The mantelpiece is bare once more,
the greetings cards consigned to trash;
the baubles boxed, the lights rewound,
the tree-stand void, the tinsel stashed
up in the loft till advent next
when holly wreaths are hung on doors
and children’s eyes with wonder shine
anticipating Santa Claus.
The bareness of the entrance hall,
the dining room and living space
conveys a melancholy note
of emptiness so out of place
with all the fullness Christmas brought –
the well-worn anecdotes retold,
the beer and wine and fire alight
to drive away the winter’s cold.
The fire still burns, but strangely now
it seems less bright, less full, less strong;
the crackling of the kindling wood
competes no more with laughter’s song.
The children’s voices taken home;
their giddy shrieks of joy no more
cut through the morning’s fragile peace,
through front-room ceiling, bedroom floor.
The Christmas feast is over now
and life returns from gold and green
and vibrant red to winter’s grey;
to tasks mundane and chores routine.
The New Year seeks to cheer the soul
with whispers of a future fine –
of dreams fulfilled and waistlines slim
and holidays in white sunshine.
Praise God that in the Bible lies
a deeper hope than sun-kissed shore;
the echo of the angel’s song
reverberates with hints that more
is offered by the God of love
who gave a gift far beyond price –
forgiveness and eternal life
to all who trust in Jesus Christ.
by Mark Dunstan
Copyright © 2017, Till We Have Faces Music