‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

A prayer for peace in our divided nation

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through our land
the peace that was promised the kind that God planned
is missing in action. It’s shattered at best.
That peace lies in pieces. Our country’s a mess.

The homeless and hungry are begging for more
while addicts and crazies define a new war.
Though peace poles stand proudly, the words they convey
are hauntingly empty in the US of A.

There’s racial profiling and Hitler-like lies.
There’s mass shootings weekly and random drive-bys.
There’s terrorist plotting and demonized wills.
There’re bullies on playgrounds and Capitol Hill.

There’s sexual scandal and white collar crime
where bribing admissions finds folks doing time.
And Christians are blasted for what they believe
while atheists manage to get a reprieve.

To say “Merry Christmas” might likely offend
your colleagues at work or your secular friends.
So we are encouraged to guard what we say
and be most generic. “Have a nice holiday!”

With stars, lights and carols and trees all around,
you’d think it is Christmas but sadly I’ve found
Christ’s birth is divisive. Singing Silent Night
can put off somebody who’s looking to fight.

Joy to the World? Think again. Hold your tongue.
The prophet’s peace promised has hardly begun.
We’re a nation in darkness still longing for light.
A nation in conflict. Perpetual night.

A people divided. Impeachment and hate.
Much partisan rancor and endless debate.
Immigration, abortion and the death penalty,
same-sex unions and climate, end-of-life dignity.
The issues are endless. The fire won’t cease.
Taking aim is so easy. Do we truly want peace?

Ah, yes. We hate fighting. Fighting kills us inside.
What we truly desire is arms opened wide
to welcome the stranger. To love like we’ve been.
To offer acceptance from which friendship stems.

The names of Messiah that came with his birth
include what we long for… Shalom here on earth.
Your government, Yahweh, Your Kingdom prevail.
May You counsel with wonder. Mighty God, do it well.
Father, most everlasting cause our conflicts to cease.
Mingle mercy with justice. That’s our prayer, Prince of Peace.

Calm the storms that still threaten. Tame our tensions within
that trigger dissention ‘tween women and men.
And may warring religions that claim they are right
learn to listen and learn from rather than argue and fight.

Breathe Your Spirit upon us. Prince of Peace, Lord of Love,
warm our hearts with Your presence. Make us most mindful of
Your Kingdom of kindness. Be our Ruler and King.
Majesty, we pay homage even now as we sing…

For You alone are worthy.
For You alone are worthy.
For You alone are worthy, Christ the Lord.

The Longest Night

Reflections on grief at Christmastime

The longest night and shortest day
will steal your joy. They’ll find a way
to rob you of the long-sought peace
that Christmas promises.

The darkness that enshrouds your heart
defies the light that would impart
a glimpse of love that glows with hope
and so you shiver cold.

The twinkling light and carols fail
to free you from the prison cell
that holds you hostage in your grief.
There’s no joy in your world.

The memories of one who’s gone
help ease the hurt, but grief goes on.
And days go by as one big blur.
Your silent nights are long.

And so I pray for you, my friend,
that sorrow’s raw bone-chilling wind
would finally cease and that you’d find
the warmth of God-with-us.

Remembering a Lesser-Known Carroll

A tribute to Carroll Spinney

This Christmas, Carroll fills our hearts
with countless memories
of fifty years on Sesame Street.
America agrees.

The man who gave Big Bird his voice
(and gave the Grouch his too)
has left us through the door of death.
His much-charmed life is through.

For Carroll Spinney, kids came first.
He loved to help them learn.
And as we mourn Jim Henson’s friend,
for simpler days we yearn.

When puppets called us to pretend
on streets within our mind
and we watched with our little ones
the keys to being kind.

Yes, Carroll earned his Oscar
and he earned his Big Bird, too.
The voice whose face we rarely saw
spoke love to me and you.

Peace to his memory!


A Godwink Defined

Making sense of the coincidences of life

A Godwink is a nod from God.
An eye wink if you will.
It is His way of saying we are loved.
What appears coincidental is in fact God’s grand design.
Be assured our steps are ordered from above.

Godwinks are all around us
if we have the faith to see
how the Lord delights in leaving little hints.
It’s so fun to find alignment
in the details of our day
as we dust for where God’s left his fingerprints.

What may seem at first as random
is not happenstance at all.
It is how the Lord makes sure we notice Him.
A Godwink is intentional.
It’s part of Heaven’s plan
to recognize just where God’s hand has been.

*Dedicated to SQuire Rushnell who coined the word Godwink


Making Deposits in the Blessing Bank

A grateful heart is a great investment

Deposits in our blessing banks
are made whenever we give thanks
and gratitude compounds in time
resulting in true wealth.

By counting blessings every day,
our net worth grows along the way.
A grateful heart ignites the joy
that brightens up our world.

For when we add up all that’s good,
we focus on the things we should
and realize how blessed we are
in spite of stressful times.