Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Day

In this is love,  1 John 4:10a

the server who
   sits down and
   listens to the
         tear-filled widower;
the non-believer
   who takes the
   shift at hospital;
the teenagers
   who hand out
             gifts and food
   to the folk
   living out of
         shopping carts,
this is love.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Christmas Eve

And being found in human form, Philippians 2:7b

the addict
   shivering on
   a shelter cot,
the family
   by the side
   of the road with
      their broken car,
the rough sleepers
   in the park
   sharing what food
      they have,
we find
living nativities
   all around us.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Fourth Sunday of Advent

To that end keep alert . . .  Ephesians 6:18b

let us not be
   by great cantatas
      and jingling bells,
or blinded by
   the wattage on
   a neighbor's house,
see you in the
   staring sadly through
   the frosted window
hear you in
the silence of
      broken hearts.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Third Saturday of Advent

On that day . . . Isaiah 10:20

on this day,
may we care
as much about
      the server as
   what is on the plate;
as much about
      the carriers as
   the packages they bring;
as much about
      the stranger as
   our most treasured

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, December 22, 2017

Third Friday of Advent

For they speak bombastic nonsense, 2 Peter 2:18a

we seem to
have no trouble
      giving undivided
   to the LOUDmouths
         among us, but
barely listen
to the whispers
      of the

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Third Thursday of Advent

He grants peace within
         your borders;
   he fills you with the finest
         of wheat.  Psalm 147:14

we are so
busy giving tax
      breaks to arms
   selling fear
   on every corner, and
chipping away at
   healthcare for
         kids, we
have no time
to taste your

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Third Wednesday of Advent

He proclaimed, "The one who is coming is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals."  Mark 1:7

in your lowness,
   you bend down
to pry loose
      sin's grip
   on our souls,
tripping death so
      it falls flat
on its

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Third Tuesday of Advent

The people who walked in
   have seen a great light;  Isaiah 9:2a

engrave these words
      on our hearts,
   O God, so
we have more
than just a
reminder of
      what you have
   done, and
still do in the

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, December 18, 2017

Third Monday of Advent

I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.  Isaiah 8:17

in the waiting,
      may i see
   your hope;
in the hoping,
      may i touch
   your love;
in the loving,
   may i learn
      your patience.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Third Sunday of Advent

Let everything that breathes
         praise the LORD!
Praise the LORDPsalm 150:6

a toddler
   pulling pans
   and lids from
      the kitchen cabinet;
a steel drum
      group at
   morning worship;
seniors still
   tap dancing
   after 70 years -

every one!

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Second Saturday of Advent

Lord, you have been our
         dwelling place
   in all generations.  Psalm 90:1

in the
   of your heart,
   find the
oasis we need
in the bleak

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, December 15, 2017

Second Friday of Advent

Ask a sign of the LORD your God: let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.  Isaiah 7:11

may we see
   in the depths
   of the grief
      of one
   on the untimely
   of their love,
as well as
in the hand
of a toddler
      reaching up
for her father
in a crowded

(c) 2017  Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Second Thursday of Advent

So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.  Luke 22:6

at choir practice,
      the board meeting,
   worship, faithfulness
         is all so easy,
     on the drive home,
     is always
standing by the
side of the road,
      thumb out, hoping
we will stop
and give it
   a lift.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Second Wednesday of Advent

Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?"  She said, "No one, sir."  And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you.  Go your way, and from now on do not sin again."  John 8:10-11

when others notch
      their arrows
   to judge us, you
cut the strings on
            their bows,
   so their barbs
     fall useless in
the dust where
you have written
   sola gratia

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Second Tuesday of Advent

Be alert at all times,  Luke 21:36a

if we blink,
we might miss
   racing around like
   a dog in the snow;
   kneading us like
   a contented kitten;
   teaching little kids
   carols from other lands;
   shoveling fears off
our souls' sidewalks.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, December 11, 2017

