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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

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The Day Before Christmas

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.

Comments (3)


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Shirley from Victoria, B.C. writes:
December 24, 2008
The Day Before Christmas is so true. When the family is together this evening, we will take turns reading the verses. I believe the recession will help us focus more on what is of real worth.

L. Thomas from Seattle writes:
December 25, 2008
NATIVITY MALARKEY ... Biblical verses can only be understood by studying the original Hebrew text which reveals many discrepancies in the Christian translation. Jesus (if ever existed) was not born of a virgin nor in a manger. Jews don't believe in Jesus for Jesus didn't fulfill the messianic prophecies, didn't embody personal qualifications of the Messiah and Biblical verses "referring" to Jesus are mistranslations.
VIRGIN BIRTH MISTRANSLATION ... The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived from the verse in Isaiah 7:14 describing an "alma" as giving birth. The word "alma" has always meant young woman. Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as "virgin." This accords Jesus' birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals impregnated by gods. BORN IN A MANGER MISTRANSLATION ... in reference to Jesus' birth, Luke used the word kataluma, translated "guest room" in Luke 22:11 and Mark 14:14. The misconceptions of the circumstances of his birth result from a mistranslation of kataluma that means "guest room," not "inn," reflecting Western not Middle Eastern understanding of cultural factors involved. MESSIANIC PROPHECIES ... The Bible says that the Messiah will: (1) Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28). (2) Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6). (3) Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. It says: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4) (4) Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. It says: "God will be King over all the world -- on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One" (Zechariah 14:9). The historical fact is that Jesus fulfilled none of the Messianic Prophecies. In addition, the Messiah must be descended on his father's side from King David (see Genesis 49:10 and Isaiah 11:1). According to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had no father and thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father's side from King David.

W. McKenna from Florida writes:
December 25, 2008
Pastor Greg's poems are thoughtful, charming, wonderful -- I love reading them. They are timely and timeless. A great blessing. Merry Christmas and Happy 2009!

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PO BOOKS BY GREG ASIMAKOUPOULOS
Sunday Rhymes & Reasons
Published June 4, 2009

Sunday Rhymes and Reasons is a compilation of inspirational poetry by America's pastor/poet laureate, Greg Asimakoupoulos. In this, his third volume of poetry, Pastor Greg paints word pictures that portray both the struggle and fulfillment that define a life of faith. His repertoire of rhymes celebrate rite-of-passage occasions like birth, baptism, marriage and death as well as the major holidays of the church and culture. It is a volume that illustrates the poet's love of words and of popular culture. The author dips his brush into a paint box of hubris, humor and honesty.

"Gloria and I have been encouraged by word pictures from Greg's pen that have celebrated both our ministry and God's presence in our world."Bill Gaither, Gospel music composer/performer

"Gifted poet Greg Asimakoupoulos is a dear friend of our family. His poetry blesses, comforts, entertains, and provides inspiration for every season of life."Natalie Grant, singer/songwriter/recording artist

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Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
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A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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