Tomorrow it will all be gone –
This room prepared two weeks ago
By Cliff and Ellen and Rachel.
The Christmas tree lights twinkling in the corner,
Hanging symbols of greenery, lanterns, wreaths;
The accumulation of past decades
Leaving a purpose of family unity
And the memories of past Nativities.

There is a small creche by the fireside –
Baskets of cones and coloured balls;
A miniature village with figures, all lovingly collected and displayed,
While the details are not important to the Christmas Eve gatherers
So long as the essence of past Nativities is preserved,
For all who gather here were participants of the past
And will continue to meet until the house is sold.
Oh memories! So dear, so deep.

This symbol of the higher level that our flawed World can reach
Enduring love, each merged into the group, each united with the purpose
And each carrying away a part of the treasure
To hold and to keep forever.

Tomorrow all the decorations will be taken down and stored away
Back into boxes in the cupboard beneath the stairs
And the room will revert to its everyday appearance
With the gatherers dispersed, the gathering will be fragmented
Into discrete parts, to be re-called at moments of reflection
Fleetingly, longingly, sadly, casually, cheerfully
As the numbered days proceed to a distant fulfilment.

I sit alone feeling the atmosphere
Aware of the depths of the past years
In my reverie of the present
Wanting it to be forever
But knowing the years are closing in,
Grateful that I have been a part
Of this joyous tradition.

4 January 2018