It was the day before Christmas,
And my house, was a tomb,
Feeling bigger than remembered.
No sound from any room.
My dad died seven years ago,
And Mom needs constant care.
She's living in a nursing home,
And I can't visit there.
I didn't hang the Christmas lights,
There are no gifts to share.
There'll be no tree on Christmas day,
My loved ones won't be there.
And so I'm heading up to bed,
Sleep takes the pain away,
But just before I lay me down,
I will kneel down and pray.
I ask the Lord to comfort me,
"Dear God, I'm so alone!
This Christmas makes me lonelier
Than I have ever known!"
So I turned off the bedroom light,
And slipped into a dream.
But was startled from my slumber,
By a strange ghostly gleam.
I woke up to see my father
Sitting beside my bed.
I thought that I was still asleep,
Or going mad instead.
When I asked how he could be there,
He looked back in surprise.
Unsure of what was happening,
Tears poured out of my eyes!
He hugged me like he used to do,
Then said: "Come follow me."
We walked into the living room,
That's where I saw the tree.
He asked if I could lend a hand,
Decorating that tree.
The scent of his favorite pipe
Smelled like perfume to me.
He took my hand into his own,
And squeezed it oh so tight.
I have missed my father's handshakes,
This brought me such delight.
We sat and talked into the night,
He shared why he was there.
The Lord saw every tear I cried,
And listened to my prayer.
"God let me visit in your dream,
To ease your lonely soul.
He saw the way your emptiness,
Began to take its toll."
He stayed until the midnight hour,
Then said "It's time for bed.
I will be watching over you,
Throughout the years ahead."
"And I'll return each Christmas Eve,
Until you find your love.
Then I will wait 'til you come home,
To Heaven up above."
When I woke up Christmas morning
I thought it was a dream,
Regardless of how real it felt,
Or how vivid it seemed.
A dream is only make believe,
The mind can do amazing things,
Out of desperation.
Then moping through the living room,
I found, waiting for me,
A pile of gifts there on the floor,
Beneath the Christmas tree.
I'm not as lonely as I was,
My faith in God has grown.
And when I dream on Christmas Eve,
I know I'm not alone.
This poem was a finalist in the December 2022 poetry contest