One summer eve in Galilee
I stood before my open door;
To me it seemed just one more night--
Like all the others gone before.
Someone would come and, passing by,
Would hear the tinkling of the bells,
Would see the garish harlot's robe
And painted eyes beneath my veil.
Someone, a man like all the rest--
It did not matter much to me--
A nobleman, Samaritan,
A Roman or a Pharisee,
Someone would pause and with one glance
Strip me again of maiden pride,
And leaving, later, never know
The shame and shattered dreams I hide.
O, he would think me very gay;
He would not see my hollow heart
Nor hear me curse him for his pay.
T was then I saw a band of men
Approaching down the narrow road;
There should be one among that crowd
Who wants the favors I bestow.
Kind eyes met mine, and with one look,
He saw what others could not see;
He saw the hunger of my soul,
My loneliness and misery.
I only know that since that day
I live to walk along with Him.
His look of love has changed my life;
I need not sell my love again.
Tonight He sups at Simon's house__
All day the dusty paths we roamed;
But, still he waits, unwashed, unkissed;
Small courtesies no one has shown.
My love for Him! It rolls and swells
Till from His side I cannot stay;
I'll wash His feet with tears of love
And with my hair wipe them away.
A little girl lost her home this year, for her, Christmas wouldn't be there.
Her family was angry from all the troubles, they simply couldn't repair.
Don’t bother us about presents her parents said, they were depressed by their fate.
With bitterness they said, you’d be lucky to have dinner tonight, or even a plate.
Life was harsh, nowhere to go, anger and fear had put their souls, in a terrible place.
The little girl had found no hope or joy, lurking near their old car, of late.
The car was their home, gas money was scarce, and with few places they could park.
Yes, their troubles had slowly extinguished, that precious hopeful spark.
Without that spark, they’d never find their way, from this terrible place of cold and dark.
And life’s darkness grew deeper nightly, as hope vanished under a reality so stark.
Even the very fiber of her family, seemed to be shattering slowly, slowly, apart.
The child felt alone here in this dark car, as sadness tried to engulf her little girls heart.
The future seemed filled with hopelessness, as shame and dread, were leaving their mark.
Embarrassment to be seen and turned away, made it hard for them to reach out, to restart.
But life goes on, and we can’t fear to rebuild, or the future will be hard to impart.
The girl suddenly declared there’s more to life, and she wouldn't let it conquer her heart.
She decided triumphs will come, and all will get better, if she held to that hopeful spark.
Seeing the desolation and anger here, she couldn't stay around, she had to get away…
So she climbed out of the car, and she walked into town, not so very far to stray.
She went and looked at the store windows, where Christmas was being displayed.
The music and people filled her heart, lifting her spirits, deep inside, that day.
She noticed a store, way down at the end of the row, on the next block, where it lay.
No one was there, it seemed lonely, and the darkness was again, spreading it’s decay.
She ran there in time to see an old man closing up, with sadness on his face betrayed.
What use were his goods, if no one would shop, or come down along his way?
The super store down the block, was daily making him lose more and more in the fray.
He could no longer afford to hire people, and the season had very little time, to stay.
As they talked the girl saw that she couldn't let the darkness take another, so she prayed.
Then she told the old man, if he’d open the shop, she’d bring customers down his way.
She added, she’d find reasonable workers, if her family could live upstairs, she portrayed.
First bring the customers, he said, and the rest will be yours little friend, he conveyed.
She had him put his best toys, as a contest prize, and to add lots of lights on the display.
He set a contest, “Winners-the best collectors for families in need” on Christmas Eve.
He put out a bright contest sign, but still nobody came to his end of the block, to survey.
So she had him call the Salvation Army, for a kettle, Bell ringer, and Carolers, who came
Lickety split, their way.
Then she had him call a dear old friend, and farmer, to bring a tractor full of bails of hay.
Another volunteered his horse and sleigh, both, to see the city lights thru New Years Day.
This was a great idea, since the older drivers, could use the help, for their bills to pay.
The girl ran all over spreading the excitement, and to come see the prizes, his way.
The families suddenly started heading toward his door, and to those wondrous rides.
At that moment her parents came, and she explained what her hope, had improvised.
Her father talked a contractor into building a disabled family a home, to help advertise.
He could get a tax break; come to this store for supplies, and hire unemployed workers, he devised, so wise.
In the end, each night grew brighter, because of a girls hope, and heart-warming delight.
And the old man began smiling for the first time, in a long, long, time, starting that night.
All was saved, a home was found, and another built, as a sad little girl taught grownups to smile along the way…
You might say, A Spark of Hope lit a candle, then a raging fire, which was burning bright by Christmas day.
The moral to my story is:
Never give up on Hope; it’s your best friend, as life brings its troubles your way…
Know that with time, a good heart, good will, and friendly ways…
You can find God’s gifts again, if you don’t let the dark take you away…
I was sitting in the crowded train station with time to waste, waiting on the train to take me home on Christmas Eve. A very pretty, young lady, carrying a full backpack headed for one of the only open seats across the aisle from me next to a rather dirty and disheveled older man.
