The years have chosen to abrade
the paper angel Grandma made
that year when Christmas cheer was thin,
because for weeks we were snowed in.
Even Santa ceased his action
for his reindeer had no traction.
Weeks of snow and sleet and fog
even kept the catalogue
from providing a Christmas doll
when Santa couldn’t come at all.
And so the holidays that year
did not reflect our usual cheer.
No tree, no lights, no heavenly choir,
our only heat a roaring fire.
We kids complained to Mom and Dad
and by Christmas Eve, they’d had
as much of kids as they could stand
and that’s when Grandma took a hand.
Her silver scissors nipped and flew
creating something that was new—
a Christmas angel feathery light
that floated that December night
above our heads in fire glow,
hung by a string, rotating slow
around the room with wafting wings
descending from above on strings.
And from the dark a heavenly song
prompted us to sing along.
My Grandma led, with timorous voice
that song that always was her choice:
“Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, and all is bright.
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child.
Holy infant so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Sleep in heavenly peace.”
One by one, we entered in,
our voices first halting and thin,
but when my Grandma chimed a bell,
our family choir began to swell
up to the ceiling, throughout the room,
dispelling darkness, cold and gloom.
Mom made cocoa on the coals
while Dad made popcorn, filling bowls
we strung on thread to deck our halls
from curtain rods to lamps to walls,
along with paper snowflakes that
twirled on their strings to tease the cat.
In the firelight’s magic glow,
they made things magical and so
every normal Christmas since,
we love our turkey and pies of mince,
Christmas presents to poke and squeeze,
bubble lights and towering trees,
but what’s most special is when Pop
puts Grandma’s angel on the top
of the tree covered in flakes
and popcorn strings the family makes.
And when we sing her special song,
if angels sing, she’ll sing along.