The Christmas Shopping List


For My Wife

The stockings are not complete,
Nor my inner Christmas lights,
Vaguely dim and bittersweet,
Until I’ve gone late one night,
To purchase your tampons,
And find more Marlboro lights,
To lay beneath our artificial tree,
While your red lip stick,
Dries on my cheeks,
I add Margarita mix,
To the Christmas List,
I’ll buy all the Midol,
And get the Diet Rite,
Mix the champagne and eggnog,
And find your sisters Salem Lights,
As the lights descend,
Chaos hovers,
I still love you.

–Richard Bryant

Santa Claus vs. Jesus

A Merry Xmas - Santa holding Jesus

For Christmas, I need to wait these many days,
My story is one that must be told while I pace,
Round the busy aisles, hours, rows, and ways,
Between here and now, a time, one moment in space,
And the expected ending of the Santa and Jesus race,
Our tribe pretends to know not how it ends,
Who arrives first and is born without sin,
Who wears red and moves to the cookie bin,
This subtle game outwardly extends,
From church, home, to school and back again,
Is the elf winning or does the child stand a chance?
Since late on Thanksgiving I’ve seen no evidence,
Beards, hats, belts, and sleighs are found in abundance,
No baby is heard offering a mystical indulgence.
Eight strapping reindeer have no pregnant mother to carry,
Perhaps Joseph was left behind, a mere Holy functionary,
Remaining in Nazareth to carve figures of Santa from pieces of Cherry,
While his wife Mary attempts to be Merry,
And their son Jesus writes letters to a magical elf,
To convince him to send a strange doll to put on the shelf.
This must be why Jesus is absent,
This is the purpose of Advent,
How can I see who’s not been sent,
So I’ve been told,
He’s getting ready to save my soul,
Though Santa’s Claus has a powerful hold,
But he’s not the greatest story ever told.
He just a guy who’s always been old.

–Richard Bryant

A Visit from Saint John of Wesley (An Adaption of “The Night Before Christmas”)


An adaptation of Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from Saint Nicholas”

A Visit from Saint John of Wesley

Twas the Night before Christmas, When all through the church
Not a Heretic was stirring, gone from their perch;
The stockings were hung, the fireplace was bare;
In the hope that Saint John would soon be there;
The Puritans were nestled all snug in their beliefs,
With visions of Asbury singing so sweet;
And Mama in her gender role and I in my miter,
Had just settled an argument to see who was righter.
When I said Whitfield, not Calvin, there came loud clatter;
I sprang from my knees, to see what was the matter;
Away to the window, not wanting to seem rash;
For dignified Methodists are rarely ones to dash;
The moon shone bright on the convoy below;
It looked like moving day, except in the snow.
What to my laser corrected eyes appeared;
But a horse riding preacher with a goatee beard;
A little old rider, so short and testy;
I knew in a moment it was Saint John of Wesley;
More rapid than angels his praise band came;
And as he whistled, he introduced their names;
“Now Perfection! Now, Sanctification! Now Traditional Marriage!
On Discipline! On Covenant and on Inerrant!
To the top of the Conference, please heed my call;
If you disagree, dash away, dash away, all;
As I drew in my head and turned around;
Down the chimney, St. Wesley fell without a sound.
He was dressed in black, from his head to his feet;
And his face was a clean as a chimney sweep’s;
Books of Discipline were bundled on his back;
And he looked like a salesman, opening his pack,
His eyes, how they stared, like they could not care;
I already owned a Discipline and didn’t need a spare;
Nor did I need St. John of Wesley to pray for my soul;
My feet and head were already cold;
And I laughed when I saw him, despite myself;
For this reforming Englishman was no jolly elf,
With a wink of his eye and a page from his Bible,
He offered me a Covenant that promised revival;
I looked, thought, and ran words through my head;
No, I wouldn’t sign, this gave me too much dread;
He spoke not a word and left me for other work;
“I can’t do this Saint John, I see no real perks;”
And with no adieu, he gave the band a whistle;
And away they flew like an evangelical missile.
But I heard him exclaim, as he rode out sight;
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Richard Bryant

For Jordan, My Daughter


Grandfather and Granddaughter (author not pictured)

I wish,
I could outline the edges,
Of an unknown map,
For you to follow,
From this day forward,
A journey for you to take,
Where you will not be alone,
Or ever bored,
And someone will find you,
Because you make great sticky buns,
Not because they’ve spotted your hair,
Or want to play your Xbox one,
I want to draw a map,
That leads people,
To turn right,
To you,
Because you are you.

–Richard Bryant