A Toast for a Newborn Year

Cradling hope in our arms

The old year’s passed. Another’s born.
But lest we grieve what’s gone and mourn,
let’s hold the baby to our heart
and dream of what’s in store.

Let’s contemplate what lies ahead
acknowledging the past is dead
without fixating on regrets
or paralyzed by guilt.

The birth of what we now embrace
is diapered in God’s boundless grace.
Within the face of this new year
the gaze of hope is seen.

Here’s to a new year just begun
that first will crawl, take steps, then run.
This brand new baby represents
all that the Lord intends.

‘Twas the Day After Christmas

Pondering the true meaning of the holiday; Angel Song

‘Twas the Day After Christmas
Pondering the true meaning of the holiday

‘Twas the day after Christmas.
The inlaws had gone.
And out on the curb was the trash.
I pondered the piles
of crumpled debris
that cost me a mountain of cash.
The kids were complaining
about broken toys.
My wife had a throbbing migraine
and there in my bathrobe
I stood like a Scrooge,
ashamed of the five pounds I’d gained.
We loaded up gifts
to return to the store.
Aunt Ethel still thinks I wear small.
The Wii game’s the wrong one.
The perfume’s not right.
And so we were off to the mall.
The crowds were disgusting.
The chaos unreal.
In spite of the Muzak that played,
my world was quite joyless.
The angels were mute.
And in the return line I prayed…
“Dear God, please remind me
your Son’s special day
has little to do with this stuff.
Don’t let me forget
that His presence means most.
The gift of Your grace is enough!”

Angel Song
A melody of grace

The lyrics of Christmas
began in God’s heart
while its music found voice
on the strings
of a harp.

With the beauty of Handel,
of Mozart and Bach,
the songs of the season
inspire less talk.

So, let’s ponder
the “good news of great joy”
we hear
that points to the fact
in Christ’s birth
God comes near.

Time’s Man, Facebook’s Face

A poetic profile of Mark Zuckerberg;
Yes, Virginia, There’s a God

Time’s Man, Facebook’s Face
A poetic profile of Mark Zuckerberg

The face of Facebook is on Time
and thus the subject of this rhyme.
The status of Mark Zuckerberg
is clear for all to see.

But not his skin. He’s twenty-six.
His baby-face contends with zits.
Time’s man for this year is a kid,
but smart. I kid you not.

His profile page speaks for itself
with education, fame and wealth.
This prodigy may seem a nerd,
but he has countless friends.

Mark’s made his mark (and billions too)
and made it fun for me and you
to reconnect with long-lost chums
we haven’t seen in years.

And yet I wonder, Mr. Z,
in spite of your celebrity
(behind those eyes that rarely blink)
are you alive to life?

Yes, Virginia, There’s a God
Affirming the Almighty’s Existence at Christmas

Yes, Virginia, there’s a God.
Ask Utah. She believes.
But Washington and Oregon?
They aren’t so sure it seems.

In the Bible Belt belief’s a cinch.
In New England self is king.
Where pilgrims landed faith is rare.
Reason’s the main thing.

But reason bows to mystery.
It must. We aren’t that smart.
Dear Lord, Your ways defy our grasp.
We sing “How Great Thou Art.”

We also sing “Joy to the World”
because You sent Your Son.
That silent night so long ago
Your greatest work was done.

Joy to Her World!

A posthumous Christmas wish for Elizabeth Edwards;
Waiting for Easter at Christmastime

Joy to Her World!
A posthumous Christmas wish for Elizabeth Edwards

Joy to your world, Elizabeth.
Though peace on earth seemed but a myth,
I pray your final silent nights
brought some comfort and joy.

With chestnuts roasting on the fire,
I hope your one lasting desire
expressed itself in wordless looks
at loved ones gathered near.

As carols played within your home,
did you see the Christ upon His throne?
And in the bleak midwinter
did you find Immanuel?

God rest you merry, ‘lizabeth.
I pray that with your final breath
you could release regrets and hurts
that suffocated joy.

May bells we hear on Christmas Day
remind us that God made a way
to angels we have heard on high
when we face death down here.

Waiting for Easter at Christmastime
The plight of A.L.S. victims

It’s criminal. It’s thievery.
He’s bound and gagged unmercifully.
A friend of mine has been kidnapped
by his most heinous foe.

His dignity has been hijacked
as he lies helpless on his back
dependent on his family
for all his earthly needs.

It’s death by inches and so cruel.
The victim has no strength to duel.
He’s vandalized with no recourse.
He helplessly succumbs.

Yes, ALS is robbing life
from one whose nurse is his dear wife
and while he waits for Christmas Eve,
Marc dreams of Easter Day.
* Dedicated to The Reverend Marc Pearson of Poulsbo, WA (my friend and colleague in ministry) and to his loving wife Carol.

Baristas are Bartenders Too?

Questioning Starbucks decision to serve beer and wine;
The Toughest Loss of All

Baristas are Bartenders Too
Questioning Starbucks decision to serve beer and wine

A grande white. A venti red.
Not Pike Place Roast, but wine instead.
The Starbucks that helps wake me up
can help me chill at night.

You may think I am full of beans.
But even though it seems extreme
crushed grapes and grain have found their way
into the mermaid’s cup.

Baristas are bartenders, too.
To caffeine add fermented brew.
St. Arbucks loves his beer and wine
as well as passion tea.

I’m still not quite sure what to think.
Should Starbucks mix its daily drinks?
In Cana water turned to wine.
I’m not sure coffee should.

The Toughest Loss of All
Remembering the Old Cub

The Cubbies lost a lot this year,
but this loss hurts the most.
Without Ron Santo in our lives
we’ve lost our claim to boast

that even when the Cubs don’t win
they never really lose
because of what that fellow says
who sits next to Pat Hughes.

That grownup who remained a kid
made every game worthwhile.
Ron’s candid groans and uncorked cheers
refreshed just like Old Style.

His raspy voice betrayed his love
for Wrigley’s field of dreams.
Ron’s Northside pride grew year by year
and nearly burst its seams.

He lost his legs, but found the will
to stand up brave and strong.
And every seventh inning stretch,
he still could sing the song.

Ron modeled persevering grace
in life and in the game.
He found the means to look beyond
a locked-up Hall of Fame.

We’ll miss the saint who played third base
who now has slid-in home.
“Cubs win!” thanks to Ron’s legacy.
His number stands alone.