“A man is at his finest
towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be
when the Christmas season is here;
Then he’s thinking more of others
than he’s thought the months before,
And the laughter of his children
is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than
at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him
he comes close to the sublime.
When it’s Christmas man is bigger
and is better in his part;
He is keener for the service
that is prompted by the heart.
All the petty thoughts and narrow
seem to vanish for a while
And the true reward he’s seeking
is the glory of a smile.
Then for others he is toiling and
somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas he is almost
what God wanted him to be.
If I had to paint a picture of a man
I think I’d wait
Till he’d fought his selfish battles
and had put aside his hate.
I’d not catch him at his labors
when his thoughts are all of pelf,
On the long days and the dreary
when he’s striving for himself.
I’d not take him when he’s sneering,
when he’s scornful or depressed,
But I’d look for him at Christmas
when he’s shining at his best.
Man is ever in a struggle
and he’s oft misunderstood;
There are days the worst that’s in him
is the master of the good,
But at Christmas kindness rules him
and he puts himself aside
And his petty hates are vanquished
and his heart is opened wide.
Oh, I don’t know how to say it,
but somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas man is almost
what God sent him here to be.”
from Collected Verse of Edgar Guest
NY: Buccaneer Books, 1976
Thank you to all the South Bay residents, past and present, who submitted their holiday photos.