Tuesday, December 31, 2019

December 31st

“When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’”  John 5:6

do we want
to keep gnawing
on the bitterness
in our hearts, or
let it be transformed
into grace for others;
do we want
to grasp our grudges
so tightly, that our
hands begin to ache
or open our fingers
to let these old hurts
fall to the ground;
do we want
to justify our angry words
by pointing fingers
at those who spoke first,
or listen to the whispers
of healing you breathe
into our ears . . .


© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, December 30, 2019

December 30th

“Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried out to the Lord, ‘O Lord my God, let this child’s life come into him again.’”  1 Kings 17:21

we could
envelope lonely children
with the love we toss
aside like loose pocket change;
we could wrap adolescents
frightened of their future
in the shawls of hope
we keep shelved in
the closets of our hearts;
we could give justice
to those ripped from
their parents arms,
if we dare to stretch
beyond our usual indifference

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, December 29, 2019

December 29th

“And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning—you must walk in it.”                    2 John 6

at the borders of injustice
with the rejected;
by the hospice bed
with the forgotten
homeless veteran;
with the kids facing
down the bullies
on neighborhood playgrounds,
we walk in your love,
O God,
we walk in your love

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, December 28, 2019

December 28th

“See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands;”  Isaiah 49:16a

when the world drops us
(quicker than a hot potato)
by the side of despair,
gather us up, where
we find our faces
tattooed on your hands,
so that you see us
every time you hold
your palms before your eyes
in prayer and love

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, December 27, 2019

December 27th

“When there were no depths I was brought forth,
    when there were no springs abounding with water.”  Proverbs 8:24

from the emptiness
of chaos, you crafted
insight, hoping
we would be savvy
enough to sit at its
knee to learn you,
we take your delight
and bury it in the
backyards of our hearts,
hoping it will compost into
a smattering of foolishness

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, December 26, 2019

December 26th

“For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good,” Wisdom of Solomon 4:12a

when our obsession
with damaging tweets
keeps us from hearing
whispers of hope;
when the angry words
of petty people prove
more attractive than the
grace we could offer
in their place;
when our compulsion
to share every foolish
comment the crass utter
but not the invitations
to find healing from
the communities of
the forgotten;

have mercy on us,
have mercy

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Day

“But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
    who are one of the little clans of Judah,” Micah 5:2a

born into poverty,
we preach you came
to make us obscenely rich;
showing up in
a village of forgottens,
we kinkade it into
a winter wonderland;
noticed only by
migrant workers and
traveling magicians,
we turn your story
into a hallmark movie,
and toss out the gifts
(of justice, peace, and hope
you place in our hearts,)
with the ripped-to-shreds
wrapping paper and
dried out tree

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Christmas Eve

“Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
    at the presence of the God of Jacob,”  Psalm 114:7

truth be told, we
like sitting in front
of our screens, watching
that holiday classic for
the nth time, because
if we answer the knock
at the door, we just
might find shepherds,
trembling as they try
to tell us of the grace
they have found
in the least expected
in the most unlikely

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

December 24th

“Lift up your eyes and look around;
    they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away,
    and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.”
Isaiah 60:4

in cars crammed
with packages, on
roads jammed
with weary travelers;
in airport lounges,
trying to get comfortable
in plastic seats, while
another delay is announced;
in adult children
trying to keep the promise
to make it home this year,
and in little kids staring
at the night sky for (just)
a glimpse of a sleigh,
may we see you
gathering us to your

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, December 23, 2019

December 23rd

“Then young women will dance and be glad,
    young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
    I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.”
Jeremiah 31:13

you sprinkle star dust
on the wooden floors
to teach us the old dance steps
every galaxy knows;
you take the tears
we plant at gravesides,
so we might gather up
bouquets of joy;
you wrap your heart
in the soft tissue of grace,
curling the ribbons of hope
to tie them lightly on the box,
so we will have no trouble
opening it each morning

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, December 22, 2019

December 22nd

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?”  Galatians 3:1a

the wizards of worries
wave their wands
we begin to tremble;
the magus of mayhem
shouts words of anger
and we echo acclaim;
the enchanters of enmity
weave ancient spells, and
we become trapped
in their webs of

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, December 21, 2019

December 21st

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all” Titus 2:11

like little kids,
we keep an eye
on the space under the tree,
to see how much ‘stuff’ we will
get this Christmas,
while grace is quietly
making snow angels
in our souls, wondering
if we will notice, and
want to join in the

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Friday, December 20, 2019

December 20th

“And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.’”  Luke 1:28

if you are with
may i be more just
than judgmental,
more accepting
than angry,
more compassionate
than complaining,
more embracing
than pushing away,

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, December 19, 2019

December 19th

“On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
    do not let your hands grow weak.”  Zephaniah 3:16

you whispered hope
in the winds stirring
the leaves, brushing
aside our fear;
you sing to us
of the grace which
you hand to us, so
we can fill the emptiness
of others;
shout of the wonders
which await us, if
we only open
our ears, our eyes,
our hearts, our souls

