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Christmas Never Comes By Itself

Christmas never comes by itself
It always brings along its companions of prior years
Hanging this ornament on the tree, the one from years ago
This one that was my mother’s, 
That one the baby made in kindergarten, 30 years ago
We carefully nestle the Nutcracker among some ribbons
So you can’t see the place where it broke that one year
We always make that special cake that Nanna used to bake
But never turnips, because Papa was allergic, tho he’s been gone 6 years now
At Christmas, he is still here, we laugh telling the story for the thousandth time
When the candle wreath caught fire and he had to toss it outside in the snow
He moves through our gathering with the other family members long gone
Touching gently the angel figurine Great-grandmother brought over from the old country.
Christmases past – so many, one every single year! – are layered one on top of the other, on top of the other.
The years of joy, the years of sorrow, too.
Layers upon layers upon layers.
We say, enjoy this day, this Christmas will never come again.
But it will.
In the memories, the stories, the fragile ornaments and sturdy recipes
This Christmas will come again and again.

jfc 12-19-2018


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