As she removed her backpack to sit down he glared up at her; she smiled a beautiful bright smile and said to him, “Merry Christmas”.
“I don’t celebrate Christmas”, he barked up at her.
“Yeah? Well, that doesn’t mean you can’t be happy on the day that I celebrate Christmas. And I hope the day is merry for you as well.”
“What is there to be merry about”, he moaned, “A bunch of hypocritical religious zealots pretending to be nice to one another while the world goes to hell in a hand basket.”
“Well, at least for that one day, most of us believe the hypocrisy, and even for just a few hours, we practice the morals that our religion tries to instill in us. At least on that one day, for us religious zealots, there is a glimmer of hope that we can save the world from going to hell and, I, for one, believe that is reason to be merry.”
“Terrific! And, what does that get me,” he whimpered.
“Well, what you get is this one time of year, when a twenty-two year old college girl is not afraid to sit next to you; smile at you; and, wish you a Merry Christmas. And, if you just say, ‘Thank you’ and ‘Merry Christmas’ back to her, she just may give you the biggest and best kiss you have ever experienced.”
She stood back up and started to put her backpack back on as he simply stared up at her. Once she was situated and ready to move on towards her train, she stopped; smiled at him again; and, said, “Merry Christmas.”
It seems I was not the only stranger that was witnessing this exchange. All of those around me were perched on the edge of their seats waiting to see what might happen. The old man cracked a little smile. A glimmer came to his eyes, and he said, “Thank you. And, Merry Christmas to you, too.”
The girl leaned down and planted a kiss right on his lips for what seemed like ten minutes. Smiles lit up the faces of all the men, women and children watching this take place. When the girl finally pulled back, the old man was frozen in place with a big ole smile on his face. She adjusted her backpack and started heading towards the tracks. All the men she passed on her way who witnessed this exchange anxiously yelled, “Merry Christmas” as she passed, hoping for a kiss as well.
I looked back at the old man who was still in a dream. Suddenly he caught me looking at him and barked, “What are you staring at?”
I just shook my head back and forth and said, “Merry Christmas”.
“Yeah! Well Merry Christmas to you, too” he shouted.
The warm light calls me
And all the people who cries for thee
I raise my hand in this abyss
Only to make one wish
To float among the others
With all my sisters and brothers
I call out for forgiveness with passion
I take their pain into myself for this occasion
The moment that I see the sky
I will not look back and cry
My body is laying still
People standing by it with a chill
The air gets dense with sadness
I would not think of it less
Some people look up and down
To see the light hit the ground
Some can vision the uplifting feeling they see
One soul that has been and always be
It is special to notice such aberration
And that might be how souls are awaken
I stare back at my fears
Telling them that I am now adequate
I am now stronger than they are
I fear no more
I am now like little David with a sling going against the mighty Goliath
I fear no more, for my fears are not real
I am now powerful and greater
For my father in heaven protects me
I fear not, for I am his son
He called me and I answered
Now I dance with rejoice
That I am whole again and not inadequate
I fear not, for he is with me
I am mightier and he carries me on his shoulder
Enemies turned into friends
For his plans I will follow
He fights for me and faithful I will remain
As floods, strong winds try to stir fear
I will call on his name for protection
When I can take it anymore
I will kneel down and pray
For he will fight all the fear
I fear no more,
For he is with me and he will continue to bless and protect me
I am adequate now because of him
Written by Tawona Ranganawa
As naturally and effortlessly as birds fly
Unannounced and quietly an Idea came by
Faster than the weightless wind it flew
Where it came from no one asked, no one knew
Longing for a cloak in which to be wrapped
It knocked on many doors asking to be dressed
It wished to be given a shape and form for all to see
It wanted an existence, and in this world a chance to be
The farmer was farming, the worker busy working
The judge was judging, the thief in the shadows lurking
The preacher was of the invisible kingdom preaching
The poet alone with his heart and soul for the Idea reaching
It seized him and became the fire in his veins
The beating in his heart, the throbbing in his brain
It became the movement of his arms and legs
He asked for the right words like a beggar for food begs
The Idea through the flesh was about to be born
The invisible by the visible longed to be worn
Like newlyweds neither knew too well the other
They had to unite: each’d be both father and mother
Now the idea took control and led the poet’s pen
Then It was overpowered by the brutish man
Now he’d try to bend It, to suit his words, to shape It
Then It bent him so that into each other they’d fit
He wished to be a channel for the Idea he sensed
It had a burning desire, a purpose to be expressed
When possessing parts of both the work was done
An idea of the Idea was born - a battle both lost and won
That curious Roman official
named "Lentulus" with foresight recorded
his description of a Man controversial.
And His name too, for prosperity accorded
That Man who the Roman so aspired
was named Jesus, that Man of Awe,
And Lentulus was one of few who desired
that Man Jesus to portray and hence to annals store.
