“The Perfect Gift” (a Christmas Poem) + a Proclamative Scripture Compilation

A couple weeks ago, I posted about gift giving during the holidays. It’s estimated that Americans waste billions of dollars on unwanted presents every year. I provided some tips for buying special gifts people will appreciate while also supporting local crafters, small businesses, and sustainable companies.

Multiple family members asked me what to get each other this year. Using my own advice, I gave deliberate instructions for each person and even went shopping on one person’s behalf. I can’t wait to see the look of delightful surprise on each face as they unwrap their presents. “It’s the thought that counts,” as they say. When my loved ones receive gifts perfectly tailored to their needs, interests, and style, they’ll hopefully know they are seen and loved.

These family members want so much to please each other that they seek advice, striving to make that just-right choice. We all want to bring joy to our loved ones. As I mulled it over, I decided to write this poem.

Since my next post would fall on Christmas day, I’m going to take a week off to prepare (I’m about halfway done wrapping!) then relax and appreciate my loved ones when the day comes. I wish you all a Merry Christmas–or Happy Holidays if you celebrate Hannukah or a different special time. God bless you all, especially anyone who is grieving loss or loneliness in this season.

The Perfect Gift

It’s the most wonderful time of the year–

Christmas and winter holidays are here

How the beauty of the season touches my soul!

I love to watch the magic unfold

Lights, decorations, stockings, wreaths

A festive mantle dressed in red and green

Tinsel wrapped around the beloved tree

Little figurines forming a nativity scene

These traditions are backed by a special thing–

Out and about, in the air, a certain feeling

When “chestnuts roast on an open fire”

Everyone’s spirits seem to be higher

What is Christmas spirit, and where does it come from?

Being more thoughtful and generous; sharing love

How exactly did this concept come to be?

What causes the boost of joy we see?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My family consults me for gift ideas

“What would mom, dad, brother appreciate?”

We want to see the look of satisfied gratitude

As they unwrap the box on Christmas day

What’s the perfect gift? We ask–

We ponder, bargain hunt, search, strain

But we should realize the very best presents

Don’t require us to wrack our brains

Our presence is the best present!

Money can’t buy time together ♥

Having people who genuinely care for us

is a blessing; there’s nothing better

Except for one other thing–

Ultimately, the reason for the season

God’s love for us, demonstrated through Jesus

The eternal hope of salvation

Thanks for reading! 🙂

P.S. I put this together for my church service Sunday and am sharing here so y’all can be blessed by the wanderous beauty of the good news and God’s word.

Be strong and let your heart take courage–all you who wait for the Lord (Ps 31:24); weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Ps 30:5)
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger coming to announce peace and salvation and bring glad tidings! (Isa 52:7)
Arise and shine, for now, the light has come (Isa 60:1); He brings good news to the oppressed, binds up the brokenhearted, and proclaims liberty to the captives. (Isa 61:1)
You and all people–the blind, the crippled, and the lame–are invited to God’s heavenly banquet. (Lk 14:21)
The Lord comes to vindicate the widow, the orphan, the foreigner, and the poor. (Zech 7:10)
This hope is the sure and steadfast anchor for our souls. (Heb 6:19)
So, ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters! And you who have no money–come and eat! (Isa 55:1)
Let the humble hear and be glad; O, magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together. (Ps 34:2-3)
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior! (Lk 1:47)
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. (Jn 14:6)
He comes not to be served but to serve–and to give His life as a ransom for many. (Matt 20:28)
For those who revere His name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. (Mal 4:2)
Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven! (Matt 21:9)

Dueling Poems: “The World’s Gone to Hell in a Handbasket” (Satire) vs. a Reasoned Response

Hi, friends. Hope my fellow Americans had/have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. Though none of our lives are perfect, we have a lot for which we should be grateful.

Speaking of which, this is a poem poking fun at those who believe the world has gone to hell in a handbasket and will be destroyed by God’s wrath any day now. Though I certainly won’t deny how injustice, oppression, etc. run rampant in the world today, I hope to illustrate through this poem that evil has always run rampant in our broken world.

[Humorous sidenote: My grandpa, who grew up dirt poor on the heels of the Great Depression, used to say, “The only good thing about ‘the good old days’ is that they’re gone!”]

