Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Eve, Older ( #PoetryMonday *)

Singing carols in church I recall
the advice of my high school
choir teacher and work
on exercising breath control
on the long Glooo-o-o-o-o-o-ooorias
rather than gasping for air
halfway through.
Still, the voice cracks
on the high side of “O Holy Night,”
the easy, clear tenor having been left behind
some years ago.

I mine my memories for the good ones
-- like searching a bag of candies for
that cream filled caramel --
comparing then to now, to complain about now.

Like, Christmas Eve was never a time for shopping.
The gifts were bought, wrapped, and under the tree.
Instead, we went to my grandparents
for a feast of family. Food, too.
Back home, on TV, we found Christmas caroling,
concerts, worship services, and more,
broadcasting the news that Jesus was born,
on channel after channel.
Even leading up to Christmas
there were movies, specials, and animated shows
all centering around the theme
of Christ breaking into the world with hope.
Later, I’d tune into the midnight mass
at St. Patrick’s coming live to Indiana
from the faraway land of NYC.
(I visited the church on my first trip
into The City and was awed.)

Now, shopping is all there is right up until the bitter end.
That and weather is the focus of the news.
The rest of TV is crowded with unholy sports and schmaltz
and movies that have nothing really at all
to do with the true Christmas story.
Any message of hope is as tenuous
as the weak, cookie-cutter story lines.
The St. Pat’s mass faded from TV years ago.
And Jesus? Who’s that? Macy’s insists
that we “Believe!” but in what or whom is
questionable. But it's yours for 50% off!

My grandparents are gone, the farm sold.
Gone too, mom and dad, several aunts and uncles,
and even a few cousins. New people populate
what gatherings there are, if there are

Yet, while the trappings have changed,
the center holds. At least for me. I know
the point of it all is to point our attention
to the miracle, the amazing grace
of Jesus come to rescue us from
a fate worse than death. This truth
is immutable. Immanuel! God with us!

It’s enough to take your breath away.

* Its PoMo! To learn about PoMo (POetry MOnday), click here.  
Okay, this is the obligatory Christmas-themed poem. It's raw, literally just written over yesterday and today. I'm sure it'll get tweaked over time. For now, enjoy and have a Merry Christmas. Any thoughts? Please share them in the comments!

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