that makes the season a good and whole
and hale and happy time.

I welcome your comments and/or questions in the spirit of dialog. Share yours by clicking on "comments" just below. They're moderated only to reduce incivility. Shalom!

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Your tasteful comments and/or questions are welcome. Posts are moderated only to reduce a few instances of incivility.