The forgotten Christmas tree

“Many are searching for that perfect tree”

The trend these last few years during the

Christmas season, has gone in a different direction.

Several decades ago, when artificial trees were

Introduced with their blinking lights and glittering

Tinsel, people adopted a substitute for the once

Meaningful tree we displayed in our homes.

This year with COVID 19 at the center of attention, it

Seems people are reaching out with more nurturing

Ways to express their celebrations. Colorful lights are

Seen earlier than the usual time of this festive season.

Hoping to brighten our lives midst the chaos and

Confusion.

And now, instead of reaching for that dusty box

In the attic, with its bent branches and superficial

Glitter, more Christmas tree lots

Are frequented with holiday cheer and excitement,

Looking for that perfect tree, bringing it home to

Decorate with handmade ornaments, meaningful

With tradition…

Oh Christmas tree! Oh Christmas tree!

Where have you been?

For your lovely boughs and branches

Of green

We have yearned

You who once graced our homes

Have been replaced with your charm

Your grace, we have missed with your

Pleasant light

The scent of pine with its silvery fir

Lonely we have been for the advent

Wreath

Its candles shining in the night

Oh, what joy you bring of love

And hope

Crowned with Bethlehem’s star

Guiding the Wisemen

Following its light, bearing gifts

And on that midnight clear

Your star

Pointed forth the shepherds

Song

In times like this, peace on earth

We surely need

With good will to all men

In waste our world lays, waiting

For the Promised One

In amazement we gaze upon

Earth’s ministering angels

Doctors and nurses giving

Their lives

Bend their arms lifting

Those plagued with illness and grief

And as onward we travel this

weary world

Beneath its crushing load

We look to the Savior to be born

Oh Christmas tree! Oh Christmas tree!

Let us look upon that star you bear

And so we lift our songs of joy

In our homes we welcome you back!

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Ten Young Virgins

“Five Were Wise, With Lamps Trimmed And Burning”

It is so easy to get caught up in the things of this world,
Whether cares or concerns, or fear of the disasters that are
Happening. News media, shocking and alarming. Self love,
Complacency, and pride in appearance. Forgetting the important
things, to watch and pray!
****

The night had been long, dreams of

Memories, awakening with alarm.

A voice faintly whispering,

“I am too tired” then turning to the other

Side, back into slumber.

The lamp slowly burning, filling the

Room with darkness.

The first sound of the morning, the

Radio is frightening, incredibly

Sad, but that is in another country,

Nothing here could ever happen

That bad.

With the last cup of coffee, slipping

Into complacency,

Dressing in my finest attire, with

Shoes of the latest style, my hair

Neatly done and curled, I am a fashionable

Statement to present to the world.

But one thing I forgot to do, I forgot to pray!

The enemy knew that and jumped right

In, placing me in a familiar place when

I forget to pray!

****

There is a story told long ago in an

Ancient land, of a village set on a hill

The sun was setting and the shadows

Gathering, and light streaming

From the windows of a house full of

Laughter.

Ten young virgins are sewing their gowns

Of silk and lace. There is excitement in

The air as people wait for a marriage

Procession to take place.

A bride is waiting for her groom!

The night is far spent, and weary of the

Wait they all fell asleep. At midnight there is heard

A cry. Waking abruptly, smoothing

Their gowns and plating their hair, they rush

Out the door, following close behind.

Their lamps trimmed and burning, five

Were wise and five were foolish, they all

Had oil in their lamps, but as the night

Wore on, their oil ran out. Five had

Brought extra but five did not.

Running to the wise,

“Give us of your oil” but the wise replied,

“We have not enough to share”

“Go to the village and buy some there

That you may enter into the marriage

Feast”

The five returned with oil in their lamps

But the five wise had already gone into

the banquet hall and the door was shut

The five were left in darkness

The message is given –

‘Watch and pray

With your lamps trimmed and burning

For you know not the hour the Bridegroom

Will come to take home His Bride!”

Parable of ‘The Ten Virgins’
Told in the Book Of Matthew
Chapter 25

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Churning Butter

“As butter clogs the arteries, the thoughts clog the brain”

Thoughts are like churning butter

Slippery and insoluble

Incapable of being solved or

Explained

Just as confusing as deciphering

The difference between saturated

Unsaturated and trans fat

As butter clogs the arteries, the

Thoughts clog the brain

To try to understand them is in

Vain

When one thought starts churning

A state of unrest begins, agitating

With increasing speed

The centrifugal force moves away

From the center about which it

Revolves

Collecting oily globules

That resist any understanding and

Undigestible by the natural mind in

It’s rightful state

Until it forms a mind of its own

Creating two minds at war with each

Other

Why all this confusion that continues

On and on?

