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Second Reading: The Sacrament of Christmas by Howard Thurman

Like many human stories, Howard Thurman’s story is one of resiliency, bravery, and hope. As author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader, Thurman dedicated his life to the pursuit of a society that could acknowledge its differences yet elevate its common human ties. He visualized a world where racial, ethnic, or religious barriers did not serve as a roadblock to creating meaningful relationships.  

I make an act of faith toward all humanity

Where doubts would linger and suspicions brood.  

I make an act of joy toward all sad hearts,

Where laughter pales and tears abound.  

I make an act of strength toward feeble things,

Where life grows dim and death draws near.  

I make an act of trust toward all of life, where fears preside and distrusts keep watch.  

I make an act of love toward friend and foe, where trust is weak and hate burns bright.  

I make a deed to God of all my days – And look on life with quiet eyes.  


(1) The birth of Jesus with shepherds, JESUS MAFA is a response to the New Testament readings from the Lectionary by a Christian community in Cameroon, Africa.

(2) Artist: Gelder, Aert de, 1645-1727.

(3) Inuit Nativity, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library