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RHYMES AND REASONS
The Day Before Christmas
A last-minute checklist for a blest holiday PLUS: My Dad Went Home for Christmas

by Greg Asimakoupoulos
December 24, 2008

The Day Before Christmas
A last-minute checklist for a blest holiday

It's the day before Christmas and your shopping's not done.
You've maxed out the VISA and Capital One.
Your kids are expecting a flat screen TV,
a Tivo, an X-box and even a Wii.
They have no idea how bad things have got
and how much your stomach's all tied up in knots.
The market is iffy. Your job's insecure
and plans for next summer have lost their allure.

The Spirit of Christmas seems way beyond reach
It's like you've been drained by a joy-sucking leech.
In twenty-four hours the big day arrives,
and like old man Scrooge your heart's shriveled in size.
But lest you give up and turn into the Grinch,
consider this game plan to ease Humbug's pinch.

Just take time to chill out. Warm up by the fire.
Then prayerfully ponder your heartfelt desire.
To count all your blessings that money can't buy.
Like children who hug you and puppies that try.
The vows at your wedding. Your mate's faithfulness.
Their mute understanding and tender caress.
A bank full of memories that no one can rob.
Your grandfather's watch with his antique gold fob.
The wealth of true friendship. A chum's knowing glance.
And when you have screwed up, that prized second chance.
A healthy awareness of all you can do.
Those talents God gave you that help define you.

That fireside reflection should brighten your mood.
By adding up blessings, you start feeling good.
In spite of these hard times, recession and debt,
you're really quite wealthy. You tend to forget
that Joy to the World is much more than a song.
It's what you can give even when you been wronged.
When you feel content without lusting for more,
you give from your heart not some shelf at a store.
The best gifts you wrap aren't expensive you see.
They're priceless and costly and yet they are free.

That brings us to Christmas. That miracle birth.
A young virgin mother who doubted her worth.
The manger. The angels. The shepherds who came.
A baby long-promised to free us from shame.
A human-wrapped present no one could afford
was offered without charge. That babe was the Lord.
That's it in a nutshell. He's God's gift of love.
The Present (or Presence) we all have dreamed of.
Amazingly awesome. Too good to be true.
Attempts to earn Heaven are over. They're through.

So don't sweat tomorrow. Just let Christmas come.
In light of its message, be grateful. Have fun.
Expect imperfection. Accept what you get.
Be thankful and patient. Let go of regrets.
Give grace when offended. Extend tenderness.
And when the day's over your soul will feel blest. 
 

My Dad Went Home for Christmas
Reflections on a father's recent death

My dad went home for Christmas.
The Father welcomed him.
The lights of Heaven twinkled bright
as he was ushered in.
 
The little drummer boy marked time.
My dad knew he belonged.
He met the shepherds, saw the Lamb
and heard the angels' song.
 
He bowed and worshiped Jesus Christ.
The greatest gift of all.
The object of my dear dad's faith
from when he was quite small.
 
That's why when he got really sick,
he had the means to hope.
Aware the Father's plans are good,
he found that he could cope.

He coped with all that cancer dealt
relinquished to God's will.
He said he was all set to go.
before his voice was stilled.

But, boy, these silent nights are hard.
This Christmas will be rough
in spite of knowing Dad's now whole.
Alive, all smiles and buffed.



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