Every Christmas eve, after dinner, my family gathers around the fire and each person reads aloud something that has inspired them this year. I share here one of my candidates for tonight’s reading – a poem by Mary Oliver from one of my favorite volumes – a 2007 collection edited by Roger Housden called Dancing with Joy. I wish you a holiday full of “the untrimmable light of the world, and the ocean’s shine.”

Mindful by Mary Oliver

Every day
I see or hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light
It is what I was born for –
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world –
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy
and acclamation
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant –
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these –
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?