The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christmas Tears

Henry Van Dyke, 1912

Source: The Poems of Henry Van Dyke. London: Arthur F. Bird, 1925, pp. 253-254.

The day returns by which we date our years:
Day of the joy of giving,—that means love;
Day of the joy of living,—that means hope;
Day of the Royal Child,—and day that brings
To older hearts the gift of Christmas tears!

Look, how the candles twinkle through the tree,
The children shout when baby claps his hands,
The room is full of laughter and of song!
Your lips are smiling, dearest,—tell me why
Your eyes are brimming full of Christmas tears?

Was it a silent voice that joined the song?
A vanished face that glimmered once again
Among the happy circle round the tree?
Was it an unseen hand that touched your cheek
And brought the secret gift of Christmas tears?

Not dark and angry like the winter storm
Of selfish grief,—but full of starry gleams,
And soft and still that others may not weep,—
Dews of remembered happiness descend
To bless us with the gift of Christmas tears.

Ah, lose them not, dear heart,—life has no pearls
More pure than memories of joy love-shared.
See, while we count them one by one with prayer,
The Heavenly hope that lights the Christmas tree
Has made a rainbow in our Christmas tears!


Works which contain Christmas Prose from Henry Van Dyke:

The Lost Word - Christmas Stories

The Blue Flower

The First Christmas Tree

The Spirit of Christmas

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