So wont was Lentulus to see and hear
what that Man Jesus preached and said,
That he followed Him for a while, everywhere,
So that the verity of his narration could by all be read,
Then went on to relate what he saw,
A Man of serene composture who courtly stood
and how His prescence the crowds would draw
and hungered the more on the words that inspired good.
Of average height, just on fifteen and a half fists tall
His nut-brown hair smoothed down at the side
forming soft flowing curls, that did fall
to below His shoulders with luxuriant pride,
His beard boasted long and full, the same colour of His hair,
Both His hair and beard neatly parted the middle down,
As with the way that all of Nazarines share,
And on a reddish face not a wrinkle, spot or frown.
His eyes wide set with an unusual capacity for expression
coloured blue-grey, exuding a sadness from within,
Yet cheerful of countenance with seriousness held in remission,
Sometimes seen to weep, not ever to laugh or sing,
Though His feet were bare, He stood regally composed
He lived in troubled times with much woe abound,
For there were those around, who would oppose
Him for the freedom and peace His voice did sound.
Now through what Lentulus and others alike, did relay,
Artists and painters centuries ago, with care
did Jesus to canvas, with dilligence portray,
And His likeness to the world's peoples share,
So that His teachings now so revered
became all the more potent with vision aglared,
For His words of enlightenment can so astound,
But just in His Prescence alone can the Spirit abound.
Inspired by a close friend to remind me to keep holding on to hope as I pass it along.
Focus on the Good
To keep your focus
Only on the good
Doesn't come as easy
As it seems it would
All the daily hectic-ness
With those ups and downs
Brings the woe and worry
That tries to chase you down
It is like being trapped
In a wilderness of weeds
Ever growing wild and tall
For as far the eye can see
Then you see a little flower
In the weeds bursting through
Or was it the few kind words
You heard spoken directly to you
The fruit of the Heavenly Spirit
Full of love, happiness and joy
Lives within us to give to others
For your goodness to self employ
When that flower or bit of kindness
Runs into more conflict somewhere
Be sure to look before it fades away
For another beautiful bloom to appear
When you see even a little sparkle
Clear away the debris to let it shine
Turn away from the discontentment
Keep only goodness in your mind
For us to inherit His kingdom
One thing the Bible does say
We should focus on the good
Before we find the pathway
Florence McMillian (Flo)
It's his first trip to China ... he's fifteen
and only his second day crossing the border from Hong Kong to Shenzhen.
He's excited and terrified.
Under his baggy clothes are garments resembling pajamas,
only with pockets covering them.
These pockets are full of bibles,
and taped closely to his body.
It's hot, and he's sweating like a long-tailed cat
in a room full of rocking chairs.
He's alone, as they can't risk getting caught together.
He crosses the bridge and enters the custom's building.
The crowds are suffocating,
and over an hour passes before he reaches an agent.
He hands over his passport.
The agent looks at it ... looks at the boy ... and back at the passport again.
On the inside, he's freaking out.
On the outside he cool and collected ... he hopes.
The agent stamps it and hands it back ... the boy turns to the scanners
His heart sinks and hits his throat at the same time.
The Dragon Lady is talking to his father, who he didn't see only a line or two over ...
a rookie mistake
He watches as his father is sent to the, "back room"
It's too late for him to turn back,
or even ditch the camera bag full of books he also carries
He had been over-confident in thinking he could sneak it past ... cocky
The Dragon Lady doesn't say a word as he walks up.
She only looks at him sternly and holds out her hand.
He gives her his passport without question
and goes to the other, "back room"
Dedicated to all of the guys who helped me to make the checklist - thanks!
The Empty Rib Slot
I think I might have
A perfect checklist
Highlights from men
Gathered now missed
Yes special highlights
Each man carried some
Now added to my checklist
For a guy having it all in one
This could be the key to find
The man I’m dreaming of
Not with bits and pieces
One filled full of love
A man made for me
No it would be not
I should fit perfectly
Into an empty rib slot
Let me share this list
With every one of you
Then decide for yourself
If it could possibly be true
My first check comes from
This guy with dreamy eyes
He deeply touched my soul
Way more than ever realized
He even had a special smile
That made you want to grin
No matter if life was down
He encouraged me to win
There was the big hugger
With squeezes oh so tight
He lifted me off the floor
Like if I was taking flight
He never did grow tired
Of giving me those hugs
I never had to ask for them
He always did it out of love
Then there was the dancer
He stayed light on his feet
He loved dancing with me
Carrying rhythm and a beat
Now of course on this list
There certainly has to be
That best friend I count on
Who can also count on me
I am even going to count
The good points of quality
Generated from my brothers
And even from my daddy
From them they all carry
A very good temperament
Always being so easy going
Not looking for an argument
When I am nestled in that slot
With a perfect feel of passion
All of his glory will then shine
As it eludes from my reflection
The most important one of all
He who shares a spiritual side
Being spiritually open with me
Not allowing his beliefs to hide
I know how this all may sound
Like a crazy thing that I’ve got
I want the man I fit snuggly with
When I match his empty rib slot
Florence McMillian (Flo)