The Day Before Christmas

A last-minute checklist for a blest holiday;
My Dad Went Home for Christmas

The Day Before Christmas
A last-minute checklist for a blest holiday

It’s the day before Christmas and your shopping’s not done.
You’ve maxed out the VISA and Capital One.
Your kids are expecting a flat screen TV,
a Tivo, an X-box and even a Wii.
They have no idea how bad things have got
and how much your stomach’s all tied up in knots.
The market is iffy. Your job’s insecure
and plans for next summer have lost their allure.

The Spirit of Christmas seems way beyond reach
It’s like you’ve been drained by a joy-sucking leech.
In twenty-four hours the big day arrives,
and like old man Scrooge your heart’s shriveled in size.
But lest you give up and turn into the Grinch,
consider this game plan to ease Humbug’s pinch.

Just take time to chill out. Warm up by the fire.
Then prayerfully ponder your heartfelt desire.
To count all your blessings that money can’t buy.
Like children who hug you and puppies that try.
The vows at your wedding. Your mate’s faithfulness.
Their mute understanding and tender caress.
A bank full of memories that no one can rob.
Your grandfather’s watch with his antique gold fob.
The wealth of true friendship. A chum’s knowing glance.
And when you have screwed up, that prized second chance.
A healthy awareness of all you can do.
Those talents God gave you that help define you.

That fireside reflection should brighten your mood.
By adding up blessings, you start feeling good.
In spite of these hard times, recession and debt,
you’re really quite wealthy. You tend to forget
that Joy to the World is much more than a song.
It’s what you can give even when you been wronged.
When you feel content without lusting for more,
you give from your heart not some shelf at a store.
The best gifts you wrap aren’t expensive you see.
They’re priceless and costly and yet they are free.

That brings us to Christmas. That miracle birth.
A young virgin mother who doubted her worth.
The manger. The angels. The shepherds who came.
A baby long-promised to free us from shame.
A human-wrapped present no one could afford
was offered without charge. That babe was the Lord.
That’s it in a nutshell. He’s God’s gift of love.
The Present (or Presence) we all have dreamed of.
Amazingly awesome. Too good to be true.
Attempts to earn Heaven are over. They’re through.

So don’t sweat tomorrow. Just let Christmas come.
In light of its message, be grateful. Have fun.
Expect imperfection. Accept what you get.
Be thankful and patient. Let go of regrets.
Give grace when offended. Extend tenderness.
And when the day’s over your soul will feel blest. 

My Dad Went Home for Christmas
Reflections on a father’s recent deathMy dad went home for Christmas.The Father welcomed him.The lights of Heaven twinkled brightas he was ushered in. The little drummer boy marked time.My dad knew he belonged.He met the shepherds, saw the Lamband heard the angels’ song. He bowed and worshiped Jesus Christ.The greatest gift of all.The object of my dear dad’s faithfrom when he was quite small. 
That’s why when he got really sick,
he had the means to hope.
Aware the Father’s plans are good,
he found that he could cope.

He coped with all that cancer dealt
relinquished to God’s will.
He said he was all set to go.
before his voice was stilled.

But, boy, these silent nights are hard.
This Christmas will be rough
in spite of knowing Dad’s now whole.
Alive, all smiles and buffed.

A Purpose-Driven Choice

Obama’s Democratic critics speak volumes;
Homeless at Christmastime
A Call for Compassion;
A Season of Red, Green and Amber

A Purpose-Driven Choice
Obama’s Democratic critics speak volumes

Obama’s made a purpose-driven choice
bout who will pray
when he takes the oath of office
on Inauguration Day.

He hopes to curry favor
with the Evangelicals
but by his choice his left-wing base
has grown quite cynical.

They say Rick Warren’s phobic
of both lesbians and gays
and that Barack should change his mind
in terms of him who prays.

I guess they think that reaching out
to those “who aren’t like you”
means atheists, agnostics
and the non-religious Jews.

Befriending one who follows Christ
is just unthinkable.
The liberal base views tolerance
to Christians as pure bull.

Amazingly the day has come
when Biblicists draw fire
and those embracing timeless truth
have raised the critics’ ire.

Can you believe this pastor
who resembles Billy Graham
is rendered unacceptable
and un-American?

My God, how far we’ve fallen
from the standards You once blessed.
We’re sinking in the quicksand
of depraved unrighteousness.

Homeless at Christmastime
A familiar scenario challenges our bias

In need of shelter, food and clothes
a homeless couple nearly froze
while wandering from door to door.
They wondered if God cared.

Their plight was caused by government
that taxed them poor and stole their rent.
Each night they faced the humbling task
of looking for a bed.

Do you recognize them?
Do you know their names?

A baby fills the woman’s womb.
She knows delivery will be soon.
But what she doesn’t know is where
her labor will conclude.

Both she and her young husband find
the world is prejudice and blind
to those in need whose lot in life
is not what meets the eye.

And yet not everyone’s the same.
Unwilling to attribute shame
to these whose need can’t be denied,
an unnamed man responds.

When posed the Starbucks’ question “Room?”
he sees two faces framed by gloom
and makes the effort to make space
before the two are three.

A Call for Compassion
Remembering the homeless at the holidays (and everyday)

When darkness falls, where will he sleep?
The hill that leads to help is steep.
And since he’s weak and lacks the strength,
he makes the street his bed.

Her face is stained by sweat and tears.
Her eyes reflect unstated fears
that stalk her hopes and dreams each night
and greet her with the dawn.

Where will they go? Can help be found?
Or will they curl up on the ground
in some deserted alley way
or on a vacant bench.

