Right on Time–A Poem for the 12 Days of Christmas

by Cindy Johnson Harper 

In a world that is too busy year-round

is it any wonder that when we add

shopping wrapping decorating

cooking festive meals, baking special treats

crafting homemade gifts, addressing cards and

hosting fabulous parties while looking smashing ourselves

things can become a bit overwhelming

and we’re left feeling like the stage hands

for someone else’s Christmas play?

We commiserate with one another

asking what’s wrong with us, and why we can’t get in the spirit

so perfectly portrayed by the media this time of year,

while at our house the party outfit from last year

no longer fits, and it’s hard to find

two socks or gloves that match

and everything that’s a cheerier shade than gray

shows dog hair and or lint.

Take a tip from this weary

career-woman-wife-mom-grandmother aka elf …

if your Christmas spirit doesn’t catch flame

until you see the faces of family, friends and neighbors

illuminated by candle light in church on Christmas Eve

you’re not behind the curve

you are right on time;

while the rest of the world has been mistakenly celebrating Christmas

you, my friend, have correctly observed Advent

a season of preparation,

and your Twelve Days of Christmas

have just begun.

Claim them for your own

as the gift they were meant to be

a season of joy, celebration, reflection, wonder and light

the Boxing Days of the working class

twelve festive days to absorb the gift of a Savior

amid the perks of your labors,

twelve silent and holy nights.

Cindy Johnson Harper, December 2017

Cindy Harper’s poetry has been published in the journal, Art With Words Poetry Quarterly2010 Texas Poetry Calendar and in the poetry anthologies, Beyond Katrina and Amazing Grace. Her short nonfiction has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover’s Soul, II. She is the author of one chapbook titled Cactus Flowers and Cowboys. Cindy participates in a weekly poetry group facilitated by Certified Poetry Therapist and founding editor of the Texas Poetry Calendar, Lianne Mercer. Holding a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tarleton State University, Cindy is also an alumna of the Write to Publish conference held annually at Wheaton College in Illinois.