Just received this book and after reading only several passages I am excited to read the rest. Dean McFalls makes such effortless connection between the romantic iconic poem “The Night Before Christmas” and the world we really live in. In only a few lines and with heart and humanity he draws the reader to the experiences of real people who rekindle their hope amidst sadness and hurt in the time of Christmas.
– David J. Popalisky, Faculty, Santa Clara University, Silicon Valley “Artist Laureate” since 2015, Founder, Walk Across California (where he met Dean McFalls, the Stockton area liaison).
First Official Review of Delivered on Christmas
The US Review of Books, one of America’s most prominent and respected sources, began posting this review in 2017. We’ve omitted several lines introducing the book to readers unfamiliar with it, in order to focus exclusively on Anderson’s summary of its contents and her evaluation. She begins with this quote from the author’s introduction:
“I encourage you to be on the lookout here for every heaven-sent blessing
— and meanwhile to be counting the blessings which have come into your life
because of the coming-into-our-history of the One we call Christ.
…The purpose of the book is about the meaning of the holiday and our search for God. Through these poems, his explanations of the poems, and his illustrations, [the author] explores history and the need for change. For example, the book examines issues such as the perils of mankind, the horrors of war, and the importance of “Christ’s humble birth,” along with his peace and justice work through Amnesty International, the Catholic Church, and more.
The writing begins as humorous, but as the author experiences more of life, it changes focus into the importance of Christ and God. But the uniqueness of this work makes for an entertaining read and, at times, a poignant one as he examines the ills of society. The prose works nicely in explaining the world around him at the time, and these insights are then examined through the poetry. It is an unusual modality for examining his values and how he places these values into action. This is done in a readable, poetic format. It can be understood by progressive children and teens but is especially relevant to adults who have also gone through the blessings and sorrows of life. Because of the Christian/Catholic format, it may prove more valuable for persons of these beliefs.
reviewed by Carol Anderson, D.Min., ACSW, LMSW The US Review of Books
Review: As an avid poetry fan, I’m always excited to read books which fall into the poetry genre. When I stumbled across Delivered on Christmas by Dean McFalls, I was curious to read a book that told stories and events through prose.
At the beginning of the book, the author explains how he chose to write in poetry because the story of Christmas demands to be written using beautiful words and phrases. I thought this seemed rational since Christmas time is such a beautiful time of year – yummy baked goods, lots of family time, snow falling outside, and roaring fires.
I agreed with McFalls that the Christmas stories he told needed to be written beautifully, and he certainly delivered.
The prose he wrote painted stunning pictures in my head of his life during the holiday season. Using vivid imagery, the author let us see what he experienced. McFalls also used rhyming in most of his prose, which set a nice tone to the stories. Reading his rhymes reminded me of reading Dr. Seuss.
Additionally the author also utilizes humor, working nicely into the stories. In some poetry, humor seems a tad inappropriate, yet it fits so well within McFalls’ writing. In one story he writes a line about Godzilla and King Kong, which made me laugh out loud. This has never happened to me before when I’m reading poetry.
This book made me feel a wonderful range of positive emotions. I felt happy, entertained, amused and a lot of others just by reading his stories and prose. It’s a great book for any poetry fan to read since the verses are spot-on. I think people who aren’t poetry fans will also enjoy reading this book, as it certainly appeals to a wide range of audiences. The rhyming schemes and appropriate humor make it a quick and easy read.
Delivered on Christmas definitely delivers funny stories, great prose, and laughter-inducing verses. The way McFalls writes keeps you wanting more and more, making you a little disappointed when the book ends. I liked his writing so much, I’ve gone through and re-read some of the stories a second time.
It’s a great book to get you into the Christmas spirit, causing you to dream about pine trees, Christmas lights, and sugar cookies. I think one could even give this book to friends and family members as a present.
It’s sure to be a gift which they will enjoy, cherish and share with others.
Received by the author October 27, 2017
I was privileged to receive Dean’s Christmas letters over the years (since 1976) and am pleased that they are now available to a broader audience through this insightful anthology… Dean shares his personal life-journey to a deepening Catholic Christian faith, drawing from his experiences in travel and working abroad.
The reader will delight at Dean’s creative illustrations and thoughtful text. The letters begin as playful iterations with a moral, and then deepen and mature as he experiences the world events of the ‘60s and ‘70s. As the ‘80s opened, Dean’s spiritual quest led him to profess Roman Catholicism. While waiting to be considered for the priesthood he invested himself totally in work for peace and justice through citizen diplomacy. He joined in the Bethlehem Peace Pilgrimage, walking from the Trident Nuclear Submarine Base in Bangor, Washington to Washington, DC, then journeying on to Bethlehem. The later letters merge into a deeply felt lyrical prophetic vision drawn from glimpses of his further journeys to Poland, the USSR, Yugoslavia, and Latin America. In ardent verse Dean affirms his Catholic faith — a faith that delivers him from anxiety and despair to the Light of Christ.
In these dark days, when the rich and powerful deceive and oppress the meek and powerless, compassion and integrity wither in our public discourse, and the value of truth is debased, we need Dean’s message of hope and love more than ever.
(Dr. Rosh Doan, a prominent Seattle-based physician dedicated to international citizen diplomacy. He was especially active with international initiatives and sister-city relationships during the last two decades of the Cold War. The author and he have been friends since 1971 – that is, for half a century.)