Saturday, December 16, 2017

Wisemen Came From Afar...

Until Christmas

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Cosmic wonders, whats and whys
whirl in the East
as a singular mysterious luminary
beckons in the heavens
Is it brighter than the other stars?
Does it pulsate? Does it bounce?
Does it shoot across the sky
like a flame-tailed comet?
Does its lustrous splendor
rival the glow of the moon?

Gentile magi who study stars and Scripture
see it and curiously mount their camels
to follow it across the desert. But, why?
They say they are seeking
the King of the Jews. Why would they?
They say they want to worship Him
Why Him?
What do they know that the High Priest
the Pharisees, Sadducees
and all the Jews of Jerusalem
who are awaiting the coming of Messiah
do not comprehend?

King Herod summons them, diabolically
Feigns sincere interest in their mission
urges them to return with details
so he, too, may worship the King
A sinister plot forms in his evil mind
for even he knows…
there is something about that star…

Continuing on
the irresistible starlight shines ahead
until it shimmers above a humble house
in the village of Bethlehem
It stops, still…absolutely still
The magi realize they are at
destiny's door
They knock
and are welcomed, when

their eyes behold
a Boy Child
and their hearts leap!!!

and whether it makes sense or not
(whether any of this makes sense or not)
the magi, in rich array
fall prostrate
on the earthen floor
and fill the little house
with hallelujahs!!!

They draw from their saddlebags, treasures…
          Gold…for surely this little family can use it
          Myrrh…fragrant foreshadow of suffering
          Frankincense…for a sensing in the depths
          of their God-given wisdom
          of a significant anointing
          somewhere in time

Mission complete
the gift bearers mount their camels
and still attentive to God's spirit
(this time in a dream)
do not return to Herod

The magi…
diligent seekers who found
infinitely more valuable
than the precious gifts they bore

Maude Carolan Pych

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Poem About Angels...

Until Christmas

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As Zacharias tends
the temple altar of incense
there’s a sudden swirl
of fragrance and smoke
Lo! A resplendent angel
appears before his very eyes—

It is Gabriel
who stands in the presence of God

The winged one startles the old priest
by proclaiming—

Your wife, Elizabeth, will bear a son…
He will be the forerunner of Messiah

Astonished at the announcement
(for his wife is advanced in years)
Zacharias dares question
God’s messenger
and is duly struck dumb—

and will not utter another word
until the Heavenly proclamation
comes to pass

As grey-haired Elizabeth blossoms
with approaching motherhood
Gabriel alights again
all wings and gleam and glory
in a visit to Mary, a Nazarene maiden
He foretells that she, too, will be with child—
chosen to be the virgin mother
of the Holy Son of God—

Breathless, Mary runs
to Joseph, her betrothed
eager to tell of the angelic visitation
and Gabriel’s marvelous word to her

but it is too much for him to comprehend—
Feeling deceived and disheartened
he considers ending their engagement

until one night, while tossing in sleep
an angel of the Lord appears in a dream
to assure him
Mary is indeed pure and righteous—
miraculously overshadowed
by the Holy Spirit of God

so Joseph marries her
and together they await the coming
of The Savior of the World

and when that wondrous event occurs
a multitude of angels fill the Heavenlies
with most glorious splendors
The Bethlehem night becomes brilliant
startling lowly shepherds
reclining in fields with their flocks

and all the beautiful celestial beings
with wings and robes and gladness
proclaim good news of great joy
for all people:

Glory to God in the Highest—
Jesus, The Messiah, is born!

Maude Carolan Pych

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Poem About the Shepherds

Until Christmas

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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

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Mary, in the Last Trimester...

Until Christmas

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Sitting quietly in the dim glow of an oil lamp
trying to get comfortable
in the sturdy wooden arm chair
made by her carpenter husband
Mary rests both hands
upon her taut, round stomach
and smiles at the gentle rumbling within—
The Son of God in utero

Although this is centuries before sonograms
Mary knows her babe is a boy child
and that they are to name Him Jesus—
for an angel told her so

Young and bewildered, she wonders
what her holy Son will look like and be like
if he’ll want to work with wood
She wonders about the cosmic plan
set in motion by her “yes”
and how a savior saves

She dares not dwell too deeply
upon what lies ahead
and why so lowly a maiden as she
would be highly favored
by the Lord her God

but she trusts Him
…and she’s obedient

Joseph is a good man—
She watches as he sands smoothly
the fine cradle he is building
and appreciates that he stands by her
shielding her from questions, innuendos
finger-pointers and gossip mongers

Their donkey is tied outside
the humble dwelling in Nazareth
She hears it braying and nuzzling at the door

It’ll go with them tomorrow
on their journey to Bethlehem
where they must register
for the census

She sighs, thinking of the long
arduous journey
especially in her condition

Well, I’d better get some rest

she tells Joseph
as she rises awkwardly from the chair
and carries the lamp closer
to where her husband is working

I’ve packed a bundle of swaddling clothes
…just in case

Maude Carolan Pych

Holiday Poetry & Music Event
Saturday, December 16, 7 p.m.
at the Ant Bookstore & Cafe
345 Clifton Avenue, Clifton, N.J.

Some of us, a year ago, at the Ant

Featuring Poets & Musicians

I've been invited back for the 4th year in a row
to read holiday poetry at the Ant
and will be joined again by poet/friends
Rev. E.J. Emerson &
Sister Jane Abeln, SMIC

Joining us, this year will be
Barbara Williams-Hubbard:
Barbara Williams-Hubbard

Holiday Music will be provided again
by Victoria Warne & friends

and Christmas cookiesand holiday spirit will be plentiful!

I plan to read a Christmas poem from my new book, "Wonderhoods"
during the event.

All are Welcome
Admission is Free
Come join in the festivities!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I'm a Grafted Branch of the Olive Tree

Until Christmas

A Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate
the Jewish Festival of Lights...


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

Monday, December 11, 2017

Some Celebrate Both...

Until Christmas

Hanukkah begins at sundown tomorrow...

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It’s the Season of Lights…We delight in the glow
of Christmas and Hanukkah; the stories we know
of God’s awesome miracles, deliverance and Birth
to show His great Love for all people on Earth.

Alongside our manger there stands a menorah;
we sing Joy to the World and then dance the Hora,
ignite the nine lamps and hang a wreath on the door,
tell of brave Maccabees, the virgin birth and more.

We worship with believers, Gentiles and Jews,
we recite the Shema and share the Good News,
read Old Covenant prophesies from A to Z
like the Gospel revealed in Isaiah Fifty-three!

Our Messiah is Jesus; Yeshua, some say—
He’s the Light of the World; our great hope for today!
We praise Him, adore Him, we’re blessed to impart:
His fire burns brightly in our circumcised hearts!

We believe He was born to save us from sin,
that He died and was buried then rose up again.
By Blood He has saved us, our Atonement, He Is!
By His Resurrection, we’ll live for He Lives!

We are Olive Tree branches, Gentile and Jew—
united in Messiah…and all Born Anew!

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, December 10, 2017

O Little Town of Bethlehem...

Until Christmas

The following is one of my earliest poems of praise
written following a pilgrimage to Israel.
It was the first poem that I mailed to friends and family
in lieu of Christmas cards--
It marked the beginning of a Christmas tradition
that has spanned 30 years.

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Israel Pilgrimage II, May 1987

O little town of Bethlehem
how still we see thee lie
from the wheat field of Boaz
this 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

Saturday, December 9, 2017

It's Time to Open Presents...

Until Christmas

Photo credit:

“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
wondrous gifts
still unopened.

Maude Carolan