Yesterday the Oshkosh Chamber Singers had two concerts. Unlike other groups I have sung with during Christmas, this was more of a religious service than one with a variety of songs ranging from traditional carols to Christmas hymns to newer secular songs. Nine Lessons and Carols is an annual event and is a mix of readings about the Christmas story and songs intertwined with the same message.

There’s something almost mystical that happens when voices and instruments unite in a church packed with people of all ages eager to hear the music and contemplate all that the scriptures mean.

When you sing in a choir there are often songs you don’t like to sing. Maybe they are too fast or the pitch is too high. It could be a matter of taste because not everyone enjoys every song. Yesterday there was that one song that was new to me that made being a part of the concert worth every rehearsal, every migraine, every back ache, and every heartache I experienced this year.

This year that song was The Work of Christmas by Dan Forrest. It’s a simple tune, but the words are what matter. Click the link to the song and listen to the same choral arrangement we sang yesterday. The lyrics below are by Howard Thurman and it’s not only a benediction, but a call to us all to make a difference in the lives of those around us near and far.

I have been blessed with having a roof over my head, enough to eat, family and friends who care, and, of course, my dog. I think of the homeless, those struggling with debilitating or even terminal disease, those who have no hope and I know that I need to be do the work of Christmas every day of my life


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 from the heart.