Silver birds and shiny bells,
Tiny hand blown figures
More fragile for each passing year.
Tenderly wrapped in paper,
Yellowed and crackling of age.
With each solstice, another is crumbled dust,
Fragments remaining as testimony
That before was an ornament,
Handed down four generations.
Canning jar lids painted clumsily.
Handprints on colored paper.
A clothespin cowboy with a pipe cleaner coil.
All crafted in wide-eyed love for Daddy.
Hung each season with pride.
Baby's first Christmas.
Two of them,
Purchased in the joy of initial sharing,
Kept to be shared in the passing down of generational remembrance.
Her once white robe yellowed and tattered,
Announcing the joy of the season from the highest height.
A star once brightly painted
Dulled with age,
Treasured still for its beacon of light.
These are the ghosts of Christmases past.
Tossed aside as valueless.
Victims of a tumult of change and ending.
The M.I.A. of a war not of their choosing.
Innocents killed in the fury of vengeance?
Casualties of the last act of control?
Silent symbols with pointing fingers?
Life and of love flung away as though their matter meant naught.
And now it is Christmas again.
My bitterness could know no bounds.
My sorrow could be inconsolable.
You cannot destroy the love with which they were saved and crafted.
You cannot remove the blocks of heart they filled.
You cannot force me to never love again.
They live in the bright laughter of children.
They exist in the exultant lift of carols into the night.
They exist in the joy of a newly heralded celebration.
They continue unabated,
The Ghost of Christmas future has no terror for me.
The Ghosts of Christmas past only serve to remind me
That the Ghost of Christmas present lives and laughs and celebrates,
Memories abide not in things,
But in the things those things represent.
The glass may be shattered.
The careful crafting may be thrown aside.
The very messengers of heaven may be flung to the far corners.
Faith abides in hope.
Hope flourishes in love.
Love overcomes all.
In the end, that is the meaning of Christmas.