Simple

You hung the sun and the moon like ornaments across the sky
Injected pine trees with Christmas
Candy caned peppermint sticks leaving a coolness in time that can never be taken away

By fear
By work
By stress
By growing up
By adulting

Remember when Merry Christmas wasn’t so offensive
When everyone seemed to have Christmas trees
When Christmas lights were more rainbow colored than white LEDs
When Christmas morning smelled fresh

Peaceful
Silent
Calm
Filled with joy

More presence than presents
More food and family over credit card debts and consumption
More getting lost in wonder over wondering about making sense
More…
It’s ok to make mistakes than mistaking success for trying to live up to unrealistic expectations 

When shooting your eye out and double dog daring your friends were the only forms of extreme terrorism we knew about

I remember when Christmas was simple
When the first Christmas was simple
When religion was simple
Your love
Simple 

I never got it
Couldn’t quite comprehend it
Confused like the English language
I would always scratch my head at the concept of
The King becoming a servant.

You became a servant

And speaking of which, isn’t it true
That we want the Kingdom without the King
Progress with no patience
Benevolence from a distance
Strings attached to our sentiment

We’re still erecting
Selfish Towers of Babel
Wondr’ing where God is

God is simple 

Playing parachute with the oceans causing the waves to high five humanity
Chiseling the galaxies with connect the dot worksheets that we magnet onto our refrigerators
Whittling stories of flying reindeer and a generous jolly old man just so we can breathe out child-like curiosity 

We lost our curiosity 

We lost our willingness to look out of place just to discover a compelling story
We were ok that our backyard booby traps never caught anything
Our rolled up dirt bombs that we’d throw at one another until the street lights came on
Our cardboard boxed houses that kept falling down, only to be remedied by duct tape

Because there was never a problem that duct tape couldn’t fix

And like the overpowering adhesive that saved our innocent playtime

You swaddled Yourself child-like
Wrapped us under the wings of your astronomical arms and became us
Moved into the neighborhood and dwelt with us
Told us You loved us
Gave up royalty for obscurity, You adjusted, and became position-less
Traded in Your riches for rags
You vacated Your palace for a pacifier
And You turned to the heavenly’s and said, “I’ll be right back.”

“I’ve got work to do.”

“I’ve got love to do.”

And maybe 

Just maybe

This time around

We can keep Your love simple, too

Not the Home I Once Knew

I used to love you.

Adored you.

Wanted to be just like you.

You let me into your home.
Your home became my home.
Beautiful.
Craftsman Victorian.
Polished.
The kind draped on the covers of magazines across the world.

You taught me about your food.
Your clothing.
Your music.
Your slang.
You gave me a chance.
You taught me how to live.

But you eventually left me hanging like rosary necklaces wrapped around generations of innocence left longing for hope.

You majored in sin and you didn’t even know it.

You became a modern day Caesar,
convincing Christians
to fight for king and country,
all the while degrading basic human decency.

God in me weeps uncontrollably.

He floods cities to bring people together,
but your entitlement floods division into the cities
already torn apart.

Your screeches slip looser than serpentine belts.

Your religious hypocrisy is just a regurgitated oratorical form of colonialism.

Your name…
Your name used to sweet talk
even the hardest of felons,
but the way you shackle my freedom
feels like rusted braces
scratching the insides of my mouth.

Your canker soars past sidewalk chalk outlines of dandelion dreams.

Crushed.

Blown in the wind.

The flag that waves above your mantle points to the secret rooms hidden behind your bookcases.

Your barrels still smell of burnt metal.
And you caress them tightly
every time I mourn another
And another
And another

I don’t want to ban your guns.
I just want to ban your ability to take away our sons
And our daughters.
He…
He wanted to write captivating words just like me.
She…
She wanted to paint succulents in teacups because they lasted longer that way.

And his cousin,
She just wanted to play too.
She wanted to taste your food
and learn your slang
just like you once taught me.
She wanted a home.
She wanted to be home.
She wanted her own room
and a place to play dolls
with her make believe friends.
But you locked her away in your basement,
while her parents peered,
in horror,
through your front porch window.

You’re more Herod than you are Christian,
misquoting Scriptures to justify your separation.

And you have the audacity to claim my God?

My God…
who came to preach good news to the poor.
My God who came to heal the brokenhearted,
My God…
who came to proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
My God who came to free the oppressed.
My God…
whose name you’ve taken in vain.

Your empty praises
are centuries of Molotov cocktails,
getting drunk on religious idolatry.

Sometimes it feels more like I’m being locked in
than you keeping people out.
And who puts barbed wire
on white picket fences anyway?

It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who once said,
“The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.”

No wonder I don’t recognize this Craftsman anymore.
This Victorian, draping its rusted pipes around the necks of little boys and little girls, has become a mansion haunting tourists for its own pleasure.

This home isn’t what I once knew.

But it’s not like I can just pick up and leave.
It’s not that easy.
So, I’m here.
Standing firm on your front porch.
And, yes, I am not going anywhere.
So, go ahead.
Take your best shot.