“Mom?” he said as I drove him to school.
“Where do all the yesterdays go?”
He was not quite seven.
How do they think of such things,
these fresh, unbridled minds?
Having, of course, no answer, I turned
the question back to him.
“Where do YOU think they go?”
He stared out the window for a bit, then said,
“I think they all gather together somewhere
and make a Great Secret.”
And to this day, I believe that is true.
At first, I thought it was patience,
the calmness I felt as I stood here
in the woods beneath gray skies,
fallen leaves and branches
at my feet, a green holly
standing before me.
But as I lingered, breathing
the cold, moist air, listening
to the silence, feeling
the life of trees, I knew
it was not patience—
for there was nothing
to endure, no expectation
of better moments
still to come. This,
this moment was all,
whole and perfect.
And this feeling
was the whispering of grace.
It could just come right out of the blue,
a revelation you never expected,
one thin, bright shaft of truth
that makes everything clear,
once and for all.
You never know.
The earth is asleep.
It’s up to the sky now
to hold all the colors,
the hues of the silken plumage
and petals. It does so,
luminously, just to remind us
that glory is not only possible
but irrepressible, even
in the dark and cold.
Then the rains came,
washing away the remnants
of the passing year,
washing away its anger
and its conflict, its pain
and loss, everything false,
dissolving them completely.
All it left were the tokens
of goodness, the miracles
and healings, the kindness,
the truths told, the reaching
for connection, everything
–and only those things–
born of love.
It’s strange weather for Christmas in these parts.
We’re used to snow, not fifty degrees and rain.
I like the snow. It pretties things up a bit.
Especially now that everybody will be taking
their Christmas lights down. It gets so dull
and seems so gray–don’t you think– without
the Christmas lights and snow?
Nah, his friend says. I just pretend I woke
up on a different planet. And I’m all curious,
trying to figure out what I’m seeing.
Just now, for instance, I glanced over there
(he says, pointing at a clump of moss
that’s climbing a cinder block wall)
See? See? It’s a piney forest of some kind
stretching up into a midnight sky.
But there are no stars. Maybe it’s the
moon lighting up the trees. What do you think?
The first guy squats down, peering at the moss
from eye level. I see stars, he says. They’re dull,
but I see them. He’s looking hard at it now.
Or maybe, he says, caught unawares in the game,
it’s just a different atmosphere
that doesn’t bounce back light.
The second old man grins. He sees that he caught
his friend, snatched him right out of his world.
No! I know what it is, he says, letting his pal
in on the joke. It’s moss growing on a cement wall,
putting on a show for two old fools.
And they laugh and walk on, Christmas lights
inside them that they have no intention
of ever taking down.
It was a silent night because there are no words.
Who could say its meaning? I heard a song
once that said for every child that’s born
the morning star sings. That night,
all the angel choirs sang. You can hear
them still, in your heart, in the core of you,
if you listen. It’s right there, beneath
your breath, pumping through your blood,
saying you belong to the Yes and are of it,
enveloped in its wondrous, infinite Love.
And all It asks is that you pass it on.
That’s its nature—to flow through
all creation, every speck of it,
even me, even you.
Just look at this glorious morning!
Can you feel the power of it? The softness?
Already you can tell that the hours
it’s bringing will hold wonder, miracles.
Already you are swept into a trance
of beauty, humbled by it, feeling
the grace on which it rides, your heart
buoyed, your spirit calm and knowing.
What more could you want
on a Christmas Eve morning?
God is good.
We are loved.
At dusk, the gloom of the day
suddenly gave way to a wash
of color in the western sky.
A blush of lavender and coral,
it seemed somehow a sign
of hope, a promise glowing
through the calm and silent air.
Christmas, I thought.
That’s what it’s saying.
That’s the promise.
That’s the hope.
on clouds of warm air,
a Yule gift, unexpected.
The house is fragrant
with the scent of pine,
and despite the bustle
of approaching holidays,