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

December 18th

“Who is this King of glory?”  Psalm 24:10a

this will be a sign for us,
we will find the King of glory
in the homeless fellow
sharing half his sandwich
with the dog who rescued him;
at a hospice bedside,
where a nurse holds the hand
of a grandmother with no family;
in the packages under the tree,
in the little kids making up
their own Christmas carols
as they lie in their beds,
trying to fall asleep

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, December 16, 2019

Third Tuesday of Advent

“Be silent, all people, before the Lord; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.” Zechariah 2:13

in the silence,
may we hear your heart
breaking over our cruelty;
in the silence,
may we notice you walking
beside those who have
no home but the streets
they inhabit;
in the silence,
may we learn the words
of grace and hope
the lonely and forgotten
long to hear whispered
into their souls;
in the silence,
may we rouse ourselves
from our holiday detachment,
to follow you to your holy
taken by the hands of those
who know the way
far better than we do

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Third Monday of Advent

“Then the Lord replied with gracious and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.”  Zechariah 1:13 

when we can’t wait
to hurl anger at others,
let us whisper peace;
when we long
to utter judgment
against those we cannot
may we speak out
for justice;
when we want
to mock those whose
loss is due to their
own foolish choices,
may we embrace them
with words of grace and

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Third Sunday of Advent

“On that day I will raise up
    the booth of David that is fallen,
and repair its breaches,
    and raise up its ruins,
    and rebuild it as in the days of old;  Amos 9:11

the broken relationships
caused by our judgmental
anger –
heal them with your grace;
the dreams we have ruined
by our insistence on our
way –
turn the ashes into
reality by your hope;
the neighborhoods
we write off because of our
privilege –
restore with your justice
(and our helping hands),
on this day
and every day

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Second Saturday of Advent

Second Saturday of Advent

“For he delivers the needy when they call,
    the poor and those who have no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
    and saves the lives of the needy.”  Psalm 72:12-13

the rich and the powerful
the narcissistic and arrogant
all say the right words
and do all the wrong things:
they say they care,
but don’t;
they claim to be compassionate,
but turn their back on others;
they say they want only the best
for those who vote for them,
and then become their worst nightmares;
may we be the ones
who wield no power,
but serve in weakness;
who have no wealth
but share everything we have;
who see no future
but will keep moving

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Second Friday of Advent

“I know your works—your love, faith, service, and patient endurance. I know that your last works are greater than the first.”  Revelation 2:19

more now than ever
may we be patient:
our love weathering
the swirling storms
of bitterness,
our faith refusing
to resign us to despair,
our caring for others
withstanding the cruel
attacks of the powerful
who would snatch everything
from those who barely
have anything to their names

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Second Thursday of Advent

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dream.”  Psalm 126:1

we dream
of hope outrunning
despair to life’s finish line;
of peace tearing down walls
to build bridges to life;
of grace feeding those
whose souls are shriveled
by taunts of fear and anger,
and we awaken to find
standing at the foot
of our beds, our clothes
and shoes laid out for us,
as you whisper,
‘join me as we make
dreams come true’

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Second Wednesday of Advent

“But he placed his right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,’”  Revelation 1:17b

we stand gazing
at the twinkling tree
with the handed down
ornaments, the garlands
of strung popcorn, the
lights of different shapes,
the cat trying to sneak
up the trunk unnoticed, but
before we go for hot cocoa
and cookies we decorated earlier,
you hand us a wooden star with
‘do not be afraid’
carved by you long ago, and
you lift us up as we stretch
to top the tree with it

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Second Tuesday of Advent

“Then Amos answered Amaziah, ‘I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees,’”  Amos 7:14 

prophet? no thanks,
but i would be
a border collie
to guide the forgotten home;
a clothier for all
stripped by the
anger of the world;
a heart which
cares for all who
are bullied by
the rich and powerful

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Monday, December 09, 2019

Second Monday of Advent

“’Look! He is coming with the clouds;
    every eye will see him,’”  Revelation 1:7a

you will come back
as a homeless veteran
looking after the feral cats,
the woman teaching
her grandson how to fly fish,
a child who will grow up
to develop cancer’s cure,
than a star
falling out of the sky

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Second Sunday of Advent

“Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
    for you are the God of my salvation;
    for you I wait all day long.”  Psalm 25:5

sitting in my favorite
chair, waiting for you
to ring the doorbell, i
never see you
planting justice
in broken communities,
harvesting handfuls
of hope for those
whose souls are empty,
gathering the lost,
the lonely, the leftouts
into your embrace

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman

Saturday, December 07, 2019

First Saturday of Advent

“Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing,”  Jude 24

clear up the zits
caused by our snits;
grab our hands
every time we start
to trip over our foolishness;
you open the door
to your heart, handing
us the song sheets for
the praises we refuse to learn

© 2019 Thom M. Shuman