Sunday, December 31, 2017

Read the Bible in 2018

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               A 2018 New Year’s Resolution suggestion poetry.

               COVER TO COVER II

     Among my most meaningful things to do
     while reading the Holy Scriptures through
     is write Messiah's name in the margin
     of the Old Testament, where'er I find Him.
     Of course, I do not find Jesus' name,
     but I certainly find Him, just the same.

     I find Him in the Lamb and the Lion,
     foreshadows of the Temple in Zion,
     find Him in Joshua, David, Passover,
     in the Song, the whale, cover to cover.
     I've thumbed through pages and jotted a few
     Messianic treasures to share with you:

     Messiah's birth’s foretold in Micah, five;
     seven centuries later, Jesus arrived;
     virgin birth proclaimed, Isaiah seven,
     a Son to be fathered by God in Heaven.
     Kings would bow down to Him and nations serve,
     Solomon's Psalm Seventy-two observed.

     He'd be pierced and mourned, said Zechariah;
     Our Redeemer, fifty-three, Isaiah,
     who prophesied resurrection glory!
     Genesis to Revelation, God's true story!
     The Word reveals a magnificent plan
     in this tome of Our Savior, God and Man.

         Well, now that Twenty Eighteen is here
         I’ll suggest a resolution without peer:
         Resolve to read before this year’s over,
         the Holy Bible, cover to cover.
         It contains everything you need to know
         about God’s love and grace and how to grow.
        You’ll read the story beginning to end
        of your Sovereign Savior and closest Friend!
     Maude Carolan Pych

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!!!

Until Christmas

This is the final poem in the series:

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Simeon wondered
if he were seeing things
He rubbed his tired old eyes
squinted and peered again
at the little family
that came through the Temple doors

The Sanctuary
was shadowy and dim
Flames from the oil lamps
were flickering—
Were his eyes playing tricks?

Wasn’t this an ordinary family?
…a couple like any
ordinary Jewish couple
here to present their firstborn son
holy to the Lord?

Nothing special about them
Just poor folk
with two lowly turtledoves
for the sacrifice…yet?

Perhaps this was wishful thinking
Perhaps, his imagination
He needed to be sure
Simeon moved a bit closer

Oh, he’d been waiting so patiently
for the fulfillment of the promise
of the Lord to comfort Israel

He knew He would—
for the Holy Spirit
assured him
he absolutely would not die
until he beheld the Messiah
…but that was long ago

Suddenly an unmistakable quickening
began rising up in his spirit…Yes!
…O Glory! Glory!

He bounded
toward Mary and Joseph
with arms outstretched
and swooped up
their swaddled infant son
uttering prophetic proclamations
jubilant and terrifying

I behold God’s salvation!

A light to the Gentiles

The glory of God’s people Israel

and directly to Mary, he prophesied:

…a sword will pierce your soul

She shuddered…
for she knew God had a plan, but…
What could this mean?

Then the widow Anna approached
Bent and grey and pious
she was a prophetess
who dwelled in the Temple
most of her life, praying
fasting and serving the Lord
with a joyful heart

Spontaneous praise
sprang from her lips
as she beheld the babe
Then Anna proclaimed
to all who would listen:

Come and see…
This is our newborn redeemer!

…from that day forward
Jesus grew
in wisdom and grace

the Cross before Him…

…and a sword did pierce
Mary’s soul

Maude Carolan Pych

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Christmas Eve Poem for Children

Until Christmas

A special poem for children follows
to read to them on Christmas Eve...

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Children, gather round. It’s time for a story,
one that’s filled with hallelujahs and glory.

It’s about the glorious night of all nights,
angels and magi and sight of all sights!

About God, a virgin, the birth of a king,
wooly sheep, poor shepherds and gift giving!

My story takes place long ago, far away
and starts with a Babe in a crib full of hay;

His mother’s a virgin, His father is God,
the birth, a miraculous Heavenly nod.

The Baby is born in a Bethlehem barn
near a few smelly animals, like on a farm.

Poor shepherds in a field shudder with fright
when suddenly the dark sky fills up with light

as beautiful angels, bright splendors winging
tell of the birth with hallelujahs and singing!

So, the shepherds and sheep the very next morn
set off to visit this special Newborn.

Rich wisemen follow a bright beaming star
to the Bethlehem barn; the journey is far.

They ride astride camels, carrying treasures
to give to the One they’ll worship forever.

Why in the world would they do such strange things?
Why travel so far? Why great treasures bring?

The reason is simple, the Babe in the hay
becomes the world’s Savior, Who takes sin away.

His name is Jesus and He loves you and me
and wants us to love Him for eternity.

