We lived on a windy moor. The house was new, unfinished and uncomfortable. We had no telephone, no heating, no electricity and even no running water. We had just come out of the Second World Massacre, and survived it. And Christmas came…

I remember. The good smell of fir cones, burning in the stove, and the curtains. A certain light on the ceiling, whiter than on the usual dawns. Someone rushed out of bed and drew the curtains wide open: «The Snow! …»

The snow had come, silently, a ravishing beauty descending from above, while we were sound asleep or deep in dreams. The snow was no dream: it turned the earth into a tale of wondrous lands. The trees stood there, mute companions, capped in whipped cream, brimming with our amazing bliss. And the chickens, dazzled, looked strangely drab and unsettled…

We lived on a windy moor. But the snow transfigured it into a land of infinite splendors. High above, silent geese in triangular squad headed north, and the robin opened a round eye, for the world had turned white overnight. And Christmas came…

We lived on a windy moor. Yet our parents did all they could, to make their home the cosiest home for us. The logs burned high in the large fireplaces. For our father chopped the wood for us. Delicious smells blended and wafted from the kitchen, where a pie looked comfortable in the oven. From the snowy landscape our father would bring back some fowl he had just shot; red blood on white snow heralded a savoury dinner. For our mother had worked it all for us.

We lived on a windy moor. And Christmas came…

Seven lanterns were trimmed and lined the porch, when dusk blotted out the suroundings. An owl hooted, alone, out of the wide grand night. The walk was a long one, down to the monastery, but a merciful moon appeared and painted the lanscape a dreamy blue. Once we had kicked off the snow from our boots, seven lanterns entered the chapel, ablaze with candles and chanting from the nuns’ choir. The mellow golden light also chanted for us, as the priest in his bejewelled cope, went incensing the newborn God, in a manger of golden straw. And Christmas came again…

When the midnight mass was all over, and time came to dive back into the dark blue cold, seven lanterns gleefully plodded along the Christmas night.

We lived on a windy moor and Heaven had come to us. When our mother opened wide the door of the dining room, a feast of splendors awaited us: candles glittered rubies, saphires and esmeralds on glasses and silverware, on the beautiful table that our mother had dressed for us. Out of the plain little ferns, ivy and holly leaves, she had crafted the most graceful ornament to sit in the center of the family meal. Before sitting around the magnificent dinner, the seven voices gathered close to the Crèche, united in thankful Christmas carols.
We had no electricity, no telephone, no running water and no other heating than the dancing flames in the fireplace. And Christmas came to us.

The years go by, the winds may blow, darkness and cold may flood our times, the seven lanterns still sing within my soul, angels dressed in snowflakes, chanting to the newborn God.
For Christmas came, once more.

Father Dominique+ – December 13th 2018


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