American Culture · American Literature · Classic · Excerpt · Passage · Poetry · Seasonal

Henry van Dyke

Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children; / to remember the weaknesses and lonliness of people who are growing old; / to stop asking how much your friends love you, and to ask yourself if you love them enough; / to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; / to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you; / to make a grave for your ugly thougts and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open? / Are you willing to do these things for a day? Then you are ready to keep Christmas! ― Henry van Dyke, from “Keeping Christmas,” Six Days of the Week. (NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1924 and 1952)

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