The Twelve Lights of Christmas
Light the first light of Christmas for thankfulness and prayer…
And everything you see and hear and feel and do.
Light the second light of Christmas for happiness and joy…
And be cheerful with everyday and everyone around.
Light the third light of Christmas for colors and music…
Gifts in people, gifts for people, gifts everywhere from God.
Light the fourth light of Christmas for thoughtfulness and love…
And be gentle and kind to all God’s people and animals.
Light the fifth light of Christmas for mercy…
So we can be forgiving and forgiving like our God.
Light the sixth light of Christmas for all miracles…
Like babies and Jesus and things
That happen like magic, but they’re not.
Light the seventh light of Christmas for understanding…
So we can have peace inside ourselves and all around the world.
Light the eighth light of Christmas for our Earth…
It’s the only planet where humans can survive.
Light the ninth light of Christmas for Heaven and Angels…
We can keep them all around us, everywhere, with goodness.
Light the tenth light of Christmas for life…
No matter how short or long it is,
It’s a wonderful blessing from God.
Light the eleventh light of Christmas for spirit…
The strongest part of us that rises out of death forever.
Light the twelfth light of Christmas for Heartsongs…
The glow inside of us that keeps the light of Christmas bright.
And when our hearts glow with the Lights of Christmas,
We will remember spirit and life and Heaven and Angels,
And Earth and understanding and miracles and mercy,
And thoughtfulness and love and colors and music,
And happiness and joy and thankfulness and prayer…
And become better people throughout the whole, entire year.
–Written by Mattie Stepanek, December 10, 1996. From the book Reflections of a Peacemaker, edited by Jennifer Smith Stepanek.
by Heidi Malott
I wanted to live
One hundred and one
But that is no
Longer my goal.
When I die,
I cannot predict.
I cannot control.
I cannot change
What is to be,
Which is what it is
And will be
What it will be.
I wanted to live
And not die.
While I’m alive,
To the fullest.
I treasure each sunrise.
I remember each sunset.
I dance every dance and
I sing every song and
I celebrate every moment.
I wanted to live
I am spending my time
On earth before death
Rather than dying,
And not wasting a moment
Of the precious gifts
Of time and
Of life and
Of being, for now.
–Mattie Stepanek, July 23, 2003
from Reflections of a Peacemaker: A Portrait Through Heartsongs by Mattie J.T. Stepanek, p. 14.
Note about author: Mattie J. T. Stepanek lived and died a child, but he had the spirit of a giant. Affected by a rare and fatal neuromuscular disease, Mattie lived almost fourteen years but in that time became a poet, best-selling author, peace activist, and a prominent voice for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Before his death in June 2004, his five volumes of Heartsongs poetry sold more than a million copies.
Let us be thankful for our material things in life:
Good food, our jobs, safe houses,
Clothing, and our prized belongings.
Let us be even more thankful for our lives:
The ability to have our friends
And family together today
To celebrate Thanksgiving,
And to celebrate all other days.
Let us be most thankful for you, God,
And for your grace.
Let us be ever thankful for heaven,
So that after our life on earth,
We may have eternity with God,
And with all those
Who have gone before us.
And with all those who will
Enter the Kingdom after us.
Let us be truly thankful
For the gift of each new day.
Help us to live thankfully throughout the year,
So that when our time comes for the gift of Eternity,
The eternal echo of our life here on earth
Will be a song of goodness worth remembering.
We ask these things in Your name
On this Thanksgiving Day.
–Thanksgiving Prayer, from “Reflections of Peacemaker” by Mattie J. T. Stepanek.