The Fragile Fabric We Call Families

How holidays stretch what’s easily torn; A New Year Dawns

The Fragile Fabric We Call Families
How holidays stretch what’s easily torn


Seems you can’t live with them
but neither can you live without them.

Families are a complicated composite
of imperfect characters
each with their own
and nightmares.

All the same
our families provide us
with a security blanket of unconditional love,
a homemade comforter of longed-for warmth
and a patchwork quilt of shared memories.

Yet at this time of the year
that fragile fabric can rip or fray
if not handled carefully.
It can be stretched by the stresses of the season
or stained by the blood, sweat and tears
associated with realistic gatherings
and unrealistic expectations.

Familes are God’s priceless treasure
we dare not take for granted.
They are a frabric we must handle with care
and handle with prayer.
(And gratefully,
grace is the stain remover
that takes away the water spots).

A New Year Dawns
Lyrics of hope for 2012

A new year dawns
and with it light to see
a new horizon
of what’s yet to be.
Redemption of
our flawed humanity.
Al-le-lu-ia. Al-le-lu-ia.

A new year grants
permission to be brave
as we move on from
stress’s greedy grave.
From buried dreams
and littered paths unpaved
Al-le-lu-ia. Al-le-lu-ia.

A new year means
the chance to start again.
To grant forgiveness
and to make amends.
To risk departing
from what’s always been.
Al-le-lu-ia. Al-le-lu-ia.

A new year now
invites us to look up
and drink new wine
from faith’s most ancient cup.
Let’s toast the One
whose grace is quite enough..
Al-le-lu-ia. Al-le-lu-ia.

* can be sung to the hymn tune “For All the Saints”

A Christmas Dilemma

Where will you spend the morning of December 25th?; A Baby’s First Christmas

A Christmas Dilemma
Where will you spend the morning of December 25th?

So with Christmas on a Sunday
you will have a choice to make.
Will you go to church or will you stay at home?
It’s a choice we’re rarely given.
and it’s one that’s really hard
(unless, of course, you’ll spend the day alone).

Some might say, “It’s Jesus’ Birthday!
There’s no question what do.
He’s deserving of your presence and your time.
The best gift that you can give Him
is to make sure you’re at church.
Not to be there on His birthday is a crime!”

But, then others aren’t so calloused.
“Christmas mornings are for home.
After all you’ll be at church on Christmas Eve.
Wasn’t Jesus born to free you
from religion’s ball-and-chain?
Isn’t legalism one of His pet peeves?”

So you see, it’s quite confusing.
You can make a case for each.
Starting Christmas Day at church or ’round the tree.
And I’m guessing He (whose birthday
is the reason for the gifts)
is content to leave the choice with you and me.

A Baby’s First Christmas
It really is a gift from God

A baby’s first Christmas
brings joy to the world
of the little one’s mother and dad.
And though far from silent,
the nights are a gift
as they cradle what makes their hearts glad.

Much like Mary and Joseph
they ponder God’s love
packaged up in an infant so small.
And with firsthand perception
they picture that birth
that took place in a Bethlehem stall.

Yes, a baby’s first Christmas
is really a gift
for it gives brand-new parents a key
to unlocking the joy
and the wonder that’s found
in the truth “God became just like me!”

God, Bless Us Everyone!

Tim Tebow’s after-touchdown prayer; Longing for a Long-ago Christmas

God, Bless Us Everyone!
Tim Tebow’s after-touchdown prayer

It’s Christmastime in Denver town
and Tebow’s brought the gifts.
He’s won six straight and wowed his fans
by giving them a lift.

But Tiny Tim’s been criticized
by Scrooges who defame
his prayerful after-touchdown pose
as pious or as lame.

They claim his faith is just a crutch
that proves the kid is weak.
But they can’t fully understand
the goal Tim daily seeks.

There’s more than end zones on his mind.
For him there’s so much more.
His bottom line is pleasing Christ
not just the final score.

And so Tim prays with gratitude
just like Bob Cratchit’s son.
He prays God will be glorified.
“God, bless us everyone!”

Longing for a Long-ago Christmas
Remembering a much simpler and Christ-honoring season

A hometown scene, a horse-drawn sleigh
and memories of another day.
The sound of church bells on the hill
and skaters on the pond.

A Christmas tree lit on the square
and wreaths abounding everywhere.
The crunch of snow beneath your feet
and sounds of southbound geese.

The street lamps beam a brilliant light
as dusk gives way to winter’s night
and in the distance carolers
begin their serenade.

I long for such simplicity
when Jesus Christ’s nativity
was recognized as what alone
assures joy for our world.

How “Words With Friends” Became Words with Enemies

Alec, do you know how to spell C-O-M-P-L-I-A-N-C-E?

Like Alec, I like “Words with Friends.”
It’s Scrabble on-the-run.
With letter-luck and strategy,
this game is loads of fun.

But “Words with Friends” on Alec’s plane
became a war of words.
When told to turn his i-Phone off,
he acted most absurd.

Ignoring pre-flight courtesies,
the actor became crude
which spelled big trouble for A.B.
resulting in a feud.*

His mouth played words I cannot print
(not minding Qs and Ps).
It seems that “Words with Friends” gave way
to “words with enemies.”

But life’s too short to pick a fight.
Can’t we just get along?
Let’s heed the peace and goodwill words
within our Christmas songs.

My Favorite Gifts at Christmastime

They’re not what you might think!

My favorite gifts at Christmastime
aren’t from expensive stores.
They’re cards and letters that arrive
each day at my front door.

These tiny gifts are works of art,
quite bright and colorful.
They warm my heart on dark, cold days
when skies are gray and dull.

Each card reminds me I am rich
with friends and family.
Each calls to mind our treasured ties
and priceless memories.

Some cards contain a photograph
of how the kids have grown
attesting to the speed of life
and how the years have flown.

Some tell me of a parent’s death
or of a grandchild’s birth,
while some describe a brand-new job
and renewed sense of worth.

Some cards announce an address change.
Some voice a prayer request
acknowledging what steals their joy
or ties them up with stress.

Some jot a note. Some type (a lot).
Some simply sign their name.
And while some cards are duplicates,
no two are quite the same.

Each one’s a chance to reconnect
with those I rarely see.
A one-way chat with one whose card
conveys they thought of me.

And I of them. I’ll write them back.
Though postage isn’t cheap,
the custom of exchanging cards
is one I plan to keep.

* Another reason to send actual cards at Christmas time (rather than just e-mailing family greetings) is to help our struggling United States Postal Service.