Archive for the ‘Christ’ Tag

Christmases Past

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I am the little ‘angel’ on the left of the manger, in our church children’s program.

CHRISTMASES PAST

Trees that twinkled with shiny bright bulbs,

multi-colored lights and hanging tinsel.

Coloring books, crayons to pass the time

while waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Baby dolls scented like soft new latex

dressed in pink flannel pajamas.

Red and green ribbon we made into bows

draped from presents placed under the tree.

Sweet confections and peppermint candies,

with peanuts, apples, oranges; all wrapped

given to children in brown paper bags.

Popcorn balls, fudge, and sugar cookies

my parents made for us each year.

Christmas cards filled with tidings and cheer

mailed and received from friends far and near.

New taffeta dresses, black patent leather shoes

for Sunday services before each Christmas.

Soft white angel costumes and halos

I wore in school pageants and nativity programs.

‘Silent Night,’ and traditional carols

we sang under a cold wintry sky

‘Peace and goodwill to all the world,’

Are things I remember from Christmases past.

___________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2013

The Informant’s Agenda, Chapter XIV (14), ‘Jacob’s Story,’ continued (Part 4)

Chapter XIV, ‘Jacob’s Story’, continued (Part 4)

“After the war we didn’t know who we could trust again. Evil prevails in those with hate in their heart. It is not just with one kind of people, or one race, but with any. I believe there will always be those who choose to hate for whatever reasons.”

“I saw people who claimed to be Christians, but they betrayed us, or turned us away when we needed help. We were their neighbors, living side by side, but they were unforgiving of Jews who rejected the Messiah they preached about. There were some who turned their own gun on the Jews and shot them. But, there are stories of Jews who were protected and hid from their enemies, fed when hungry, clothed when stripped of their own. Some became martyrs and died alongside Jews when the Nazis came. I was young, but wise beyond my years.”

“Jacob, do you know if any of the collaborators; Romanians or Germans here involved in committing these atrocities were ever caught, or found?”

He shook his head, “No. I think most were never seen again. After the war, there was so much chaos, locating missing people, registering survivors, trying to treat and care for the afflicted I don’t think it was the thing that was foremost on people’s mind, until much later. I think the horrors of the war left everyone traumatized. There was some good that came out of it though like the Zionist movement and the birthing of the state of Israel. Their intelligence agency was born, and an army of trained fighters formed. I know they have hunted for the guilty involved in the deaths of the Jews. But, I don’t know if they have been entirely successful hunting them all down.”

“It seems hard to believe that there could still be any alive somewhere and walking free. How do you deal with all this, even now after so many years? Aren’t you bitter? Don’t you feel hatred for those who killed your family, and left you to die?”

“If I am to be the kind of person called by Messiah’s name to love as he loved, can I carry hate in my heart? He has called us to forgive, as he forgave his enemies. I admit it is difficult at times. But what is to be gained from hating? It is the evil of a darker force that walks among us, trying to destroy all that the Messiah died for. But, He was raised up, resurrected and lives so we would not have to walk through life with those shackles on, but be freed of them. That is the deliverance, the power we have as his children.”

“My Mother cried out to the Christian Messiah to help us, to save us from the soldiers who came for us. That is what changed us, Ms. Mengelder. No baptism, Torah, traditions or prayer shawl would have saved us from them. Out of our desperation we were given eternal life, and placed our trust in the one called Jesus, making him our Messiah. We prayed for deliverance, not just from the Nazis, but also for our soul.”

All I could do was nod my head in silent agreement and thank him for sharing his story. The park was still empty, no children on the playground, no one around to hear, or care what he had shared with me. Only the birds quietly perched on tree limbs as if with respect listened quietly too. We sat for a few moments just listening to the rustle of the trees, soft breezes blowing under a clear blue sky.

It made me shudder to think about the scattered remains and ashes of the thousands who died and suffered at the hands of their enemies, their graves we walked upon, the trees, flowers, parks, buildings and roads built above it all as if declaring that life does indeed go on, and one has to move forward.

It was hard to contain my own emotion, so didn’t even try. It was as if Jacob’s life was being replayed in slow motion before my very eyes like a repeat from a documentary on the History channel. His grandmother Magdalena, the sister to my great, great-grandfather Adam whom my family had tried so hard to locate could now be technically laid to rest, even if there was no grave we could find or visit.

_______________________

This is the end of chapter XIV, but the story will be continued with new chapters posted after Christmas.

Joyce E. Johnson (2013)

A Cross and a Tomb

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A CROSS AND A TOMB

A cross lays prone

on Golgotha’s Hill,

bloodied, scarred,

the body, gone.

A tomb sits empty,

a cold slab of stone

now bare but for the

shroud of one scorned.

An angel stands guard,

God’s messenger chosen.

“The Savior is not here.

He’s alive. He is risen!”

The gates of Heaven

shake thunderous acclaim to

the resurrected Christ, the crucified one,

Jesus, redeemer, sacrificed lamb.

Angelic hosts shout forth their praise,

“He is here. Glory to God!

Hallelujah, He reigns!”

His accusers stand silenced,

feeling shame, in awe.

“How could it be

that the one who was slain,

  the one proclaimed

to be King of Kings

now lives and reigns?”

“Surely He is the prophesied one!”

“Praise to the Father, and Praise to the Son!”

_________________

Poem by: Joyce E. Johnson (March, 2013)

Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson (2001)

Note: I took the above picture while on my trip to Israel in May, 2001 when my husband and I traveled to Jerusalem and other places in and around Israel with other members of our church. Seeing all the sites from biblical history and the birth and death place of Jesus with my own eyes was an unforgettable, moving experience.  This picture shows the actual place and tomb of Jesus’ burial after his crucifixion.

Redeeming the L…

Redeeming the Lost

 By: Joyce E. Johnson

The wandering lone man sat down by the track.

He could not hide nor change the fact

While watching people board the train,

That he smelled no better than the sewer drain.

His body sick, and tired in its shell,

Aching from the cold grew accustomed to the smell.

He could once pick from hats, and socks

When he stayed at the shelter down by the boat docks.

  But another man forced him outside on the stairs

 When it became crowded. Now his socks had tears.

He still had the marks from when he was beaten.

He lost count of the number of days he’d last eaten.

He could remember when he was young

Recalling the words from his mother that stung,

“I can’t keep you. Fend for yourself.”

Then left in a hurry with no food on the shelf

She packed and ran off with some strange man

Leaving him alone, saying, “I’m going with Stan.”

The experience turned his heart to stone.

He had no other place to live or call home.

He raised his head as if hearing a sound.

He’d fallen asleep on the damp, hard ground.

 Blinking with wonder what appeared was a vision

Stood a figure beside him; not scorn or derision

Helping him up from the ground where he lay

 His touch comforting, not a word did he say.

The sound of singing and joyful noise heard

From a candle lit hallway soft music spurred

Him to follow the angel into the light

Of a church that welcomed him to dinner this night.

A splintered old cross was raised on one wall,

       Loincloth and crown of thorns lay propped in the hall.

While seated and served in the banquet room,

He heard about a Savior, and an empty tomb.

From out of the clutches of despair and strife,

   Walked a wandering, lone man into redemption and life.

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