Ann Keiffer

Christmas Eve, 2020

A Christmas Eve like no other.
we turn the lights low,
light candles, share a favorite meal,
just the two of us, no place to go.
Afterwards, in the dark,
we sit close-to-close on the couch
to view a YouTube Christmas concert:
American Bach Soloists
performing Handel’s Messiah
at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
The music begins,
stirring, anticipatory.
The camera, an awed eye,
travels and lingers…
the majesty of the vaulted ceiling,
towering stained glass windows,
the stations of the cross,
sculptures and framed art,
massive hand-carved doors,
candles, crucifixes, the creche,
thrilling sound and faces
of singers and soloists,
conductor and orchestra.
A frisson of ecstasy, a sigh, again, again.
I sing along quietly with
the pieces I’ve sung and heard
so many Christmases of my life,
Comfort Ye My People,
And He Shall Purify,
all the way to the end,
Worthy Is The Lamb
and the Amen,
a vault of jewels, opened.
When the Hallelujah Chorus comes,
we rise, an aging couple,
our arms around each other’s waist,
and stand together in our home
as centuries of congregations
and audiences in churches
and concert halls have ever done.
All evening I feel wrapped
in soft, black-velvet fullness,
in our vintage love, in beauty.
Everything is complete.
When I go to bed, tears hover,
life’s sweetness on my tongue.
We will not always be here together,
experiencing what we could this night.
The prayer on my lips:
May I know the greatness
of all the small moments
that happen every day
and will not come again.

Ann Keiffer
December, 2020

Image: Google search, digital editing


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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