Until the thought is brought to mind

There is no one to blame

This is a process of its own, of which

I am powerless to explain!

“My thoughts,” says the Lord, “are not like yours, and my ways are different from yours” Isaiah 55:8

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The Twisted Train

“This was a trip I could not afford”

Sometimes when thoughts go awry, they become twisted

Forming a loop, repeating themselves over and over again.

To be forwarned is tricky, taking me on a trip with an uncertain

Destiny…

~~~~

The train whistle blew, calling all aboard

My mind said no, a ticket I could not

Afford

Not listening to what I knew

I boarded anyway

The train was red with big

Shiny teeth

Grey puffs of smoke rose from

The chimney stack

I wondered if this train would

Ever come back?

As we pulled from the depot I

Noticed a sign –

OCD ‘Twisted Train’ was its name

That should have given me a clue

As over the miles we flew

The conductor came around

I asked him where we were

Bound

When he said the destination

I quickly jumped up, that was

Not the destination I had in

Mind

I walked through the twisted

Cars, each one had a name

Fear

Doubt

Guilt

And shame

If I stayed on this train I would

Become distraught

My thoughts would set up a loop

And I could not get off

I besought the engineer “I must

Get off!”

Slamming on the brakes as I

Pulled on the cord, he asked me

Where I wanted to go and what

I was looking for

“Please sir, I have checked all

The cars and they are twisted”

“Please let me off”

He asked me if I had checked

The caboose, maybe there I would

Find what I was looking for

Walking through the cars again

I opened the door at the very

End

It was full of thoughts and I quickly

Shut the door and fled

There was no more room for

One more thought in my head

Again I pulled the cord and pled

With the engineer to let me off

Finally at the end of the route

He stopped

Quickly getting off

I sat on the bench waiting for the

Next train to take me to a peaceful

Destination, one I could afford!

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I have spent much time in my life trying to make

Myself good and right, only to find frustration and

Unrest, thinking if I only did enough, surely it wouldn’t

Be like this….

It is a gentle knock the

“He holds the keys”

Knock on my door, one

I have heard many times

Before

The door is locked

And I can’t find the keys

Lord, I am busy

Please come back

Another time

It is too dirty in here for

You to see

I sweep and dust, mop and

Clean

But the litter doesn’t get any

Better it just gets deeper

The windows are smeared

And I can’t look out

Each room is full of junk

And bursting at the seams

I could never let you in, it

Would break Your heart

To see the condition of the

House I live in

There are too many rooms

Each one I go in, hoping to find

The peace I need

There’s not even room for me

I really don’t want to leave

But if I don’t do something

I’ll lose my mind

And the knocking gets fainter

And fainter

And I keep cleaning faster and

Faster

But no matter where I go

The knock keeps knocking

Just as before

“Maybe you can knock on

Someone else’s door and

They’ll let you in”

“Have you tried my children?

I hope they would listen

But even they have forgotten

And don’t hear the knocking”

Surely I will find a room for

Him to dwell in!

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock,

If anyone hears My voice and opens

The door, I will come in unto him and

Dine with him and He with Me”

Revelation 3:20

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The Voice

“Poetry soothes the soul”

When does a poem become a poem?

A thought sprinkled in the mind, or

Written on paper?

I began writing poetry, hoping to find

Myself!

From life experiences I had become

Disconnected, not knowing which way

To go…

