There are so many ways we show life:
A wedding ring, spun in nervousness;
Biking at top speed down the big hill;
The family gently shuffling pinochle.
Every smile and clap on the shoulder,
wistful sighs from lovers, states apart.
We proclaim life in each season alike,
our scenes born to catch and categorize.
But there's something special about it,
this six-week span of goodwill to men.
The life that we celebrate is lighter,
New tragedies that we endure, heavier.
There's no shine as bright as the star,
and no shadow as dark as the future
of a child, born to die, bringing life,
the darkness entwined with the light.
The life, and the death, his and ours,
seen so violently, so vividly broken,
burning our feet on the ashes of our
own coals, the fires of our own hearts
that so celebrate life, so cause deaths.
And mourning, that act so conflicted:
to celebrate life or to weep for it, now,
the impervious presence of constancy.
For to see the whole scope of life is
a reminder that we will eventually not
be alive, no matter how we celebrate.
Still, not a reason to celebrate quietly.
We can reverence the giver of life and,
yes, even death (even over our brights,
the brightest time some see while here)
to know that no matter what comes,
he has seen, and known, and felt it.
Born, saw death, mourned, and died
like a star, celebrating life over all death,
that necessary dark flag for stars to shine,
still there, but not the main point. No more.
We celebrate life with our hands and heart
a flag waved, a candle lit, a feeling known:
death to die, notice served on Christmas.
Stephen Carradini is a writer and musician from Oklahoma who currently resides in Alabama.