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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 all we’d lost.

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

Then all fell silent round my house.
The snow shone blue, the shadows, slate.
You could almost hear the planet turn.
I stood alone 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.
Outside 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 those 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 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!

  • ghostsniper December 24, 2020, 3:30 PM

    And to all a good night!

  • Terry December 24, 2020, 5:09 PM

    And for this Christmas eve I would really enjoy an eggnog with a stiff shot of brandy. But. But I quit drinking about fifteen years back. And I think if I took a drink as things are now I would not stop till I died.

  • jwm December 24, 2020, 5:09 PM

    Haven’t dropped a comment here, or anywhere in quite a while. Just lurking without much of anything to say.
    Thank you, Gerard, for the content these last weeks. It’s been the only thing I can stand to see on-line, and it has been a blessing.
    To all the regular gang here, a very Merry Christmas.
    God Bless.


  • ghostsniper December 24, 2020, 6:13 PM

    Was wondering where you’d been lately John.
    Don’t do that again.

  • Jewel December 24, 2020, 8:24 PM

    It’s interesting to me,the difference between my Catholic sense, and my former Protestant sense. In the latter, God approaches all with Good will toward men, magnanimous band universal to all, while in the former, He is seeking men of good will, which tells me he might find them or not. I think both are correct.

  • Anne December 24, 2020, 8:51 PM

    Dear Gerard:
    Thank you so much–more than you know–for this safe harbor. You keep the light on always and I am grateful. It helps me to find a safe shore.

    I am not a weak person, but I am an ordinary human being. I have learned that courage is never there permanently. It is something each human being must will for themself every minute of every day. You water and feed it every day. Each person needs to learn to manage courage–to train it and then to restrain it. To keep it ever prepared, but not always visible. Along the way we can only accomplish this with the caring guidance of wise masters of whom you are one.
    Thank you.
    Merry Christmas to all here. We will have a great new year together!

  • ghostsniper December 25, 2020, 4:36 AM

    I’m waiting for the one where the little kid falls into the ocean of presents.

  • Motus December 25, 2020, 4:37 AM


    Merry Christmas Gerard

  • Stargazer December 25, 2020, 5:34 AM

    Merry Christmas y’all.

  • jd December 25, 2020, 6:07 AM

    Thank you for all your beautiful words, Gerard.
    My best wishes for a blessed Christmas.

  • Snakepit Kansas December 25, 2020, 7:12 AM

    Fantastic group here. An always uplifting daily stop. Merry Christmas all.