Friday, December 23, 2011

It's Time to Gather Around the Creche...




I was a bride of twenty in the mid-sixties

decorating my home creatively and economically

by attending ceramic classes Tuesday evenings

in Bette Carozza's basement

We sat round the table and coffee cups

cleaning greenware, applying

underglazes and overglazes

talking girl talk all the while

We made cookie dishes and ashtrays

glossy green Christmas trees with snowy branches

fitted with tiny colored lights

We made rooster lamps, pitchers and bowls

piggy banks and tall German beer steins

The most ambitious of us

made chess pieces and Nativity figures

I began working on my Nativity set in 1965

took a few months off after Mom died

and picked up the last pieces

hot from Bette's old electric kiln

on Christmas Eve Day, 1966

How well I recall carefully cleaning

the fragile greenware with a sharp tool

till the seams were perfectly smooth

sanding and sponging tiny bumps

and filling pit holes

Wanting to be as authentic as possible

I applied three coats of sky blue to Mary's robe

and ruddy brown to Joseph's

Jesus' features were less sharp

than the other figures

having been cast from a mold

that had been poured too many times

I unknowingly made the flesh tones far too pale

for Middle Easterners

The magi and their regal camels

were embellished with accents of pure gold

and I glued tiny rhinestones

onto their gift offerings

even though it's likely

the wisemen didn't visit the Christ Child

until months after He was born

The shepherds' garb were given earth tones

and a staff was provided for one of them

fashioned from a birch twig

I dabbed white froth onto the lambs' coats

and gave the cow big brown patches

making it a Guernsey

a breed not likely to have grazed

the fields of Bethlehem

The long eared donkey was painted gray

Bette's husband, ChiChi

built a fine wooden crèche

with a place on top

to hang the golden haired angel

who flourished a banner proclaiming

"Gloria in Excelsus Deo"

I installed a music box

which played "Adeste Fidelis"

and a little light bulb

and bought a bag of sweet straw

from Woolworth's

For more than thirty-five Christmases

I've been unpacking the big cardboard box

unwrapping the fragile figures from newspaper

and displaying them throughout the season.

Some years, when the children were young

Jesus wasn't placed in the manger

until Christmas Eve

then we all sang, "Happy Birthday"

The angel now has a chipped wing

and the Guernsey's missing a horn

but Jesus still lies sweetly in His crib

apparently not minding whether or not

I managed to get every jot and tittle

of His manger scene historically correct

He just lies sweetly there

year after year

reminding us

that significant night

long, long ago

is a forever celebration

Maude Carolan

This poem was written in 2001, therefore the Nativity figures have been prominently displayed in our home for forty-five Christmases.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Introducing "It's All About...THE LAMB" Maude's quarterly inspirational poetry letter...

December 15, 2011

After God’s Own Heart Publishing presents…

Vol. 14 Issue 4

It’s All About…The Lamb


“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”  Rev 5:12 NASB

IT’S ALL ABOUT…THE LAMB is a quarterly publication for lovers of the Holy Lamb of God, who also enjoy poetry.  The purpose is to magnify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and inspire an ever-deepening relationship with Him, the lover of our souls…


In October, at the encouragement of fellow members of the North Jersey Christian Writers Group (NJCWG), I began posting inspirational poetry online, to a blog. The word blog actually means web log; it’s a type of website.

One of NJCWG’s experienced bloggers, Susan Panzica (, generously shared what she knows at an informal workshop held at a local Starbuck’s, one Saturday morning. Voila! After much trial and error and many communications with Susan, I’m creating a new blog post each week. It’s creative, fun and an up-to-date way of telling others the good news about Our Wonderful Savior.

Check it out and leave a comment. I’m hoping to draw readers and increase subscribers. Go to:


It’s that time of year…The hand-painted ceramic manger scene is prominently displayed on the old pine hutch, the Norwegian Pecan Sugar Cookies, Pfeffernuesse and Anise Biscotti are baked and stored in big red tins and I’m trying to figure out when the rest of the cookies will be baked and when there’ll be time to wrap presents. My 2011 Christmas poem, Mary & Elizabeth, has been artfully arranged on holiday paper and mailed to family and friends with much love and joy. I have Jesus on my mind…It’s Merry Christmastime!

My nearly eight year old grandson sent me his first ever email containing his very first poem, a haiku. He decorated it with clipart of Jesus, an angel and a crèche. It certainly warmed my heart. I’d like to share it with you:


Jesus is the best.

God gives us His son, Jesus.

Santa gives us gifts.

Logan Muniz
2nd grade


Ann is a long-standing member of NJCWG. She composes poetry and writes and charmingly illustrates stories for children and adolescents.

I asked Ann to provide a brief testimony. She said, "I was a secular humanist until middle-aged. Then I was led to the Lord by a very special pastor. This happened after our two teenage daughters started attending a Bible church. Concerned about that, I started attending with them, to check out the church. After many, many salvation messages, finally I believed. Now I attend an Assembly of God church in Wanaque, NJ. In addition to our daughters, we have four grandchildren in Rockland County, New York."

The title of Ann’s poem is The Christmas Deed. It tells of an unexpected act of kindness that occurred in her neighborhood during a raging snowstorm, last Christmas.