~~~

A Story Of Two Becoming One

I am just visiting this person within

Not too personal is my intention

Don’t get too close, or she will shut

Down

I tried it once, her feelings were

Exposed and my words were

Opposed

There is just too much distance

Between us

Once we were close and held

Each other, we laughed and cried

Together

Then a strange thing happened

We parted, really not sure why

And said goodbye and went our

Separate directions, but a little

Piece of us stuck to each other

Sometimes l get lonely for her, the

Part that escaped me, but we are

Shaped so differently, we could no

Longer fit together…

~~~

I really would like to know the way

To find the rest of myself, and then I

Heard a voice from behind, saying

“I will go before you, I will make your

Crooked paths straight, whether to

The right or left I will lead you”*

Poetry is truly a bridge between myself

And what is left of myself!

Excerpts from the poem “ The Voice”

*Promises found in God’s Word

Isaiah 30

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It is 6 AM on a Tuesday morning…

“A Cathedral Built On A Rock Of Religious Freedom”

Brisk with an early morning chill.

The last of the autumn leaves

Of New England have fallen.

The night before has been long

With anticipation.

The streets are quiet before the

Last rush of hectic voters.

This is not an ordinary morning, in

Fact it is an extraordinary morning of a

Day that will set a precedent in the

United States election.

One that will determine the direction

Our nation will go, in the course

Of events facing a people who are

Distraught with fear and distress.

A world wide illness plaguing our

Lands.

As the sun begins its circuit on the

Eastern horizon, its rays reflect a

Massive structure, doors that

Have been locked since COVID 19 are

Opened.

A Cathedral, built in just short of a

Century, on a rock of religious freedom

Welcomes all seeking silence and

Sanctuary.

A sacred place for rest and reflection.

A vigil of prayers will be said.

From morning till night, hour upon hour

Until the very last ballot is cast.

~~~

Many centuries ago there was a similar

Story of a nation suffering in infancy,

Released in freedom from a land of slavery.

A people all too familiar with plague

And pestilence, in the land of Egypt.

Only by God’s grace were they spared.

Led by a humble man

Struggling for wisdom to lead his

People to a promised land.

With a people constantly complaining

Even after miraculous provisions of water

And bread. His people are faint with thirst,

Questioning –

“Is the Lord with us or not?”

A threatening nation from a foreign land

Has sought their lives

High on a hill looking over the sea

Moses lifts his rod.

And Israel prevailed!

But when his arms became weak and

His hands heavy, with no strength of his

Own, no longer could he lift his hands

To fight.

And the enemy prevailed!

His men intent their battle be won

Placed a stone of strength beneath him

Lifting his hands until the sun went down

And the battle was won!

****

For our leaders, who fight for our nation

Becoming heavy with arms of frailty, their

Hands weak in the effort to find peace.

Searching for healing, hope and unity.

Will we as a people lift them up that

They will not despair, that

They will be steady in the wake of this great

Dispensation?

The question is asked,

“Is the Lord among us or not?”

****

“The God who watches over America

Never slumbers or sleeps”

Though kingdoms and nations will

Crumble and fall

We are assured He is in the midst of

Us all.

No matter who will win, we will

Lift them up

That they may not stumble.

Tomorrow, for one more day

The *Cathedral doors are open for

Prayer and contemplation!

*The Washington National Cathedral

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There are treasures everywhere…

They don’t always come with ribbons and bows

And sometimes we forget they are there…

“Perhaps a book on a shelf, we have forgotten?”

A couple things happened over the last weekend that I

Would like to share.

My doctor closed her practice, just a little over a year

Ago.

I called to make an appointment with another and I

Was put on a six month waiting list.

When the appointment time came, COVID appeared.

No appointments were kept, so I just thought I would

White knuckle it, surely I could make it on my own!

Now just a little over a year later, I find things are creeping

Up in a rather excessive way.

Waking up with early morning chatter, which is often

There, but much more vocal.

Numbers running through my head, there again

Usually there, but as stress increases, they escalate.

Intrusive unwanted thoughts.

Over concern with religious cares.

And children I can do nothing about.

All symptoms of OCD.

Well once again I realize, maybe it is time to

Consider the fact, this is getting out of hand.

I began googling for help and I

Came across a guest speaker on a website.

As I listened to his name, Ian Osborne, a Christian

Psychiatrist, I remember I had his book ‘Can

Christianity Cure OCD” I had received a lot of

Help, but in my struggles for more answers I had

Put it on a shelf and forgotten it. The thrust of

His message was, ‘ this illness is too painful to

Bear alone, you need to reach out and ask for help.’

Well this was message number one!

The next day I went to church and the message was

Given ‘when things are too hard, you need to reach

Out and ask for help’

Well this was message number two!

So needless to say, Monday morning, I was on the

Phone searching for a list of providers. The list

Was long, and each one I called, had either a long

Waiting list or unable to accept my insurance.

But finally coming to a name next to the last, a very nice

Counseling service came to my aide (and with no waiting list).

Hopefully I’m on my way to recovery once again!

But I need to remember –

“There is no cure for this illness, but with God

It is manageable!

I Like the promise

“Ask, and it shall be given you, search and you

Will find…for everyone that asks, receives”

Book of Matthew Chapter 7 Verse 7-8

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Good news of a Good God

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree” Martin Luther

It was a mystical happening for

A man troubled with fears and

Doubts

Growing up in a medieval era

In a German village

Centuries ago

Under fear of a vengeful god who didn’t

Care

A strict mother burdened with children

A father bent on his

Son’s success, sending him to Erfurt

A school of learning

A ‘ tender conscious’ plagued his

Mind

Fear of a lost soul forgotten

He left his home

A bolt of lightning threatened

His life

On bended knees he knelt

Promising God he would become

A monk

Viewing his cry for help, a vow he

Could never break, he sold all his

Books

From all he had known removed

His father refusing to speak

The very next day

Committing his life in confession

And prayer

Through indulgences and fasting

Long pilgrimages

Blood stained feet

From stairway penance

Each step seeking mercy and grace that he

Would be saved

But no matter what he did it was

Never enough

Wrestling into the night

For the terror he bore

Sending him into a round

Of unending works to appease a

God he could not find

But a loving God was by his side

To reveal a holy truth

That would release him from

Bondage

To declare to all, we are saved

By grace and nothing else

****

‘The Tower Experience’

Reading the scriptures looking for

Solace

On a fateful day in a

Monastery tower, Martin Luther

Opened a book to the words

‘The Just Shall Live By Faith!”

And he said –

“I felt like the portals of light

Streamed from the heavens and

I had entered through the

Gates of paradise”

A fascinating monk of

Erroneous beliefs declared to

The world these words

Releasing all from fear and

Perdition

Beginning “The Great Reformation”

On October 31, 2020 we celebrate

This monumental year over five

Hundred years ago

This is good news to all who

Struggle with a vengeful god

Those who have received a

‘Wounded conscious’ from

Unloving parents and homes

Unsafe

We are loved and saved by

A gracious God!

‘The just shall live by faith!”

*Book Of Romans Chapter 1 verse 17

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The Scarlet Cord

“A Woman Of Faith”

Her house is small, sitting

High upon the city wall

It has been a long night

As soldiers sit about campfires

Glancing at her house

Snickering and laughing

Rahab the Harlot lives here!

Dawn begins to break as

The last red glow of embers

Die to the earth

She peers out her window

Where a red rose hung the

Night before

Rising early, veiling her face

For no one must see this woman

Of disgrace

As she runs along the wall, down

The stairs into the cities’ streets

She is anxious

For she has a special errand to do

To replace this rose with a scarlet

Cord

Her form silhouetted against the

Breaking light

Clutching her meager coins

She hastens on

Over cobblestone streets into

The very heart of the city

Still asleep

The blue glow of the horizon

Gently fades in the distance

She is headed for the market

Place just before dawn

…the noise is loud, people

Selling goods, people

Praying, children crying,

Animals brawling

Quietly slipping

Through the crowds going

To market, to secure a cord

Of scarlet…

Tables laden with fruits

Pomegranates in rich red hues

Spices from the East, dates and

Raisin cakes, amongst onions

And leeks, lentils and beans

And loaves of bread, colorful

Skirts, sandals and shoes, young

Girls dancing to the fiddle and flute

But these are not what she is

Looking for

Among all of these

Wares, a simple scarlet cord is

Her desire and prayer

Tighter yet, holding her veil

Against her head, she slowly

Drifts from table to table,

Quietly bearing the shame of

Her reputation

The best threads must be

Purchased to fill this need

That she and her family may

Be spared

Threads of scarlet interwoven

With gold…

Even as a little girl,

Watching her mother do her

Trade, she had wanted

Something better

When she had become older

She had continued what had

Been handed down from

Mother to daughter

Looking down, one table

Catches her eye, there lies a

Cord, just the right one, coins

Tightly held are released and

She hurry’s back home…

The sun is rising, the sleeping

City awakens, as she passes

Worshippers climbing steps to

Strange altars, bringing food to

Appease their gods

Garlands of flowers to hang on

These idols, breads and fruits

To place by their sides…

She has never felt at ease, even

As a little girl, kneeling before

These gods with closed eyes,

Who cannot see, trying to please

Them with words and prayers

They don’t hear or answer

Arriving home, the cord is

Placed in the window, showering

Grace for those to see…

For just the night before God

Had sent His spies to capture

Her city, but the scarlet cord

She dutifully hung in her window

When soldiers passed by

Saved Rahab and

Her family

A woman of disgrace had become a

Woman of faith!

Excerpts from the book ‘The Scarlet Cord’

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