I will never ask for trappings hung
in garish contrast,
or excesses filled to overflowing,
while Mephistopheles patiently bides his time,
waiting to collect the debt.
I will never mistake shock at wanton gaudiness for wonder
or mislabel indignant, misanthropic trinkets as favour.
For rare and rarer still ,
are the times spent reminiscing with old men,
while aromas of spices and roast meat
fill a home that has no corner
left undiscovered by tiny eyes.
For with each succeeding generation
the politics of the day
bear ill-tidings, misshapen and inbred
and call them by familiar names,
“Care” and “Charity” and “Hope”.
Yet, the Spirit lives.
For many are called to shed that warm hearth for service.
Behind badge, or smock or helmet, they answer the call.
Sea and air and land do stay protected;
while we open another bottle,
fill our plate with a second helping
and tuck in sleepy children
whose eyes have beheld their wildest dreams incarnate.
I will never forget that tiny babe,
nor that manger scene,
that saved us from the world
on bloody Calvary.
Likewise I will never forget
a child’s Christmas morning,
discovering that love and wonder
were tangible things, able to be made manifest.
With the turning of the year,
we celebrate victory;
The Son over the world,
we over ourselves.
For renewing our fortitude,
a better time there has never been.
So, I will not allow my spirit
to be misled by the foxes and the owls.
Nor shall hawkers, shamans, or charlatans
part me from my past with false traditions.
I, for one, will hold to something simple
and strip these tawdry baubles from my mantle,
and sit and talk and share of my brief time.
I have no more precious gift than my presence,
I receive no greater gift in kind.