Second Monday of Advent

   and on your wondrous
         works, I will meditate.  Psalm 145:5b

i could wonder
   what elements make
   up the stars, how
      many light years away
      they are, or if
   they are now dead
   and gone, or
      just rest in
   the grass, whispering
   a stunned

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Second Sunday of Advent

The LORD has sworn and
         will not change his
         mind,  Psalm 110:4a

no matter how
      feckless and
   we are; no
matter how
many times
   we fall in love
   with others, you
keep those promises
you made so long

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, December 09, 2017

First Saturday of Advent

And he said, "Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, 'I am he!' and 'The time is near!'  Do not go after them."  Luke 21:8

we could chase
         after the latest
      hucksters, or
   hold on to
   that dusty hope
we could believe
         every lie
      tweeted and
      pitched to us, or
simply rely
on your

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, December 08, 2017

First Friday of Advent

Wild animals and all cattle,
   creeping things and flying
Praise the LORD! Psalm 148:10, 14c

the deer standing
motionless at
      the edge of
      the creek;
the little birds
swirling around
   the feeder;
the kitten stalking
them behind the
   safety of the window,
teach us
      your songs
of joy.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, December 07, 2017

First Thursday of Advent

For God alone my soul waits
         in silence,
   for my hope is from him.  Psalm 62:5

when the emptiness
      of my soul
      echoes with the
   footsteps of my
you reach into
your illimitable
   trove of
to replenish my

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

First Wednesday of Advent

Our God comes and does not
         keep silence, Psalm 50:3a

there are moments
when sugary lullabies
          are not needed, but
   heavy metal crescendos
   ripping apart injustice;
whispers of kindness
      will not grab
      the attention of bullies, only
   shouts of outrage;
tip-toeing down the hall
will not wake the kids
                      (that's right),
   but perhaps stomping
   down the corridors
   with compassion will
shake the powers that be.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

First Tuesday of Advent

they shall beat their swords
         into plowshares,
   and their spears into
         pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword
         against nation,
   neither shall they learn
         war any more.  Isaiah 2:4b

no more homework
      for the war colleges,
   no more doomsday clocks
      ticking down to death;
when tanks are turned
   into snowplows for
   needy neighborhoods,
when missile silos
   are filled with grain
   for the hungry,
we will know that
God's time is here,
      and we can throw
      away our watches.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, December 04, 2017

First Monday of Advent

cease to do evil,
   learn to do good;
seek justice,
   rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
   plead for the widow.  Isaiah 1:17

we cannot pray,
   if we do not speak out
   for the oppressed;
our songs are hollow,
   if we will not listen
   to the lonely;
our words crumple
to the floor,
   if we do not
   cradle the broken;
we should not rejoice,
   if little children
   cry themselves to sleep;
our worship is selfish,
   if we do not welcome
   the stranger.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, December 03, 2017

First Sunday of Advent

Make me to know your
         ways, O LORD;
   teach me your paths.  Psalm 25:4

like that
      frosty fork
   on our journey,
is the road
      less travelled,
with markers left
along the way
   by God.

(c) 2017 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


some will  
   a wall
out of flowers and candles,
cards and tweets,
photographs and memories,
fears and tears, a place
where we can come
and let our tears drop
into that river
which longs to cleanse
the streets of grief;

some would
   a wall  
out of rhetoric and
   platitudes, the
old accusations placed
word by word to reinforce
suspicions based on ignorance,
arrogance grounded in privilege,
beliefs founded on untruths;

some long to
   a wall
around speech
with which they disagree,
enclosing faiths
they are taught are unbelievers,
between people who
are not enough like them;

a bridge could be
between shattered hearts
and dreams turned to ashes,
between those who are misunderstood
and those who are misinformed,
between neighbors who have lived there forever
and immigrants longing for a community,
between people of all faiths and none
who share the common commitment
to peace, justice, love, and hope

but sometimes
it is just easier
to be wall builders.

© 2017 Thom M. Shuman