That was the night of all nights here on Earth…
the wonderful story of Jesus’ birth!

Maude Carolan Pych

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Point of a Sword...

Until Christmas


My friend Holly (who has a special
affinity with all things Christmas)
once gave me a picture
of Mary at the crib of Jesus—
She said the image of Mary
reminded her of one of my daughters

I framed the picture
and hung it on the wall
not because of any resemblance
to my daughter, but
because I was moved
by the striking look of anguish
upon Mary’s lovely face

This had to have been the day
Mary and Joseph went to the temple
to dedicate Jesus, the day
they offered two turtledoves
as a sacrifice for their firstborn son

Simeon was present when they came in
and knew immediately
by the power of the Holy Spirit
that this Child was
God’s promised Savior

He told Mary—
A sword will pierce your soul!

This silent night in Bethlehem
as Jesus lay sleeping
Mary lifts his tiny hand
to her trembling lips
She wonders about God’s marvelous plan
wonders how a Savior saves

and as she wonders, she feels
the point of an unseen sword
pressing against her flesh—

What did that wise old man mean?

There’s so much I do not know—
So much I do not want to know


Maude Carolan Pych

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Baby Next Door

Until Christmas

A personal favorite:

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I saw him the other day
the baby boy who lives next door
His parents are poor Hebrews, like we are
He’s swaddled the same way we swaddle our babies
and he cries and coos just like our babies do, yet—

the brightest star I’ve ever seen
shines down upon him every night
and shepherds have left their fields
just to take a look at him
exclaiming all the while
about angels singing in the sky

Really? Angels in the sky—

One day I saw wisemen from afar
dressed in finery, ride in on camels
They were bearing costly gifts to honor him
and actually bowed prostrate
before his little cradle

I met his mother at the well, yesterday
Her name is Miriam (Mary)
She told me they’ve named him, Yeshua (Jesus)

Yeshua is a fine name. It means savior
Savior. We’ve been waiting for a savior—


Maude Carolan Pych

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Lamb of God

Until Christmas

The following is my 2017 Christmas poem,
marking my 30th year
of writing and sharing a poem
with family and friends at Christmastime.

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In a grassy field in Bethlehem
a rugged old shepherd
tenderly smooths the wooly coat
of a pregnant ewe, as she bleats in labor
almost ready to deliver her offspring

He’s been through this many times—
Patiently, the shepherd remains with her
prepared to assist as she gives birth

Immediately following the delivery, he wisely wipes,
the membrane away from the lamb’s face
so it can breathe, while the mother
instinctively licks it all over with her tongue
In a few minutes, it rises on wobbly legs
and manages a few shaky steps

Then the shepherd picks it up
and carefully examines
every limb and joint and crevice
Finding no blemish
he wraps strips of swaddling cloth
around its delicate little hooves
to protect them from splintering or cracking

He’ll raise this spotless little lamb
with utmost care—

and present it to the Levitical priests
designated for sacrifice
upon the altar at the Temple in Jerusalem

as an atonement for sin

The old shepherd
warms himself by the fire
with the younger men
when suddenly the sky is alight
with angels singing praises to God
and announcing with joy
the birth of Yeshua (Jesus), Savior of the World

Filled with great jubilation
the shepherds set off
with their flock, to honor Him
They don’t have far to travel

In a lowly stable outside an inn
they find the Babe
with His mother, Miriam (Mary)
and her husband, Yosef (Joseph)

Baby Yeshua is without blemish
swaddled and sleeping, in a make-shift cradle
that is actually a feeding trough for animals

Years go by
and in the fullness of time
the Man, Yeshua, presents Himself
to Yochanan (John), the Baptizer
on the shore of the Jordan River

As He approaches
Yochanan proclaims to all who will listen

Behold, the Lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world![1]

A few years later
Yeshua, Son of God, the spotless Lamb
does exactly that, once and for all—

at the Cross

Maude Carolan Pych

[1]John 1:29 NASB

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Let's Learn Littleness...

Until Christmas

Today's poem contains a lesson
I know is true, but...
am still trying to learn.

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Matthew 19:14

In a little manger, in a little town,
was born a little boy,
to a little family of little means.
He brought the world great joy!

If the Lord of All could come so small,
with the biggest, highest aim,
then why oh why must we buy and buy
for the day that bears His Name?

We shop, we trim, we bake, we cook,
we visit, we send, we party,
we run up the tally on credit cards,
the bills we pay are tardy.

While the hustle and bustle can be great fun,
sometimes it steals our peace,
sometimes the true Christmas spirit gets lost
when our busyness won’t cease.

