A Christmas Prayer

Acknowledging the essence of this holy day

Almighty One,
we call You Emmanuel
because of this day.

On this magical morning
(and every Christmas morning)
we attempt to wrap our minds around a mystery
that exceeds our ability to fully understand.

You, who created the world,
visited our world as
You, who made the Milky Way,
suckled human milk from a virgin’s breast.
You, who called the seven seas into existence,
cried salty tears in need of being comforted.
You, who rested on the seventh day of creation,
slept within a feeding trough filled with hay.

On this Christmas Day,
we recall the extraordinary strides You took
stepping across time and space
in order to experience life-with-us.
Laying aside Your glory,
You clothed Yourself in our skin exposing Yourself
to the sin of our making.

And after two-thousand years the sin of our making
continues to manifest itself all around us.
Having endured our human condition,
You ache with us, God.

But on those silent nights
when Your presence seems absence,
remind us that You personally relate to our plight
as we suffer in silence.

Admittedly, while we sing “Joy to the World,”
there is not much joy in our world.
Homelessness and hunger,
injustice and poverty,
abuse at home and war abroad
undermine our joy.

These chronic realities
prevent us from experiencing
the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness
our founding fathers pictured.

We deck the halls with boughs of holly,
but our hearts are draped in despair.
Unemployment is rampant.
Gun violence is unprecedented.
The political process is demoralizing.
Our personal and national debt is on the increase
while church attendance is in steady decline.

As much of our nation dreams of a White Christmas,
many of us are dreaming of a day
when the moral courage of a beloved black leader
would increasingly mark our lives.
Thank You for Nelson Mandela’s example of forgiveness,
his pursuit of justice and his championing of human rights.

Yes, today we mark the birthday of the Prince of Peace
even as the death of a peace-loving president
continues to occupy our attention.
The global grief surrounding Mandela’s passing
reminds us how a single life can alter the course of history.
Jesus did.

So did Moses,
Esther, Mohamed, Copernicus,
Luther, Lincoln, Gandhi,
Graham, King and Teresa.
And we can.

May we honor this day
with more than carol-singing,
over-eating or gift-giving.
May our presence in this world
be the gift that keeps on giving.

Silencing a Prophet

Freedom of expression under fire; A Christmas Amber Alert

Silencing a Prophet
Freedom of expression under fire.

Duck Dynasty’s big daddy
has been silenced for his faith
and for voicing words of Scripture to GQ.
He’s been labeled an extremist
and removed from A & E
for expressing what he feels God says to do.

Must a Christian duck for cover
when blindsided by the press
taking aim at what the Bible claims is true?
Has our freedom of expression
been shot down and left for dead?
Lord, have mercy! What’s a moral man to do?

A Christmas Amber Alert
Baby Jesus is missing

In this season of red and green
an Amber Alert has been issued.
A child is missing!

He’s been removed from his rightful place
and kidnapped by a culture that considers him
politically incorrect.

Sadly, not many are searching for him
amid the madness at the mall.
His absence is not on the radar of most.
Shoppers are in search of gifts.
Merchants are seeking shoppers.

Children are looking for Santa.
Public school teachers are trying to find
holiday legends and songs that celebrate a season
neutered of its essence.
Meanwhile, their principals are focused on
uncovering Christmas decorations
that (ironically) should never be allowed
out of the closet.

Atheists are on the lookout
for Christmas trees at city hall
and creches at the courthouse.
I’m actually hoping they find one
for then they will find evidence
that will point to the missing child.

Yes, that baby in the cradle…
that infant in the straw…
(that one helpless newborn
worshipped by three kings)
is the one who has been taken
and held hostage
and left for dead
by the blind who cannot see
he offers life!

“I Love Lucy!”

Not the silly comedienne, but the saint!

I love Lucy!
No, not the ditzy TV redhead.
The one I have in mind
is the kind Italian brunette
martyred for her Christian faith
and venerated by the Swedes.

Santa Lucia drained her dowry
to clothe the naked,
feed the poor
and visit those in prison
in the catacombs in Rome.

With a crown of candles on her head,
she didn’t curse the darkness.
Instead, she illuminated a dark time in history
with her example.

Reflecting the glory of her Savior,
Lucy cast a glow wherever she went
invading the night
and warming those chilled by injustice.

And on this feast day
that commemorates her death,
Lucy continues to speak to us
through the message that marked her life
and the melody that claims her name.



Bidding Goodbye to a Hero

A tribute to Nelson Mandela; A Tale of Two Pauls

Bidding Goodbye to a Hero
A tribute to Nelson Mandela

A liberator left this world
the day Mandela died!
And millions of South Africans
now mourn.
A hero has been silenced
though his legacy lives on
since his dream conceived
eventually was born.

This liberator left this world
much better than it was
the day he was unjustly sent to jail
Apartheid was dismantled
and the hopes for peace advanced
between those with dark skin
and those more pale.

A Tale of Two Pauls
Reflecting on the deaths of Paul Walker and Paul Crouch

Two famous Pauls
died the Saturday after Thanksgiving..
Paul Walker and Paul Crouch.

The former was a wealthy
“Fast and Furious” film star
who was the image of health and prosperity.
The latter was a health, wealth and prosperity televangelist
who founded the TBN cable network.

One was young.
The other twice his age.

Each had a following of viewers
that would boggle the mind.
Each influenced millions
they never personally met.
Black Friday morphed
into a Black Sabbath
as one succumbed
in the shadow of Magic Mountain
and the other died
in the shadow of Disneyland’s

The last day of November was the first day of eternity for both of them.
And while those who loved them grieve their passing,
the deaths of these two Pauls
remind us that each of us
will require a pall bearer
before we realize it.

What really matters is
being ready to face our Creator
before our fast-and-furious life
races to an end.

Thanksgiving or Thanks-getting?

Examining the essence of this holiday

Thanksgiving’s now Thanks-getting.
Once we’ve gobbled up the bird
we’ll head off to department stores
to line up with the herd.

A stampede has replaced the nap.
A family day at home
has given way to shopping sprees
while Grampa’s left alone.

Gone are the holidays we knew
of table games and fun.
“Let’s take a walk” has now evolved
to “Sorry, gotta run!”

It used to be that Macy’s
was content with a parade.
But now it seems it won’t be happy
’til it has our trade.

Thanks-getting’s getting to me.
It’s a sacrilege. It’s wrong.
It’s filling up a day with greed
where gratitude belongs.

Let’s boycott stores that undermine
the reason for this day.
Let’s hang with fam’ly, eat some pie
and take some time to pray.