I Am the Light of the World (Xmas text)

I finally located the Howard Thurman poem that Jim Strathdee’s 1969 “I Am the Light of the World” is based on.

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.

Hope somebody somewhere sings Strathdee this Advent, or reads Thurman’s litany.

Presumably it is technically under copyright, but I can’t find the original date (obviously pre-1969). It is in Thurman’s The Mood of Christmas, which is © 1973 by Howard Thurman, but doesn’t give the history.

3 Respondoj to “I Am the Light of the World (Xmas text)”

  1. Rachel Says:

    Howard Thurman was a mentor to Martin Luther King Jr. He was an author, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader. He helped to bring Gandhi’s practice of nonviolent struggle to America. He was Dean of Chapel at Howard University and Boston University for more than two decades, wrote 21 books, and in 1944 helped found a multicultural church in San Francisco.

  2. Mary Says:

    Thank you – in my last parish, we often used “I am the Light of the World” including this verse on the first Sunday after the Christmas period was over.

  3. Bill Paisner Says:

    The latest setting, this time of the complete Thurman poem, is by Elizabeth Alexander in a choral work, available from Seafarer Press.

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