I first heard this poem as a song. Although initially I was captivated by the beautiful melody and setting by the music composer, Jandi Arboleda, it is the lyrics and its message that made me connect to it in a deeper level. And every time Christmas season comes, I often find myself humming its melody or singing out its words. It goes:
When the song of the angels is stilled,
This poem was written by Howard Thurman, an author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and more notably, a civil rights leader. As a prominent religious figure, Thurman played a leading role in many social justice movements and organizations, and was a key mentor to leaders within the civil rights movement, including Martin Luther King Jr. Learning this about the author almost makes me think that the poem’s meaning and message are deeper and implicit. However, I believe that its words and commands are actually quite simple and straightforward. It conveys in an eloquent way what we need to do, especially as followers of Christ, when the Christmas season comes to an end. Find the lost - share the good news of Christ’s birth and salvation. Heal the broken - aid the sick, the elderly, and the vulnerable, especially in this time of pandemic. Feed the hungry - provide sustenance to people who are in need, like the homeless in our community, or donate to Second Harvest and Rise Against Hunger. To release the prisoner - help and support friends, family, or people in our community to break free from any form of addiction or abusive relationships. To rebuild nations, to bring peace among brothers - especially relevant in these times, get involved and support our government towards the path of healing and reconciliation from division due marginalization because of race, sexual orientation, religion, or political beliefs. And my favorite, To make music in the heart - to do all these work with a song and joy in our hearts. I love that the author closes the poem with this line, that after all the preceding “outward” commands, he reminds us at the end not to forget to take care of the “inward” - ourselves. With the new year ahead, and as the work of Christmas begins, I pray that the music-making in our hearts also continues and help us face our tasks with cheerful attitude.
- REY LAMBATIN, Choir Director
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.