I look back and remember. Come and peek into my world,
When candles softly glowed, the angel’s wings unfurled.
With childhoods eyes I waited for the feast on Christmas Eve,
Not food, or presents waiting but what little eyes perceive.
When dad would light the candles upon the Christmas tree
With my sister I would huddle and glorious beauty see.
It lasted a few moments (the flames could not be left)
And so this time of magic would leave us soon bereft.
But in our souls would linger the beauty of the sight
And in our hearts remember Christ was given on this night.
My memory stretches back to the early 50s, Christmas Eves. It was cold before the days of central heating and double glazing. The heat from the roaring coal fire in the living room did not extend to the hallway where the tree stood and my sister and I huddled together in our flannelette nighties and tightly bound dressing gowns. Furry slippers and wool socks guarded our feet from the drafts that slipped past the door stop, but we didn’t notice the cold, our eyes were glued to the metal clip on candle holders we’d helped arrange (being careful of nearby branches the candles might ignite.)
Dad, still dressed in his work clothes, struck a match to the box and the magic began. Tiny flames appeared reflecting their gleaming warmth off the baubles and tinsel as we stood in awe at its beauty respectfully keeping our distance (only dad was permitted this task). Mum came behind to hug us and for a few moments time stopped as we admired the tiny lights gleaming in the darkness. Then all too soon they began to die and dad blew them out making sure his family slept safe.
In the morning there would be presents to unwrap, hot chocolate, carols at the old piano, mum’s home made cake, mince pies and Christmas pudding to devour, but as a child The most special thing about Christmas was when dad lit the lights.
Childlike, I was sure that must have been the time Jesus was born, amidst the magic.
I had a surprise in store as I set off with my grandson, thick, white mist had shrouded the lakes, ducks and swans swam in suspended silver grey silhouettes floating magically in space as if in levitation. A goose rose on the wing creating dapples as defused sunlight beamed through in glory bathing all in a golden glow.
We both stopped awe struck. I don’t think I ever saw anything so beautiful. I wished I had my camera but realized a sight like this could not be captured by a mere lens.
Dropping off my grandson I returned soaking in the magic of creation as if walking in another world. Tree limbs contorted in green grey shadows like a primordial forest. I felt alone viewing the earth in its initial splendor, pristine, untouched. The gentle sound of lapping water added music to the ethereal background.
I wandered slowly breathing it all in as if somewhere inside it was soothing and cleansing. My worries dissipated, and the tinge of sadness that had assailed me yesterday was expunged as my heart began to sing recalling these wonders were ever prevailing, returning after man has had his way. I realized this, not the cities, politics, and strife, was the real world and it was beautiful!