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