What’s Your Favorite Christmas Carol? Why?

Have you given some thought to the lyrics of “O Holy Night“? It has been my favorite for years. The words ring and resound with hope, rest and freedom from slavery.  If you take it a step further, the slavery can mean anything that someone is kept in bondage to. A stronghold they can’t seem to get away from, and that has control over them in some way.  There is hope for these among us. And we can share it.

This final verse is especially powerful:

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and his gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name
all oppression shall cease

Let the words of this hymn fill your heart. And bring you into a space and time of pure praise.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn
…”

Southbound – a poem on child sex trafficking

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Southbound

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She used to be a sturdy branch, proud and blossom-bearing.

Now she is a piece of firewood, split with an ax and used to warm a man for a moment.

She stares from the backseat down a crowded freeway and ponders the irony of that word.

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Westbound

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Cut from her life-source, now unable to bear the weight of fear, it gets so heavy that it crushes young bones.

It leaves her whiskey-scented, terribly fragmented.

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At the Border

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She recalls the shaky voice of her Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Ray, “all things work together for good” and asks herself if this journey could be included in the glorious idea of  “all things”.

Good, at one point surrounded her; it is now a speck on a mountainside with no road leading to – or from – it.

Her one piece of ID is taken. Soon after, another piece is stolen, never to be returned. This one, much more sacred – a blend of body, mind and potential.

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Eastbound

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Her eyes watch the signs blur by and the pavement turn to gravel to dirt

An unsuspecting field her suite, flowing curtains made of wheat

A client tries, her eyes to meet as she lets them close, recalling a song her Mamma lulled, “turn your eyes upon Jesus”.

She waits for things of earth to grow strangely dim.

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Southbound

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Split with an ax by one more of hundreds.

Wholeness is a far-fetched dream of which she cannot afford to let go. There would be but one option left.

Stories of rescue, of raids and redemption resound with hope just palatable enough to grasp in her small hand.

She opens her eyes and discovers what was clenched in her hand: the corner of a stained sheet. Could have sworn she was in a field.

Knuckles turn white from this plight. If her spirit weakens any more, her hope will be reduced to a thread, spinning and taut.

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Southeast bound

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She hears a wrinkled woman humming a hymn & the words come back to her.

Its truth thickens the thread.

She recalls when that freeway used to be a free way,  summons the courage to imagine a listening, loving God and wonders if anyone is praying to him on her behalf.

And just in case they are not, she whispers, “I still believe in you. You are all I have. Free me. Please.”

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Southbound

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The Vacuum Dance

I was confronted. I was confused. I was searching my heart for any fault. Were these accusations true? Were they false & brought up to me because of underlying jealousy toward me? I didn’t know then, and even today, I still don’t. But one thing I do know, is that all the questioning I was doing, made me doubt who I was and what my purpose was. It was March of 2005, and as winter was blowing its chilly goodbye-kiss, I waited for spring to give me a warm welcome. But the questions and accusations in my mind would not let up. A month crept by. I felt more judged by outsiders. The sun came, but I was still cold, and digressing into depression. Continue reading

worship ain’t just singing

worship today was really good. we sang the hymn, it is well with my soul. and there’s just something about old hymns, especially ones that were written by ordinary people in extraordinary trials, such as this one.

i love worship. as much as i think of myself and my own needs and wants, still,  i love to take my eyes off of me and put them on my Creator. to acknowledge Him, believe Him, appreciate Him, & see Him for who He is, not just what i can get from Him. and i can do that in so many ways.

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it’s worship when i’m giving my time and talent and funds to the church & whatever Christ-centered causes tug at my heart,

by thinking about Him,

by serving in my church or community,

by singing alone or with my kids,

by talking about Him with my husband or a friend,

by staring in awe at nature’s ever-changing beauty,

by reading His Word,

by trusting Him,

by talking to Him like i would a friend…

 

any more you can think of?  let me know how y’all worship!