A Child Once Asked

A child once asked what Christmas was
Why everybody changed
talking to each other,
growing friendly, less constrained?
Why houses decked with sprigs of holly glowed with coloured light
And carollers went singing, wrapped up against the night?

A child once asked what Christmas was
Why people ventured out
Gathering cones and mistletoe
Happy, free from doubt?
Visiting their neighbours who they hadn’t seen all year
Smiling, laughing, hugging, filled with warmth and cheer?

A child once asked what Christmas was
And why such change is wrought
So that people appeared different
Less troubled and less fraught?
Finding time for friends and family – and for strangers, too
And why this milk of kindness doesn’t last the whole year through?

The wise man had no simple words
No quick answer sprang to mind
As to how this festive spirit
affected all mankind
He thought of the Nativity, those early Christian rhymes
But realised this conundrum went back to earlier times

For how can one say honestly
or truthfully explain
That these traits of human goodness,
concern for other’s pain,
generosity, good humour – why would one ever say
should happen only once a year when we need them every day?

Well, until that time arrives, he thought
(as if it ever would)
We need some inspiration
A reason why we should
at least attempt to show the world the best we have to give
and if we call that Christmas, then long may Christmas live.

© Pip Burley, December 2012

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