I’m only an “okay” poet, so forgive the varying line lengths. Also, this satire doesn’t quite meet the technical definition…just know the parts in italics represent the person who feels the world has gone mad. Lastly, forgive me for leaving out the other one million events/conditions from the past I could’ve mentioned.

Enjoy, and remember to count your blessings always!

“The World’s Gone to Hell in a Handbasket”

The world’s gone to hell in a handbasket!

Society has lost its way!

We’ve never seen as much evil and chaos

As we do today.

In the ancient days of Rome and Greece,

Nero burned human bodies for party lights.

Men “mentoring” boys, using them as playthings,

Was a tradition deemed natural and right.

Skipping forward to the 1000’s,

Empires fell, and the middle ages began.

A migrant crisis started, trade collapsed,

The black plague killed one third of Europe’s population.

Skipping way forward in history,

Let’s reflect on the last few hundred years:

Witch trials, genocides, the Holocaust,

Civil wars, world wars, the Trail of Tears.

I’m insulated by my modern life and my #firstworldproblems;

I lack a historical view of oppression and pain.

When I see moral degradation and struggles around me,

It feels like we’re doomed; the world is going insane.

Remember when we kept people like mules–

Called them property, denied their humanity?

Tragically, the fight for real equality

lasted over a century (and continues debatably).

Before the days of modern medicine like antibiotics,

Many people died from now-curable illnesses.

And prior to smartphones, a couple decades ago,

We didn’t have the world at our fingertips.

Less than 100 years ago,

Running water was a luxury,

And rather than driving cars,

People hitched a horse-and-buggy.

But I like to think I’d trade it all

To go back to “a simpler time.”

These darn kids today

Just don’t know what it was like!

A Reasoned Response

Though I poke fun at the gloom-and-doom view,

I understand why people feel this way.

But sin has always been a problem–

That’s the point I want to make.

Violence, persecution, oppression, injustice

Exist around the world today.

I don’t mean to minimize that;

I strive through mission work to make change.

We face urgent problems in 2019–

Like human trafficking, which is modern slavery…

Foreign sweatshops in the “fast fashion” era…

Half the world lives on a daily household income of $2.50.

But considering the conveniences many of us have,

like cars, medicine, and bathrooms inside,

And considering some social changes,

like black people’s freedom and women’s rights,

Perhaps, instead of dismissing all that,

We should thank God for our blessings,

And, instead of moaning about sin in the world,

Seek opportunities to help and get busy!

Thanks for reading? What do you think–has the world gone to hell in a handbasket? What are you thankful for? Let me know in the comments.

A Satire from an Anti-Religious Perspective vs. a Plea for Understanding

Hi, friends. It’s been a while since I wrote the first installment of Dueling Poems, so here is another one! Flexing the ol’ creative writing muscle feels refreshing.

Last time, I poked fun at righteously-indignant Christians for oftentimes being narrow-minded and unloving (which is antithetical to biblical Christianity tbh). Since I’ve proven that I can criticize “my own kind” and that I acknowledge how hurtful some Christians can be, I think I’ve earned a turn at flipping the tables and poking fun at a certain kind of anti-religious person.

Obligatory preface statements conveniently summed up in a hashtag: #notall

A Satire from an Anti-Religious Perspective

I don’t like people who believe in fairytales

I hate their churches, too

If I can’t wrap my mind around something

It can’t possibly be true

I’m quite the intellectual

I rightfully have an air of superiority

Listening to a deluded Jesus freak

Would require a little humility

I don’t have the patience for that

And I see no tragic irony

In judging and condemning a whole group

Though some of them pray for me

I’d rather sit behind a screen

And tear people down

From that hobby, I can’t tell you

How much joy I’ve found

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And what do the freaks do in the meantime?

Serve free meals to the community

Donate to charity

Give out food boxes at a pantry

Send cards to the lonely

Participate in prison ministry

Gather for worship, fellowship, and scripture studying

Spend time praying, meditating, self-reflecting, and repenting

Try to be more loving, caring, and forgiving

Subject their hearts to redemptive pruning

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I could go out and serve the world

Like these other Jesus freaks

But then who would be around

To complain about everything?

