Midnight, my 19-year-old pulled free the extension cord on the Christmas lights around our barn door and came in the house, banging snow from her boots.

On my bed, the cats pricked up their ears and hurried downstairs. I followed.

Cheeks flushed with full moon sledding down Mt. Mansfield, my daughter and I talked about the history of birth control — the political is personal — ate cold clementines, and fed the cats shreds of turkey from our fingers. Over our metal-roofed house, the moon made her silent, luminescently gorgeous way through the heavens. We turned off the lights and headed upstairs to bed. I parted the curtains and touched a single fingertip to the cold glass.

In this season of a new and vulnerable family on the move, of the ineffable mysteries of angels and holy gifts, a prayer for domestic peace, in odd and unexpected moments.

Christmas Eve, Hubbard Park, Montpelier, Vermont, 2018




By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.


  1. Merry Christmas to you all. I so very much appreciate your writing, reading your pieces every few days is like a meditation to my soul. Thank you very much for sharing so much and may you all have another wonderful year.

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