I’ll also include my new poem, Mary & Elizabeth.



Christmas day began with thunder and rain.

Then hail fell from the sky.

When a layer of ice covered the road,

a snowy mist began.

By midday, snow drifted down like feathers.

It accumulated on the ground

and clung to the westward side of trees.

All day the wind was strong.

Would-be travelers stayed home

and admired God’s great white gift.

They opened presents, feasted

and wished one another well.

As evening fell, candles flickered,

mechanical reindeer nodded their heads,

and plastic puff snowmen

lifted high their candy canes.

The temperature dropped and

the wind and snow continued.

Doors were tightly closed

and homes were warm and dry.

A young man remembered his older neighbors.

He kissed his wife and son goodnight,

went out, started the snow blower,

and crossed the road to their home.

In the dark of the night he worked almost silently,

the snow and wind covered the sound.

Face to the wind, back to the wind,

he dug out two cars and cleared a path to the doorway,

a Christmas deed done in the spirit of Christ.

He left for work the next morning at five,

and a prayer went with him from the woman across the way.

She’d pulled aside the lace curtain and seen him working.

With a grateful heart she asked God to bless his day.

Ann Crediford

© 2011


A lovely young virgin

from Nazareth, was roused

by the flapping of wings

a manshape in moonbeams

and a perplexing salutation:

Greetings, favored one!

The Lord is with you

It was Gabriel

an angel sent by God

who told Mary she would conceive

and bear a boy child, Jesus—

the Son of the Most High

He spoke of the Holy Spirit

and overshadowing

and of her relative, Elizabeth

who though barren

conceived in her old age—

for nothing is impossible with God

Awestruck, trembling

needing to tell someone

who did Mary go to first?

Her mother? Father?

How would they receive such news?

Or did she run to her betrothed, Joseph

expecting him to understand?

Oh, he wanted to understand

wanted to believe, but

it was unbelievable, preposterous

So, stunned, disappointed

feeling utterly deceived, Joseph

contemplated quietly sending her away

Then Mary remembered the angel

had spoken of her dear cousin, Elizabeth—

Is that why Mary hurried off

on a brave trek to the hills of Hebron…alone?

Of course, it had to be Elizabeth

aged, wise, expecting

and now acquainted, herself, with miracles

When Mary arrived at the home

of Zacharias and Elizabeth

Elizabeth’s unborn baby

leapt for joy! in her womb

and in a whirl of wondrous ecstasy

Elizabeth knew of Mary’s pregnancy

before being told

…then a psalm-like lilt of praise

sprang from Mary’s lips

extolling the great things

the Mighty One had done for her

Tender were the next three months

as the household awaited Elizabeth’s travail

(and the birth of John, the baptizer)

The women prepared their layettes

folded the swaddling clothes

shared their magnanimous miracles

and confided maternal aspirations

as their bellies swelled

…and I like to think

Joseph ran all the way to Hebron

one day expressly to announce

his own angelic vision in a dream—

that he was to take Mary as his wife

that they would await

the miraculous birth of Jesus—together

Maude Carolan Pych

© 2011

Dear Subscriber,

Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah!

It’s time to celebrate these glorious festivals of Light…

and have a blessed New Year…



MAUDE’S CHAPBOOKSOrdering Information:

From My Heart to Yours at Christmas…Cookies & Poems: 32 pages, $7.00*

The Widow’s Song: 47 pages, $8.00*

Mail a check made out to Maude Carolan Pych to the P.O. Box below.


Permission to forward or copy is automatic and encouraged as long as credit is given.

Comments are welcome and appreciated.

After God’s Own Heart Publishing

P.O. Box 2211, Woodland Park, NJ 07424

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thinking about the shepherds on the night of the Holy Birth...


Shepherds recline around the fire
Their long day’s work is done
The air is crisp, the sky is clear
they watch the setting sun

The sheep that grazed the fields by day
now safely sleep nearby
Men each take night-watch turns
to watch for wolves and foxes, sly

They eat some fish, some barley bread
drink water from the well
draw woolen blankets ‘round them, snug
they laugh and stories tell                           

Suddenly the calm is stirred
by singing in the sky
The shepherds lift their drowsy heads
What’s happening and why?

They can’t believe their ears and eyes
for what they hear and see…
a throng of shining faces, wings
snow white and fluttery!

The rugged shepherds tremble
The angels chant, “Do not fear…
We bring you tidings of great joy
all people need to hear

For unto you is born this day
in little Bethlehem
swaddled in a manger, Christ
The Savior of all men!

Glory to God in the highest!”
sweet angel voices sing
“Peace on earth, goodwill to men”
They proclaim the newborn King!     

As the angels take their leave
the men vow in the morn
they’ll go to Bethlehem and seek
The Christ, the newly born

So with the rising of the sun
each with his staff and rod
the shepherds with their sheep set off…
Their quest, the Lamb of God

Arriving at the humble place
the angels sang about
they enter with resounding praise
and hallelujah shouts!

As the shepherds kneel, adoring
a spotless wooly lamb
approaches the lowly manger
and gently nuzzles the I Am

Maude Carolan Pych

This is another selection from my little Christmas chapbook, From My Heart to Yours at Christmas…Cookies & Poems.