The tree is all set
Packages piled at its base.
Telephone calls from the kids confirming
the times of dinner and church.
Nothing much left to do.
The Fed Ex guy just delivered the last late order.
I'll wrap it,
and then what?
Time on my hands.
Time to think.
What is this all about?
Christmas is about family,
gathering together to celebrate.
We do this in-gathering every year of our lives,
and come to associate this night
and the days around it
with the people closest to our hearts.
But always there is someone
who is no longer here,
who is still in our hearts but forever gone
from our embraces.
"Through the years,
we all will be together,
if the Fates allow."
What the songwriter doesn't say is
"the Fates will not allow it,"
because we are mortal beings,
and just as we all begin our journeys
as babies adored by mother and admirers,
we all will eventually be aches in the hearts
of those who miss us.
It is Christmas eve when the ache is the worst
And that is why we turn again to the baby,
to celebrate birth that soothes the aching heart,
that gives us reason to hope and dream,
that reminds us of the miracle of life,
and tells us by this annual gathering of family
that it is our very mortality that makes
life that begins as
Not in spite of, but because of our heartache,
this is a silent and holy night
in which, through adoration of a baby,
we celebrate life.