Night of Promises

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All month long I’m going to be hosting the posts of other people as part of my 2015 Giftmas Blog Tour. All the guest bloggers are welcome to write about anything they’d like so long as their post touched on a December holiday in some way, no matter how tangentially. The blog tour extends beyond my blog as well, and I will do my best to link to each external post from the here and share them on social media using the hashtag #GiftmasTour.

But wait! There’s more!

We’re also giving away a whole whack of prizes (check out the list here) which you can enter to win using the Rafflecoper code below. Whatever December holiday you celebrate (or don’t) winning a stack of books will make it better!

Night of Promises

by Fred Warren

Beneath soul-crushing darkness, a chill, silent shroud blankets the earth
We are alone, shivering, hungry, stalked by ravening despair among the barren trees
We glance upward and notice the stars, distant gems scattered across the inky abyss
One stands out, brighter than the rest—there, in the east!
And we remember an ancient promise that night will have its end

We hasten to fill our dwelling with brave little motes of light
Candles and lamps, shouting against the darkness, tiny echoes of the celestial vision
They flicker and dance, shimmer and shine
We feel a bit braver now, watching them
And we remember an ancient promise that winter’s death-grip will not endure

We wrestle a gnarled oaken burl from our meager woodpile and set it ablaze
Warmth overflows the hearth, searing cheeks, thawing fingers, toasting toes
Huddling around the fire, absorbing the heat of its growling, spitting defiance
We wonder why we ever feared the cold
And we remember an ancient promise that the frozen earth will live again

We raid the cellars, larders, and pantries for a feast–we will not stint!
Aromas fill the air, sweet and savory, cinnamon and nutmeg, sage and rosemary
They enfold us as we eat, drink, and laugh in fellowship generous and loud
We banish hunger from our midst this night
And, once more, we remember an ancient promise that we will not be abandoned

We gather close together–family, friends, and the wanderers among us
Sharing gifts of love, gaily wrapped, freely given, gratefully received
See here! Look at this! Thank you! How wonderful!
We feel our loneliness overwhelmed, melting away; we share a song of joy
And we wonder at promises made and promises kept

Afterward, tired and happy, we drift off into sleep
Caressed by candlelight’s soft glow, safe and warm, comforted, wrapped in love
Yes, on this night, of all nights, we will not despair
For we are here, all of us, together
And we remember

Fred Warren writes science fiction and fantasy, with over thirty published works of short fiction. His first novel, The Muse, debuted in November 2009 from Splashdown Books, followed by a collection of his short stories, Odd Little Miracles, in July 2011, and The Seer, a sequel to The Muse, in October 2011. He works as a military contractor in eastern Kansas, where he lives with his wife and three children. He’s probably shoveling snow by starlight right now. You can find him online at http://frederation.wordpress.com.
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