In One Year and Out the Other

A New Year’s Eve prayer

In one year and out the other.
Time just always seems to fly
for the life we’re given isn’t very long.
And lest we choose to change routines,
we’ll waste God’s greatest gift.
Yes, today’s a chance to right regrets and wrongs.

In one year and out the other.
There is oh so much to grasp
for life’s Teflon-coated truths don’t always stick.
The lessons God would have us learn
(like time) can fly away.
So, today’s a chance to light a flameless wick.

In one year and out the other.
All our days turn into months.
And before long we are singing “Auld Lang Syne.”
This New Year’s Eve (like last year)
is a wake-up call of sorts.
And today’s a chance make the most of time.

In one year and out the other.
Life is fragile. It is brief.
We are closer to our death than to our birth.
Lord, please help us be deliberate
in the way we spend this year
for today’s a chance to calibrate its worth.

Operation Christmas Child

The big truth behind the little baby

It would take an operation.
Twas a life and death affair.
The problem was a terminal disease.
Adam’s offspring was infected
and there was but one known cure.
A blood transfusion was the only key.

A Child born at Christmas
long ago and far away
would provide the only antidote for sin.
Placed within a small container,
He was God’s most precious gift given
to a world infected from within.

This small Child grew to manhood
without guile, shame or guilt.
He then sacrificed his life for you and me.
And the blood He shed infuses
what alone can truly heal
so to guarantee we’ll live eternally.

Now at Christmas we send boxes
to poor children overseas
to surprise them with a picture of God’s grace.
As they hear salvation’s story
and then open up their gift,
you can see the joy of Jesus on each face.

In Praise of Christmas Carols

There’s no reason for silent nights this time of year

I love the carols that we sing. 
They bring joy to my world. 
While shepherds watched their flocks by night, 
the angels praise unfurled.

Oh little town of Bethlehem, 
you heard the first noel. 
It came upon the midnight clear. 
Its lyrics we know well.

I heard the bells one silent night. 
A holy night it was 
“What child is this?” I heard him ask.
“It’s Jesus, Santa Claus!”

The little drummer boy’s convinced.
But Mary did you know 
the holly and the ivy point 
to Christ’s birth long ago?

A Dad, a Mom and an Infant Child

A contrast in scenarios

A young couple with a baby
viewed their mission quite divine.
Who was this husband and his quiet wife?
Unlike the Holy Family
who emerged in Bethlehem
these two misguided killers lost their lives.

And they left their little baby.
How unthinkable! How cruel!
Terror’s vision is as selfish as it’s blind.
In a world beset by hatred,
ISIS chills us to the bone
as we look to ancient Scripture for a sign.

Where’s the peace the prophets promised?
Will this bloodshed ever end?
Is the message preached each Christmas just a ruse?
No! Emmanuel (God with us)
is that orphaned child’s hope
and the means by which we make sense of the news.

A Holiday Travel Alert

Lessons from Mary and Joseph’s Flight to Egypt

The warning system set in place
suggested grave concern.
A terrorist in Israel hatched a plan.
Those leaving home this time of year
would do so at great risk.
The danger posed called for a travel ban.

A dad and mom and infant son
packed for their westbound trek.
They knew they had to make their midnight flight.
Determined to avoid the threat,
they cautiously escaped
advancing in the shadows of moonlight.

That terror cell in Bethlehem
achieved its ruthless plot
exterminating children under two.
With ISIS-like precision,
Herod killed the innocent
while unaware his hoped-for target flew.

And now-as-then the travel risk
this time of year is great.
Young families have good reason for their fear.
The tyranny of terror robs their joy
and steals their peace
because they can’t be sure when death is near.

So as You guided Joseph
on his flight to Egypt land
with Mary and young Jesus in his care,
won’t You dear loving Father
please protect the ones we love
as they travel in a car, by rail or air?