The vestiges of Christmas
are swept away
as the babe of the New Year
is celebrated.
Where then, our feelings of tenderness
as we take in this new child
of ambition and attitude?
Lord, the Wise Men
are still on their way
in our Christmas celebration.
What will they find:
a baby robed in sentiment
or one throwing off all restraint?
Lord, you showed us the application
of love, in the real world—
love that makes a difference
as opposed to blind ambition.
Give us the courage to follow you. Amen.

John 13:35
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Hymn: Love Came Down at Christmas



Ah, Lord, the Sunday after Christmas
is nostalgic with readings and carols.
Ministers expect smaller crowds.
Where has all the whoop-la gone?
Subdued and thoughtful
we return to church
and wonder what comes next.
“The child grew…” as children do.
They don’t stay babies forever.
But what about our faith?
Are we left with a baby
that never grows up?
Or do we follow the child
as he gains his majority
and becomes an itinerant preacher?
Are we ready to follow the adult?
Lord, lead us in your way of love.

Mark 2:14:
As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.

Hymn: Where He Leads Me


O Lord our God, there in the corner
of our retirement apartment
hangs the mobile
of driftwood, stones, and pinecones,
that my husband made
when we were first married.
It hung over our bed,
but kept falling down
when I made the bed,
so we hung it over the dining room table
until it fell and broke some dishes.
It has graced the corner
of several living rooms
as we have moved from place to place.
Now, there it is, Lord, a reminder
of the disjointed continuity of our lives.
We give thanks, O Lord our God,
for your presence with us everywhere.

1 John 3:24b:
And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

Hymn: Be Thou My Vision


Trying on new clothes
to see if they fit, O gracious One,
reading the new book,
working the Christmas puzzle:
all things reminding
of our joyous get together
in your name.
Chuckling over lobster tails
for dinner instead of turkey or ham.
(The grocery had a special.)
How wonderful to try new things!
O Gracious One, we are renewed
to share your Spirit with others. Amen.

Romans 12:2:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Hymn: Tell Out, My Soul


As the dust settles,
stars begin to fade,
shepherds return to their flocks,
and we clear away
the ribbons and wrapping paper,
has anything changed?
Have our hearts been renewed
in their vision of love?
Will it last for another year–
through the day to day scuffle?
Remind us to bestow gifts of love,
as you have given to us, O God,
that the earth may remember
a savior came,
and we have not forgotten.

Luke 2:20:
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Hymn: It Came upon the Midnight Clear


Ah, Lord, will the magic come this year:
the joining of reality with aspiration:
with all one hopes for—
with dreams of love and joy?
Is it yet possible to believe:
believe that good can come
to those who have lost everything
to hatred and war?
You came to save
but order has yet to be restored
and love
has become a commercial.
Can we hope for your love
that attracts us to look beyond
the not yet to the possibility
of openness of the human heart?
Will there ever be peace on earth
and love that encompasses all?
Come, Lord Jesus.

Luke 2:6-7:
While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Hymn: O Little Town of Bethlehem


The hush begins to descend.
The presents are under the tree.
The special service at church
in the afternoon features children.
We look forward to a pancake supper
with family and friends.
Guide us with your Spirit
in this hallowed time
that the true meaning
of your birth
will be celebrated.
Come, Lord Jesus.

John 1:14:
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

Hymn: Silent Night, Holy Night