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Hanukkah Candles on Christmas Eve

And the Light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it. — John 1:5

Throughout the night, the cold drew close,
And wrapped our home in shrouds of frost.
Within eight candles lent us light,
Returning to us what we’d lost.

Around us, all our village slept.
Our children safe, their breathing slow.
Eight candles gleamed beside the tree,
Their flames burned long, burned low.

Then all fell silent round my house.
The snow was blue, the shadows, slate.
You could almost hear the planet turn.
I stood bereft beside my gate.

Behind me, those I loved slept warm,
Protected by God’s endless grace.
Below me lay the village streets,
Wrapped in winter’s chill embrace.

The darkness waned, the morning loomed,
Within my house the fire grew bright.
But still I walked on fragile snow,
And prayed for greater light.

As a child I’d lived in dreams of stars,
Of Peace on Earth –life’s golden seal–
And This Night seemed, of all our nights,
The one when all such dreams were real.

Tonight I know this is not so.
The world is not as we would wish,
But as we make it, day by day,
And this is the mystery and the Gift.

The candles whisper of His Gift.
The stars reflect them high above.
The Gift is given to us again,
That we remember how to love.

for Justine Van der Leun — Mill Hill Drive, Southport, Connecticut, 1990

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • jwm December 24, 2017, 6:06 PM

    Misty eye and a lump in the throat for Christmas.
    Thank you, Gerard, that was wonderful. Blessings and a Merry Christmas to you and yours.


  • Bill Jones December 25, 2017, 12:06 AM


  • Howard Nelson December 25, 2017, 2:07 PM

    @ Bill Jones
    Do you hate freedom?
    Do you prefer tyranny?
    Do you despise Jesus the Jew?
    May God bless you.

  • dhmosquito December 25, 2017, 5:57 PM

    Howard Nelson: may God bless YOU.

    And no, I am not Jewish, as if that should make a difference.

    Merry Christmas!


  • bbirdwell December 24, 2018, 5:18 PM

    Luke 2:8-14. I prefer the King James Version. Or you can watch Linus recite it…

  • ghostsniper December 25, 2018, 4:06 AM

    Happy New Year!

  • Phil in Englewood December 25, 2018, 5:50 AM

    Merry Christmas, Gerard! Thanks for sharing your fascinating life as a Phoenix with Nine Lives. And Merry Christmas to your Mom and Editor Olivia.

  • Terry December 24, 2019, 7:33 AM

    Merry Christmas to all!