During the past month, I’ve spent several hours organizing my late husband’s poetry. His thought processes in saving work on the computer and the title of the poem often confounded me. Ex: computer file: “maple sentries”; the title of the poem: “A Delaware Drive.” My goal was to have a book with all his poems and to have them all in a single computer folder listed by title.
While I was frustrated sometimes when I couldn’t find a poem, it was also fun to find a poem that I’d never read or forgotten. I found ones that he’d begun to edit. I corrected the file as he’d planned, and truthfully, I did a few minor edits of my own–ones I’m relatively sure he’d have approved of.
Richard began writing Christmas poems in 1976, which was not a banner year for us. Richard suffered a heart attack, I totaled our car, and our son had been hurt, although not badly, when a lawn tractor ran over his legs. Only our daughter survived the year without mishap. These events were not something for the traditional Christmas letter. I demanded that Richard write a poem. I’d like to share it with you.
THE GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS 1976:
The Peace of which the angels sang be within your heart,
your home, your private thoughts,
your neighborhood, and
The Hope for which Isaiah was read be part of your
life-style, part of your attitudes of
the future, your notions of aging,
your ideas of dying.
The Joy for which the Bells rang in our Sanctuary be
deep in your consciousness, surrounding
your petty annoyances and your
The Dream expressed in the “Birth Scene” by the two young
children be more real, become more alive,
develop into a direction for
your growing spirit.
The Idealism of the Christmas Cards and Carols become
your goals freely shared, your intentions
openly spoken, you wishes
The Direction initiated by the Christ Child become
our priority, our national policy, our
corporate goal, our international
mandate, our global evolution.
The Christmas Spirit so briskly and perfectly rekindled in
December become our adult agenda,
our congregational purpose, our
plan of action.
The Feelings of goodwill, warm fellowship, mutual
acceptance and the glow of the Spirit
actually change and convert all of
us into His likeness.
The love of God defined by the manger and explained by
the Cross envelope you personally, individually,
and that Love be as real and as close
to you as the present.
Richard E. Lake