Mary E. Adair
Haven't seen anyone pass by on a sleigh but there is certainly some snow today. About 3 inches of the fluffy stuff has been drifting placidly onto the various surfaces that provide a flat enough area to retain its presence. From the window one can see the small finchs, crossbills, and sparrows foraging around the backyard feeders in competition with the ubiquitous squirrels, although even they flee the moma dove fluffed out to twice her usual size and settling down in the big middle of the spilled treats. All the vehicles in the parking lot have taken on an anonymous lumpiness with only the bottom edges still showing any color. So this is a nice place to be - composing the column at the computer while the heater circulates warmed air throughout the room.
Thinking of warmth to spread, for our ezine readers, we have many poems, a couple of stories, a couple of articles, and a few columns to warm hearts, inspire, evoke memories, or raise an eyebrow. We have some returning poets: Jennafer Shaffer ("Slumber Party, "Vows"); Kenneth Rea Berry ("Childlike Empress," "Scared and Frightened Children," "Children of the Night/Children of the Light"); LSeeker ("Peace Sought," "Hello, Lord," "What's Next?"); Amanda Speed ("Discovery," "A Morning Prayer"); Bruce Clifford ("The Boulevard of Faith"); JoBi Wilson ("Do It With Love," "It Wasn't Much..."); Shannon Wadford ("Happiness"); Shell Heller ("Dawn"); and "Reflections on a Summer Evening" from 'Blinder' aka Todd Anderson.
We are introducing four new poets we hope will also return to our pages: Marty Flick brings us "Christmas Star" for our season's theme while Rachel Bunting and John D. Strain are each represented with three of their thoughtful compositions. Rachel has shared "A Lovesong" and "If I Were Beautiful" along with the shorter "Prissy." John sent us the following three reflective works: "The Deck," "This is the Deal," and "John Says." These three writers also place their work at the various ivillage.com poetry sites like The Poetry Corner and Poet's Workshop bulletin boards. Another poet, Sam Vaknin is discussed below.
The stories presented this issue are from Frankie Sanchez ("God Visits the Projects"); another ivillage.com author,Linda Easley ("You Gave Me a Rose"); and from Ben H. Swett ("A Warning") which is included on his website, Spirituality, an exploratory, experimental approach. Their tales may bring smiles or tears, but you won't soon forget them.
The articles from Laura Hilker (""Doing" Christmas") and from our columnist LC Van Savage ("Joy to the World - Maybe") will hold your attention and give you something to think about this Christmas holiday season.
One new columnist, Sam Vaknin, PHD, brings us some clarifications about Trust, in his column, "Taming the Beast" and will continue these philosophical discussions for us in the months to come. We believe his humanizing of what some might consider dry theories will be eye-opening, and perhaps also brow-raising. He has also let us publish some of his free verse, "Prague at Dusk," "Prowling," and "When You Wake in the Morning."
Leo C. Helmer ("Cookin' with Leo") helps out the cook with keeping an eye on the kids by finding something for them to do while the Santa-countdown continues. Our Cassandra ("Casandra's World") takes a by this issue, being away from her computer while visiting relatives, and we wish her a lovely experience. LC Van Savage ("Consider This") regales us with Christmas past in her column giving us a glimpse into the real LC. "Provocations" by pbobbylooks in the new testament, not for the usual Christmas account, but how to live such a spirit daily.
And your editor chooses to do the annual re-print of her one Christmas story poem, here in her own little corner of Pencil Stubs Online.
Tiny fist near tiny eye,
The softest sound of breathing,
Tiny mouth moves in a sigh,
As puff of air is leaving.
Mother gazes thoughtfully,
As husband stands nearby,
Humble setting holds the three
With barely space to lie.
Tiny Babe will change the world,
Mother senses, as she rests.
Husband stands in cloak tight-furled...
Someone comes, are they foe, or guests?
On bended knee, in robes well-worn,
Shepherds praise the precious Child.
They've been told that this Newborn
Is the King they've longed for quite awhile.
Others arrive in more costly garb,
With royal gifts for Royalty...
These earthly Kings have traveled far,
Star-guided, this Babe to see.
Mary pondered, when she saw wisemen kneel,
Just how much He will see in His life.
Reality must have seemed unreal
To the husband watching Child and wife.
Blessed moment in time, through time undimmed,
As angels sang, 'neath Bethlehem's sky,
Many came to the stable to worship Him,
None knowing or suspecting how He'd die.
Born Christ for all who would believe,
Born helpless, and gentle, and mild.
Tiny heart would soon enough grow to grieve
For those lost to the message of the Child.
For those who would not believe the birth
Of the King, to a virginal Mother;
For those who preferred things of the earth,
To preparing their life for another.
Another life that would not end in death...
Miraculous...so hard to accept, for some...
That the soul that can leave within a breath,
Can arrive in Heaven before the next one.
Passage guaranteed by belief in that birth,
And belief that He died to save us from sin,
Defeated Death, and arose to walk on the earth,
And makes heavenly promises now to all men.
Telling death is nothing but a gateway to life
In Heaven, if His Words are heeded,
A transition to Glory from sin and strife...
A believing heart is all that is needed.
Telling us how to go spread His Word
About His birth, His life, and victory over death.
Was this all in the thoughts which Mary heard,
Pondered in her heart, as she counted each breath,
And watched tiny fist touch tiny eye
Of the Child she held to her breast,
Heard tiny lips breathe that sigh...
Did she know she was truly blessed?
copyright Mary E. Adair
May you each find the blessings in your own life, have a merry Holiday, have plenty to eat and plenty to share, and have your loved ones nearby.