From the little manger, the little town,
the crib of the little boy,
comes a little Christmas thought to muse,
which may heighten Christmas joy…

Let us celebrate with littleness,
become as the little Child,
with simplicity, wonder, innocence,
pure Love that’s undefiled…

and the Savior, Our Lord, who was that Child,
shall smile at us, well pleased,
“For the kingdom,” He said, “of Heaven belongs
to people such as these!”

Maude Carolan

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas, When I Was Young...

Until Christmas

Image credit: helloilivehere.come


I sat with my nose pressed
against the frosty kitchen window,
staring hard into the black starry sky
looking for snowflakes,
searching for Santa in his sleigh,
straining to see a tiny red light
that might be the tip of Rudolph’s nose.
Mommy said Santa wouldn’t come
until I went to sleep,
so I put on new flannel pajamas
trimmed with red piping,
and went to bed.

I heard noises, elfin noises?
Kneeling on my bed,
peering out the window,
I spied my father
dragging evergreens from the car.
Soon I heard Mommy, Daddy,
Aunt Carol and Uncle Fred whispering,
heard them rustling around
moving things, the buzz of a drill.
I worried that the commotion
would keep Santa away,
but soon my eyes wouldn’t stay open.

I awoke very early
and roused Carol and Frankie.
We tiptoed downstairs
where we were dazzled by a fir
decorated with big bright bulbs
and bubbling candle lights,
shiny glass balls,
silvery tinsel shimmering
reflections in the glow,
and a glittering star way up on top.

Aunt Carol was curled on the sofa,
Uncle Fred lay snoring
in an overstuffed chair.
Beneath the tree was not
the perky Toni I prayed for
and asked Santa to bring
when I sat on his lap at Quackenbush’s,
but a different yellow-haired doll
with little pink curlers,
an oversized tricycle
with a fresh coat of chartreuse
and a Chinese Checkers game.
My sock, bursting with candy,
hung from a cardboard fireplace
covered with red brick printed paper.

Soon our aunt and uncle awoke,
then Mommy and Daddy.
We were told Daddy
had taken the last scrawny pines
from an abandoned tree lot
after his night shift at Wright’s.
He and Uncle Fred drilled holes
into the trunk of the best,
fitted in branches from others.
They stood it on a stand
with Daddy’s old green Lionels
circling around.

Carol and I bundled and walked
to Mass at St. Bonaventure’s,
leaving our new toys behind.

When we got home,
there was sausage and eggs,
a stollen coated with powdery sugar,
filled with tiny pieces
of red, green and yellow fruit,
(which we picked out),
and mugs of rich steamy cocoa,
with a big Campfire marshmallow
melting and bobbing on top.

Maude Carolan

Monday, December 18, 2017

Grieving During the Holidays

Until Christmas

Are you grieving the loss of a loved one this Christmas?
In 2004, my husband, Leo F. Carolan,
went to be with the Lord.
The following poem is about mourning his loss
during that Christmas season...

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Wrote my annual Christmas poem
and sent it out as usual
well aware that anyone who didn't already know
would know even before they opened it
as soon as they saw the return address label
with just my name on it—
Included your photograph
and a few words about your passing
baby photos of Logan and Aiden
and a few words about God taketh and giveth

Shopped, pretty much as usual
except, of course, that a significant gift
was missing from my list
I gift wrapped and set up the crèche
and a few decorations
baked cookies—
shortbread, chippers
anise biscotti, sugar cookie stars
Packed tins to mail
and give and have on hand
I'd glance at the empty chair
and miss you sitting there, smiling
as I rolled out dough
and sang O Holy Night way off key

Received lots of cards
and lots of notes and phone calls
from people stunned
by the news in my letter

Beth and Evert invited me to spend
the day before Christmas Eve with them
before they flew to Miami
with Logan to visit Evert's mom

On Christmas Eve I went to Beth Israel
to celebrate the birth of Messiah
Gave Pastor Jonathan his tin of cookies
then headed south on the Parkway
after midnight so I could be
at Kristin and Randy's in time
to see Aiden's eyes light up his first
Christmas morning

Over the next few days
I visited my sister and brother
Aunt Carol and friends

Kevin and Omayra invited me
to spend a quiet New Year's Eve
with Omy’s family in South River
Tearless, pensive, I lifted a glass
to ring out the old, ring in new
I slept in the guest-room
at my son and daughter-in law’s home
We sat around the table in our bathrobes
New Year's Day morning, eating
buttered panetone with glazed chestnuts
then drove to The City to see a play
We ate in a deli that charged holiday prices
and toured Ground Zero on foot

it was over
I got through it

without going to pieces

Maude Carolan