The need is great. The cost quite small
when what it takes is shared by all.
And when we give to serve the least,
we benefit the most.

So when appeals come in the mail
or bells are rung beside a pail,
resist the urge to blow them off.
Remember, times are hard.

A Season of Red, Green and Amber
What the death of one child has to do with the birth of another

Adam Walsh was the first symbol
of missing children victimized
by serpent-like villains who
slither in the grass.
Predators who feed on the helpless
and devour a parent’s peace of mind.
Especially when the guilty
escape capture
or justice.

But peace of mind
has been restored to one victim’s
mother and dad
after twenty-seven
dreadfully long years

America’s Most Wanted
is wanted no longer.
In short, when the Miami “heat”
finally admitted their failure
(as well as the facts),
a cold case
was closed this week.

John and Reve Walsh
are more apt to sleep in heavenly peace
this Christmas.
Why? Because they know the name
of their son’s killer.
What is more
Ottis Toole will never kill again.
And for good reason,
that bad man is dead.

For the Walsh family,
the colors of the season
aren’t just red and green.

For them, Amber has become
just as significant.
It’s a color signaling
the sad reality that children
(like their son)
continue to be at risk.

Amber is the color
that calls to mind
why we celebrate Christmas
in the first place.

Long ago and far away
in an ancient garden
of goodness and light,
innocence was stalked
by the forces of darkness.
It was there another Adam
was defiled by deceit
and robbed of his
God-intended destiny.

Furthermore, in Eden’s Adam
we see countless others
whose disappearance and deaths
prompted a search and rescue mission
conceived in the heart of God
long before Mary conceived
a baby in her virgin womb
(or Reve conceived Adam
in love’s embrace).

It was the embryo of grace
that would (in His perfect time)
develop into
fully-formed love.

And so to our evil-prone world
God came as a helpless child
knowing all the while
He would be hunted and captured
by the powers of darkness.

And though an Amber-alert-like panic
would signal hopeless despair,.
it would only last for three days.
The One kidnapped by evil
would eventually be found alive
and would be found capable of
rescuing all who put their trust in Him.

Son of a Blagojevich

One governor’s questionable pedigree;
A Shrine to “No Belief”

Son of a Blagojevich
One governor’s questionable pedigree

That son of a Blagojevich
got caught attempting to get rich
by auctioning Barack’s old seat
down on the Senate floor. 

“Hot Rod” may soon be packed in ice
in Illinois’ Big House for vice.
What really bugs him is the law
at which he thumbs his nose. 

Old “Honest Abe” turns in his grave.
The land that bears his name is scathed
by yet another Springfield don
who smacks of Al Capone. 

Good Lord, what makes such guys go bad?
With all the crooks Chicago’s had
you’d think they’d opt to stand up tall
to prove it’s possible.

A Shrine to “No Belief”
Yet another Governor raises eyebrows

Out west in liberal Washington
the atheists think they have won.
Beside a Christmas tree there stands
a shrine to “No Belief.”

A shrine that’s just a silly sign
attesting there is no design
in history or the universe
and certainly no God.

Okay, that’s their opinion
(uninformed as it is).

But why protest a Christmas tree
alongside a nativity?
Don’t Christmas trees have pagan roots?
Aren’t creches cultural?

The White House has a Douglas Fir.
It’s what we do. Don’t you concur?
An evergreen with twinkling lights
is just America.

Our PC left-wing governor
won’t stand up to (she just ignores)
those Bozos with their Humbug ploys.
How foolish can you be?

And in despair I bowed my head.
Does Chris Gregoire think God is dead?
Or is she Ebenezer Scrooge
in need of Marley’s ghost? 

My Christmas List

What I really want this year

This Christmas finds me pondering
the things I’m hoping for.
Like boosting the economy
and finishing the war.

I hope that our new president
will take his cues from God
so he’s not swayed by what’s “PC”
though criticized as odd.

I want to help the homeless find
a decent place to sleep,
to feed them and to help them land
a job they’ll want to keep.

I wish for all who’ve lost someone
to cancer’s deadly curse
good memories of more pleasant days
before they became worse.

I long for shorter time between
those visits with my mom.
I pray she’ll live for many years
before I hear “She’s gone.”

I hope my kids will find a mate
who values what they’re worth.
I want all careless litterbugs
to care for Mother Earth.

I pray that people round the world
will search within their hearts
to find the Father’s fingerprints
in nature and the arts.

I long to see inventive minds
reduce the spread of AIDS.
I hope that new technologies
reverse mistakes we’ve made.

I have a dream that what God willed
in sending Christ to us
will be fulfilled as evidenced
by peace, goodwill and trust.

And on a much more lighter note
I want my team to win.
I want to lose a few more pounds.
A few more? How bout ten?

I wish for strength to push away
that second slice of pie
and courage to ask “What’s your name?”
when tempted to be shy.

As you can see, what’s on my list
are things I cannot buy.
But still, I think they’re possible
if, with God’s help, we try.

Bombers from the Bay

A new kind of cowboy raids the Indians

The news from Mumbai made us cry.
Upwards of two hundred died
as bombers from the bay arrived
with terror on their side.

The Taj Hotel (that city’s jewel)
became a playhouse for these fools
who look so young and innocent
though trained in terror’s school.

These cowboys of another kind
have robbed the red-dot Indians blind.
They’ve vandalized a nation’s nerves
and stole her peace of mind.

Good God, why does such bad go on?
When will the peace You promised dawn?
How many children must awake
to find their parents gone?

As Advent guides our thoughts this year
remind us, Lord, that You are near
to those who stumble in the dark
and hide because of fear.