The King's Speech - Gate of the Year

by Roy Hendrix

This spiritual insight concerns a short poem – a very short poem — concerning Christmas, the new year and placing your trust in God. The poem was included in a radio speech that King George VI gave on Christmas Day, 1939 to the people of the British Empire.

The poem is called, “The Gate of the Year” and in this day and time it is not very well known but at one time in history it was quite famous. It was a key part of King George VI’s Christmas Day radio message in 1939. By the way, King George VI is the father of the current Queen of England, the stuttering king about which the Oscar-winning movie, the King’s Speech, is about.

The British were already at war with Germany by Christmas of 1939 and the British people were expecting to see London bombed any day or night. Their morale needed a boost and this was what the king tried to do by closing his short speech with this poem. In fact, he said, “I feel we can all find a message of encouragement in the lines of a poem that I shall close my speech with.”

The king, by the way, did not state the author of the poem in his radio speech. The next day a lot of the people thought the king had written it himself. But no, “The Gate of the Year” was written by Minnie Haskins, a British poet.

The poet has placed a fence around the coming year with a gate that everyone has to go through to get to the new year. There’s a gatekeeper whom I have always assumed to be Father Time – the old fellow with the long white beard.

The Gate of the Year

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year; “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied,
“Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth and finding the Hand of God, Trod gladly into the night…”

Minnie Haskins