December came with grim aplomb, and I in hiding
From screaming carts down shopping aisles, the alarming
Wreaths with fragrant graveside cheer, and Marley unchained,
Playing false, outdone by someone else’s fireside hearth
And ham and pudding and drinks strung out like cards
Upon a fraying thread and skewers of mercilessly toasted goodwill.
Somewhere a child cries, silence falls, and sputtering, the eruptions
Begin again until the wearied season dies a strangled death
Of colored lights.
I am no Scrooge to cry “Humbug!” and gladly would the season
Cheer but that the ghosts of Christmases past have failed to melt
The stony heart, have instead encased it in icy blasts that speak
Of days unwarmed by hope that some in Bethlehem’s manger found.
I would so look to find, so tread the pew-filled aisles, so fly open
The holy script to reveal a silent night divine to my own gaze.
But I’ll see you on a cold-eyed morn in haste to greet the darkness
With merry cheer. It avails you scarce goodwill from me or mine.
Such holy fear as gripped the hillside night two thousand years ago,
When men were abuzz with the angel-heralded news of a Savior born,
This holy fear, this unfettered joy I would discover one glorious endless dawn.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”