Advent 23: Ghosts of Christmas past…

This post is from my friend Chris Fosten. I met him through poetry. Sometimes when you read a poem, you ‘meet’ somone and know instantly that you will like them and so it was with Chris. Here here talks about those Christmas days that are both normal and extraordinary at the same time. May we all make our own memories like these.

By the way, Chris has been a long time blogger, podcaster and has pubished a book of his poems here.

Photo by Jonathan Meyer on

I love Christmas, and I view anyone with any sort of visible Christmas lights as an ally. I’m sure that seems crazy to some, but it’s true: in the darkness, they are optimistically,  and sometimes over-enthusiastically, bringing joy. It’s been true since I was a child. I used to love sitting in the room with the Christmas tree, all lights off except those on the tree itself. I was entranced. Every evening, they are still the last things to switched off, and occasionally I still sit and marvel before flicking the switch. There’s a sort of happy abandon in coloured Christmas lights – a wilful joy breaching the darkness. I  love them – a visible, brazen, symbol of hope.

I think my memories of Christmases have quietly taught me that, while things are very much different now, what has always made Christmas is the people I am with. The people who, in quiet ways, have brought that joyful splash of colour into my life. The people who, to quote John, are “the light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.”

For me, the small, ordinary, things; the times of love and laughter, the shared significant moments, can be the fairy lights.

Photo by Kendall Hoopes on

Ghosts of Christmas past (iv)

There is nothing to do
but sit on the bench
watching the water.

Christmas even has come
with chill and rain
and this break in the storm.

We talk in staccato
bursts, laugh quietly,
making plans for the year

that we’ll never follow,
spotting birds we
cannot name.

Insulated from the cold
by the company,
we head home for tea.

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