The church is just a tax scam

They should start paying immediately

But church and state need a wall of separation!

These ideas aren’t at all contradictory

I’ve heard that God is love

But I’ve met some hypocritical Christians

Therefore, it stands to reason…

Every single one is bad, end of discussion!

I’m not into a God of love, anyway

It’s more fun to be condescending and petty

I mean…perusing Twitter to start futile debates?

Pull out the confetti!

I don’t understand these people

And I don’t want to or even need to

I’m smart enough to know

Whatever I assume about them is true

A Plea for Understanding

I approach you delicately

Because you may likely speak from pain

Since I don’t know, I won’t try to convince you

That there is no reason for your disdain

I simply implore you to remember

Not to judge all forests from some trees

Look at the good we do in the world

Maybe you will come to see

The people who were fed by us, clothed by us, loved by us

What about their stories?

You claim to hate all organized religion,

But would you want those people to go hungry?

Please hear this plea for a fair hearing

See our flaws, but acknowledge the positive things we do

and I will try with all my heart

To give the same consideration (not stereotyping) to you

And there you have it! Reminder–writing a satire about a certain type of person does not indicate that I am stereotyping an entire group. In fact, stereotyping is a concept that’s condemned in these poems! Some Christians got their toes stepped on by my first installment, so it’s probably inevitable for some to feel offended this time, too. Also, I do realize that Christianity and religion aren’t synonymous, though the poems could imply that.

Thanks for reading! What do you think about the poems, religious people, anti-religious people, or organized religion? Let me know in the comments.

Dueling Poems: A Satire on the Modern Christian’s Righteous Indignation vs. a Call to Repent

Hi, friends. I sometimes get frustrated by legalistic Christians. Legalistic Christians tend to neglect the most foundational components of the faith–

  • understanding we are all sinners saved by grace and, consequently, being humble and constantly repentant
  • following Jesus’s example of caring for the least of these including the poor, the outcast, the mentally and physically broken, etc. (a subject for another post, but I’ll add that God in the OT, who some antagonistic Christians embrace more than Jesus, also told His people to care for the least of these, esp. the foreigners, orphans, widows, and poor in their midst)
  • building up the body of Christ with love, patience, mercy, joy, peace, discretion in words and actions, etc.

Legalistic Christians tend to point out real or perceived sin in others while ignoring their own, and in their lives, neither the fruit of the Spirit nor discipleship of Jesus is evident. They only whip out their religion to make a mountain out of a molehill or to justify a worldly action or attitude.

Anyways…

I decided to try a new outlet for my thoughts through satire, and I enjoyed the experience, so “Dueling Poems” might become a thing around here. đź™‚

Preface: I live in the South and have attended the same church for my whole life, so this is not meant as a condemnation of small, rural churches. I’m just satirizing some things I see and hear.

A Satire on the Modern Christian’s Righteous Indignation

When I grew up

At the church in a country lane

Everyone in the congregation

Looked and acted the same

We were told what to think

The preacher taught us well

I didn’t need to read the Bible

To tell you all about Hell

My mom and dad’s religion

Was the same as my own

Don’t need to read the scripture

Because I already know:

Atheists are Satan’s friends

The gays are condemned

And as for me?

Well, I don’t have any sin

The world today has gone mad

On Christmas, there’s a war!

You may think “Happy Holidays” is fine

But I’m keeping score

These days, I can’t help feeling

Righteous indignation about everything

So I condescend and argue and shout

All in His name

What would Jesus do?

He’d trample on his enemies

I don’t need to read the Bible

To know what I believe

A Call to Repent

Repent, oh arrogant sinner

Get on your knees and beg

“Lord, I shamefully confess

Every hateful word I’ve said”

Invite Jesus’s grace into your heart

Approach Father God with humility

Let the Holy Spirit guide your actions

What truly matters, you’ll begin to see

See the poor and the suffering and the lost in your midst

See how discipleship with Jesus works–

We can make up for time we’ve wasted

Though when we see our own sin, it hurts

Dive into the scripture

And pray–often, every day

Get to know the Lord of love

And let Him lead the way

Thanks for reading! What did you think? Do you have something to say about righteous indignation in modern society? Let me know in the comments.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV)