I have decked the hall.
The tree (how lovely are thy branches) trimmed in silver swags and cranberry beads, jewelled with gold and crimson baubles, is topped by an ancient star.
Red stockings hang below the mantel, where wooden soldiers painted bright scarlet stand at attention among the candles and the green -- next to the small plain figure of a Canadian peacekeeper.
And the picture of my son in dull combat gear in Afghanistan where he stood hill watch one cold and starlit Christmastide.
My shopping is done. Tomorrow I'll bake with chocolate and cherries and sugar and wrap the remaining presents in happy paper.
Each Christmas Eve, after the stockings have been filled with frivolous things, I sit in the dark beside the tree, like a shepherd.
Listening to the stillness, the silence, the waiting.
Listening to the mystery.
For the moment when the crystal globe of midnight is shattered by the golden, excelsis, adoramus of a song and a star.
Steve Malley, in a December 17 post, advises writers to "set important scenes at seminal times of day: sunset, dawn, high noon, midnight."
The Christmas story is a perfect manual for writers.
Posts on this blog may be erratic or entirely absent over the holidays, but will certainly return by the New Year.
You cannot know how much your gifts of encouragement have meant to me.
I wish you a blessed Christmas. I wish you glitter and glory and good tidings in the New Year.
But mostly, I wish you joy.