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This poem, to my mind, strikes the perfect balance of warmth and melancholy. Every Christmas brings its own joys — new experiences, additions to the family, homecomings. But for so many, Christmas also is a time to remember those who have left us and the inevitable march of time. From “Christmas Memories” —

When the merry chimes of Christmas
Echoed softly through the night,
When memories were woven
With snow and candlelight.

This is another poem about gathering at Christmas that resonated with me: On forgiveness, sadness, love, and joy, from Charles MacKay’s “Under the Holly Bow” —

Let not the useless sorrow
Pursue you night and morrow,
If e’er you hoped, hope now.

Photo by Angela Mapes Turner

Photo by Angela Mapes Turner

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