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11 Days Before Christmas

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twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“this is heaven.” declared a small boy.

“we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”

when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”

then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
“may this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
“I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
“come now my children, let me show you around.”
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

By: Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA.


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Emma’s Ladder

As a child I remember her
Not wrestling dark hours
But with laughter as a girl’s
And so it was in final hours
Her faith bright as the sun
Encircling, warming others
Eyes sparkling as stars
And speaking of home
With longing, a faraway look
And waiting to take wing
Climbing a ladder sacred
Angels ascending, descending
When the first evening star lit
In sleep gently uplifted
Emma was born to life eternal

©2012 S. Michaels
For my beloved aunt, Emma B.

A reading that our pastor suggested for our congregation to read today seems appropriate:  “May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience , while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”  Colossians 1:11,12

Into your hands merciful Savior, we commend your servant, Emma. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive her into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light, Amen.  (from Pastor Ed Mitchler, Joy Church, Winnipeg)


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Remembering Lindsey

January 12th… yesterday…will always be a tough day…It’s a day of sad remembrance…Eight years ago, my niece died in a tragic incident, and we think of her on January 12th, because it would have been her birthday.

I always think of Lindsey’s smile — wide as the sky! Lindsey had a way of seeing the good in life…and the best in everyone. Little things made her happy. And when she ran into a room, she lit it up like sunlight! When she was five years old she said something that sounded wiser than wise, “One day when I grow up, Aunt Soozy…I’m going to carry you to all of your doctor appointments, so don’t worry!” I laughed and laughed. And Lindsey laughed too. That was life with Lindsey. Always fun. Always full of caring and promise.

I am sure all who knew Lindsey will always miss her as much as her family misses her. As people of faith we know that one day our God who was raised up from death to life…will also raise us up and bring us together again with Lindsey in His heavenly home. But for now, tears still come every January 12th…remembering Lindsey…an incredible person…no longer here. Lindsey was a beautiful person who trusted everyone and loved everyone and didn’t realize bad people could destroy her…

I had forgotten how much Lindsey loved the color pink, until her mom reminded me yesterday that she had taken pink roses to Lindsey’s grave and had brought a few more pink roses home just as Lindsey would have loved her to do. These pink roses are for Lindsey too… along with a song that happens to be a favorite of mine and which just happened to be posted by a Facebook friend, Eugen, yesterday. Thank you, Eugen. It’s amazing that the song begins instrumentally…with violin strains…Lindsey played the violin…she would have loved this…

This song’s for you, Lindsey…and for all who knew and loved you:  YOU RAISE ME UP


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As Flowers Fade

Cannon thunders across silver rivers
Wide wild echoes of hearts pounding
Red blossoms fade now palest rose
As heads bow low to darkest ground
Remembering silent heroes gone
Old and young asleep on distant hill
Whose laughter yet sounds dear and near
While on this solid ground we stand still
Our prayers as flowers fade in songs
Recounting great costs and lives lain down
Outpoured in dark and bravest hours for us

Copyright 2011 S. Michaels
A Remembrance Day Tribute
November 11-11


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Life. Liberty. Renewal – Beyond 9/11


September 11 – Ten years after. I spent quite a bit of time this week watching indepth news documentaries. Documentaries about 9/11.  Somehow 9/11 continues to resound in our lives with thousands of messages, memories, and images. 9/11 is not history. 9/11 is present. Its impact lingers deeply in our collective conscience as a global community. The ripple effect of 9/11 leaves us remembering…the courage of so many…the pain of thousands of lives lost…

And we all remember where we were…

I’m Canadian. I was at a  ‘girls’ weekend, a getaway with my sisters at a cottage near one of Canada’s most breathtakingly beautiful national parks. As always, my older sister had everything well-organized – a grilled salmon dinner, hot breakfast rolls, a long hike, a popular bookstore/coffee shop to drop in on…And even a ‘rainy day’ activity. Rainy day…what?? The weather was gorgeous! But we did the craft…it was my sister’s gift to us… an ‘angel’ kit. We hadn’t done a craft of any kind together since we were kids. Assembling and painting our folk art angels,  I found myself somehow styling a stars and stripes theme on my angel’s green gown. Later as we collected stones along a quiet stretch of beach, my sister took photos. She captured an unusal evening sky. I still have the photo. It features a horizon split clean in half vertically — an odd trick of light, almost a cross-like shape in the sun’s glow, and a shimmer of bright sky to the northwest —and blackness to the southeast.

Two short days later. Darkness vs. light. The world was split apart by unthinkable terror. Many of us prayed, angels on duty. A short while later, reading my Bible, a verse pierced my soul—“In the day of great disaster…when the towers fall…streams of water will flow…” Isaiah 30:25

Today… ten years past 9/11, I watched TV footage of the memorial about to open officially at the base of where the twin towers once stood. The memorial bears the names of every life lost that terrible day. The names of those commemorated are embedded in bronze and surrounded by…watera perpetual fountain. Life. Liberty. Renewal. Beyond 9/11.

God bless America.


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Wide River (for Michael Van Rooy)


About the time we met
Your soft annoyance unnatural
As prairie rain in December
Made me laugh at how you took
A day bent out of shape because
Some ‘nut’ on a bike almost
Mowed you down, ‘Not looking’
And turned it around with wit
How could anyone not have seen you?
Larger-than-life you, but 17 times
It happened to you, you said
People almost mowing you down

You, a sharpshooter with words
Quiet as a river without ripples
Calling home between the pages of time
On the office phone I heard you softly say
“I love you” to your wife and kids
And again in your books how she taught you
To love, chasing life out of gutters

Laughter rocking, side-splitting with friends
You always put life back where it belongs
That’s how I’ll remember you with the ‘writers’
Crowded Christmas cheer, big bear hugs
Then the wide river suddenly in the way
“Yes, see you, friend, we promise…”
Around the gentle bend, on the other side


In tribute to, and in fond memory of a remarkable writer and friend –
Michael Van Rooy…who left us too soon…

Winnipeg International Writers Festival tribute to Michael Van Rooy

© S. Michaels 27-10-11 (above photo by: Timmography)