Monday, December 10, 2018

Once Upon a Visit to Bethlehem...

A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas

Photo credit: slideplayer.com

A BETHLEHEM MEMORY

Israel Pilgrimage II, May 1987


O little town of Bethlehem
how still we see thee lie
from the wheat field of Boaz
one pleasant mid-spring night

A zealous band of pilgrims
tracing footsteps of The Lord –
with hearts ablaze to praise
One so worthy to be adored

We huddle at the circular
stone threshing floor for wheat
with eyes fixed on the little town
so Christmas tableau sweet

We look around for shepherds
as the sun is going down
while to the strumming of guitar
we lift the joyful sound

of our voices unto Heaven
to give our gift of song…
Every carol that we know
is offered by the throng

The evening is so glorious
we do not want to leave –
Our dinners may be getting cold
but here our spirits cleave

The darkness slowly deepens
as dim starlights appear…
twilight glows with hymn-song
while in reverie we veer

back to the old, old stories
of the night of Holy Birth
Each of us is enthralled by
this blessed bit of earth

In the distance, the townsfolk
begin to light their lights
for the routine of living
in this simply awesome site

We wonder, do they ever kneel
to kiss the hallowed ground
where they spend their everydays?
Do the amber fields resound

with ecstatic jubilation?
Do stars shoot sparks of praise
for the glorious Gift given
that precious day of days?

O little town of Bethlehem…
this night we’ll always treasure
Echoes of carols, memories
will remain forever

Pure joy overflows our hearts
for Bethlehem’s Babe, Our Lord
was born here to save sinners…
Jesus, Savior of the World!

Maude Carolan



I’ll be reading holiday poetry
with a few good friends

at The Ant Bookstore & Café
345 Clifton Avenue, Clifton, NJ
Saturday, December 15, 7 p.m.


Sr. Jane Abeln, SMIC
Pastor EJ Emerson
Maude Carolan Pych
Barbara Williams-Hubbard

COME JOIN US
for a festive evening
of poetry, music & homemade Christmas cookies!

Admission is free

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Sometimes We Need a Little Christmas...

A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas

Photo credit: phys.org


IT WAS LIKE CHRISTMAS
“Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly
lights, who does not change like shifting
shadows.” James 1:17

Perhaps it was a vision
or at least a vivid imagining…
It was like Christmas!
There was a great heap of presents
of various sizes,
gaily wrapped,
tied with streaming ribbons
and lustrous bows,
each with a gift tag
that bore my name.
Some presents
had already been opened,
wrappings strewn, white tissue awry,
others, wonderfully enticing,
were yet to be unwrapped.

In my spirit I knew
they were gifts of God,
the spiritual blessings
of my life.
The open ones
represented gifts already acquired.
Some bedazzled,
those, the granted yearnings
of the prayers of my heart,
others were blessings also
though never sought in prayer,
still others were gifts
I never wanted,
gifts I’d have preferred
to return or exchange.
In time I understood
each was perfect,
selected by the Source
of all wisdom
with me alone in mind,
loving graces
spiritually working in me
creating the me
I am becoming in Him.

I look to the future
anticipating
wondrous gifts
still unopened.

Maude Carolan



We’ve Been Invited Back
to read holiday poetry at
The Ant Bookstore & Café
Saturday, December 15, at 7 p.m.


Sr. Jane Abeln, SMIC
Pastor EJ Emerson
Maude Carolan Pych
Barbara Williams-Hubbard

COME JOIN US
for a festive evening
of poetry, music & homemade Christmas cookies!
Admission is free



Saturday, December 8, 2018

Go to a Christmas Concert...

A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas

I attended my grandchildren's
school Christmas concert
this week...

Image credit: lecheileetns.com


THE CHRISTMAS CONCERT

As a mother and a father sit with other moms and dads
in a crowded auditorium waiting for their gals and lads

to perform at the Christmas concert playing flute or sax or drum
or caroling their hearts out, parents sit smiling, rapt and mum.

It doesn’t matter if their offspring forgets some words or squeaks
parents just keep snapping photos. This is one of life’s sweet peaks!

Observing, it occurred to me, when I give God stammered praise
or fumble with lyrics of a hymn, His eyes do not get glazed.

My prayer need not be eloquent; my song need not be smooth
God’s tender eyes are watching me; there is nothing I must prove.

As each loving mom and dad adores their child’s song, off key
my Heavenly Father knows my heart. He’s pleased to hear from me!

Maude Carolan Pych


We’ve Been Invited Back
to read holiday poetry at
The Ant Bookstore & Café
Saturday, December 15, at 7 p.m.


Sr. Jane Abeln, SMIC
Pastor EJ Emerson
Maude Carolan Pych
Barbara Williams-Hubbard

COME JOIN US
for a festive evening
of poetry, music & homemade Christmas cookies!
Admission is free

Friday, December 7, 2018

It's All About The Lamb...

 A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas

Image credit: worldartsme.com









WHAT'S THIS I SEE?

What's this I see in a feeding trough?
A lamb asleep in a bed of straw
without any blemish to behold…
The Lamb deserves a crown of gold.

What's this upon crossbeams, I see?
A lamb impaled…sacrificially!
I fall to my knees before His Grace.
The Lamb looks down. I see God's face.

From blood that on the lintels be,
from cradle to cross the Lamb I see.
The whole Word holds a mystery…deep!
The Lamb is slain…Salvation reaped!

The Heavens proclaim the newborn Lamb,
only offspring of the great I AM,
Who from that humble bed of straw
became our Savior…
Let's bow in awe!


Maude Carolan


We’ve Been Invited Back
to read holiday poetry at
The Ant Bookstore & Café
Saturday, December 15, at 7 p.m.


Sr. Jane Abeln, SMIC
Pastor EJ Emerson
Maude Carolan Pych
Barbara Williams-Hubbard

COME JOIN US
for a festive evening
of poetry, music & homemade Christmas cookies!
Admission is free

Thursday, December 6, 2018

It's Cookie Baking Time...

A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas

When I was a child
my mother's best friend, Viola Fullard
would appear at our door, before Christmas
with a bakery box of the most exquisite
home-made cookies.
I always hoped she wouldn't forget us...
She never did!

Photo credit: pixelsandcrumbs.com


A NEW RECIPE

I flip through a cookbook
and select, as I sometimes do
a recipe I’ve never tried before—
a cookie, full of aromatic spices
cinnamon, nutmeg, clove
even a pinch of pepper

I stir some dark, robust molasses
and the spices into flour
butter and sugar
then roll teaspoonsful
of the thick brown batter into balls
line them neatly in rows
on cookie sheets
and slip them in the oven

Gradually the kitchen
fills with an old, familiar fragrance
I can’t immediately identify
In a few minutes, I remove a pan
from the oven, wait for the cookies to cool
then roll each one in powdered sugar
as the recipe indicates

One taste
transports me to childhood—
This is pfeffernusse!
that classic Christmas cookie
that spicy little gem I hated
the cookies that turned to rocks
clunkers at the bottom of the cookie jar

These were the cookies Mom offered
when there was no other sweet in the house
the ones that bobbed in her coffee cup
dripping as she ate them with a spoon

Today, all those mingled spices
the dash of black pepper
are pleasingly hot upon my tongue
the sweet sugar coating
the pungent aroma
are positive proof

the taste buds of my youth
have definitely
grown up

Maude Carolan Pych



We’ve Been Invited Back
to read holiday poetry at
The Ant Bookstore & Café
Saturday, December 15, at 7 p.m.


Sr. Jane Abeln, SMIC
Pastor EJ Emerson
Maude Carolan Pych
Barbara Williams-Hubbard

COME JOIN US
for a festive evening
of poetry, music & homemade Christmas cookies!
Admission is free

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

It's Hanukkah!

A-Poem-a-Day Until Christmas

When my children were young
I made a Star of David
out of popsicle sticks
and hung it on our Christmas tree
to acknowledge
our Jewish roots in Christianity.


ROOTED

I love to see a Star of David on a Christmas tree,
Reminder of our Jewish roots in Christianity...
I love to see a Hanukkiah on a churchyard lawn,
Adjacent to a manger, dimly flickering at dawn;
Am awed by the Paschal Lamb, crucified at Calvary...
Who rose victorious from the dead to set all sinners free!

I hear the Rosh Hoshanna trump forewarning with its cry,
Reminding us the Day of God is surely drawing nigh;
I marvel every Yom Kippur at graciousness of God...
Lavish with his mercy; He spares the chastening rod;
Fervently read Old Testament’s fruition in the New,
With the Messiah’s story interwoven through and through.

In Shabbat tapers I behold Yeshua, Light of World;
Before my very eyes I see God’s prophesies unfurled.
Was blessed to pray at Israel’s Wall and empty Tomb
Of our Hebrew Savior, born of the Virgin’s womb.
At Gethsemane, I have seen an ancient olive tree
And known within my spirit that one grafted branch is me.

I’m born again and spiritually circumcised of heart;
I’m blessed to be a Gentile, who’s become a part
Of Covenant promises sealed by the Blood of God...
I’ll forever praise His Name as I walk this earthly sod.

Maude Carolan


We’ve Been Invited Back

to read holiday poetry at
The Ant Bookstore & Café
Saturday, December 15, at 7 p.m.


Sr. Jane Abeln, SMIC
Pastor EJ Emerson
Maude Carolan Pych
Barbara Williams-Hubbard


COME JOIN US
for a festive evening
of poetry, music & homemade Christmas cookies!

Admission is free

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

It's Time to Set Up the Nativity...

Maude's hand-painted ceramic Nativity
made in 1965

SETTING UP THE MANGER SCENE

A few snowflakes drift in wintry air
as I carry the carton down the stairs
and unwrap the antique fragile things—
a manger, some camels and three kings.

I set them on the polished tabletop,
being careful not to chip or drop
them as I do. Sheep and shepherd men
are arranged as entering Bethlehem.

An angel, gilded, with one chipped wing
is affixed above; her place to sing.
There’s a cow and donkey, nibbling straw,
Joseph, kneeling, with a look of awe

and Mary, new at being mother
gazing adoringly at none other
than her swaddled, holy, infant Son…
Jesus, Our Savior, on day one.

As I move each figure, to its place,
I call upon God’s loving grace…
pray each who stand before my manger,
to Jesus, will never be a stranger.

May this heirloom crèche, made long ago
recall the event that sets hearts aglow.
May He be for them, as He’s been for me—

Sweet Love …for now
and through eternity.

Maude Carolan Pych


We’ve Been Invited Back
to read holiday poetry at

The Ant Bookstore & Café
Saturday, December 15, at 7 p.m.


Sr. Jane Abeln, SMIC
Pastor EJ Emerson
Maude Carolan Pych
Barbara Williams-Hubbard

COME JOIN US
for a festive evening
of poetry, music & homemade Christmas cookies!

Admission is free