by Rita Goodgame
St. Peter’s Abbey
rests a small cemetery
where families gather in
flickered darkness and stand
in silence beside grave sites of
deceased relatives. Small Christmas
trees with burning tapers adorn the graves
and cast shadows upon solemn faces. Evergreen
berry wreaths with reflective votives adorn ornate
crosses and gilded vaults. Enveloped in the solemnity of this
gathering, we steady against a small chapel door for shelter from the
falling snow. For one solemn hour, strains of Christmas music sound from
the monastery high in the cliffs above the cemetery.
A faint drone is audible; voices hum with the music, no lyrics … only low
soft tones embrace echoes flowing from the monastery.
We join in this prayerful sound while elderly and young smile through tears
as they present this holy Christmas gift to their remembered families.
A beautiful gift, indeed.
When the hour ends
we remain until the cemetery
is deserted. Only small fading
candles remain. We listen to joyful
expressions mixed with laughter
as the crowd journeys toward home for Christmas Eve celebrations.
We stand with our children and grandchildren as the dark, cold night truly is
Oh Silent … Holy Night!
Post and photo © 2009 by Rita Goodgame. Used with permission. All rights reserved.