When I was a child I loved to hear
This story my grandma told each year,
She told it in her native tongue,
And I was very, very young,
But yet this story seemed to be
Filled with wonderment for me.
For in my childish heart there grew
The dream that I might see Him, too,
For He might call on me this way
So I must watch for Him each day,
And that is why "The Christmas Guest"
Is still the story I love best . . .
And I retell it to you now,
For I can't help but feel somehow
That children everywhere should hear
The story Grandma told each year . . .
For Christmas Day is doubly blest
When Jesus is our Christmas guest . . .
The Story of the Christmas Guest
It happened one day at the year's white end . . . two neighbors called on an old time friend . . . and they found his ship so meager and mean . . . made bright with a thousand boughs of green . . . and Conrad was sitting with a face a-shine . . . when he suddenly stopped as he stitched a twine . . . and said, "Old friends, at dawn today . . . when the cock was crowing the night away . . . the Lord appeared in a dream to me . . . and said, 'I am coming your Guest to be'. . . so I've been busy with feet astir . . . strewing my shop with branches of fir . . . the table is spread and the kettle shined . . . and over the rafters the holly twined . . . and now I will wait for my Lord to appear . . . and listen closely so I will hear . . . His step as He nears my humble place . . . and I open the door and look in His face."
So his friends went home and left Conrad alone . . . for this was the happiest day he had known . . . for, long since, his family had passed away . . . and Conrad had spent a sad Christmas Day . . . but he knew with the Lord as his Christmas Guest . . . this Christmas would be the dearest and best . . . and he listend with only joy in his heart . . . and with every sound he would rise with a start . . . and look for the Lord to be standing there . . . in answer to his earnest prayer.
So he ran to the window after hearing a sound . . . but all that he saw on the snow-covered ground . . . was a shabby beggar whose shoes were torn . . . and all of his clothes were ragged and worn . . . So Conrad was touched and went to the door . . . and he said, "Your feet must be frozen and sore . . . and I have some shoes in my shop for you . . . and a coat that will keep you warmer, too" . . . So with grateful heart the man went away . . . but Conrad noticed the time of day . . . and he wondered what made the dear Lord so late . . . and how much longer he'd have to wait . . . when he heard a knock and ran to the door . . . but it was only a stranger once more . . . a bent, old woman with a shawl of black . . . a bundle of twigs piled on her back . . . she asked for only a place to rest . . . but her voice seemed to plead, "Don't send me away . . . let me rest for a while on Christmas Day" . . . So Conrad brewed her a steaming cup . . . and told her to sit at the table and sup.
But after she left he was filled with dismay . . . for he saw that the hours were passing away . . . and the Lord had not come as He said He would . . . and Conrad felt sure he had misunderstoood . . . when out of the stillness he heard a cry . . . "Please help me and tell me where am I" . . . So again he opened his friendly door . . . and stood disappointed as twice before . . . it was only a child who had wandered away . . . and was lost from her family on Christmas Day . . . Again Conrad's heart was heavy and sad . . . but he knew he would make this little child glad . . . so he called her in and wiped her tears . . . and quieted all her childish fears . . . then he led her back to her home once more . . . but as he entered his own darkened door . . . he knew that the Lord was not coming today . . . for the hours of Christmas had passed away.
So he went to his room and knelt down to pray . . . and he said, "Dear Lord, why did You delay? . . . What kept You from coming to call on me? . . . For I wanted so much Your face to see" . . . when soft in the silence a voice he heard . . . "Lift up your head for I kept My word . . . Three times My shadow crossed your floor . . . Three times I came to your lonely door . . . for I was the beggar with bruised cold feet . . . I was the woman you gave to eat . . . and I was the child on the homeless street."
~Helen Steiner Rice, Christmas Blessings
Nobody does Christmas Poetry better than Helen Steiner Rice. I have been saving this one up for you to show you on this day, Christmas Eve. I know it's long, but I think it is so beautiful and a wonderful reminder to each of us that the Saviour visits each of us daily in small and simple ways.
Another piece to show you today. Will this be my last piece of 2011??? I somehow think not, but we are getting close to the end of the year. I just love seeing how my work is changing and developing through the years. What do you think???
A final Christmas recipe for you that you just might be able to get done today. Sometime sweet to snack on this evening as you relax in front of your fire with your family . . . coz we all know that you have everything done, right??? It's all sorted and now all you have to do is to sit back and enjoy the day . . . well . . . maybe not, but one can dream can they not? We're actually going to take a bus into Chester City today and face the maddening crowds! Call us crazy!! Merry Christmas everyone!
*White Chocolate and Cherry Fudge*
Makes 3 dozen squares
A classic combination made with white chocolate and dried cherries. Topped with a garnish of maraschino cherries and mint they are both beautiful to behold and delicious to the taste!
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
3/4 cup of half and half
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 equal pieces
12 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups dried cherries
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
18 maraschino cherries
2 bunches fresh mint
Line the bottom of an 8 inch square cake pan with parchment paper.
In a sauce pan combine the icing sugar and half and half over medium heat. Add the butter and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the mixture reaches the boil, stop stirring and allow to cook for 5 minutes. It will be thick.
Reduce the heat to low and stir in the white chocolate, whisking it in until smooth. Stir in the dried cherries and vanilla extract. Pour into the prepared pan and then place into the refrigerator to chill until firm, about 2 hours.
Invert the chilled fudge onto a cutting board. Peel off the paper. Cut the fudge into 1-inch squares. Cut the maraschino cherries in half. Remove sevently two mint leaves from the springs. (Use the smaller ones if you can.) Decorate each piece of fudge with a cherry half, cut side down, pressing gently into the fudge to help it to adhere and press two mint leaves at the top of the cherry to represent cherry leaves.
Note: You can store in an airtight container for up to 1 week, without the mint leaves, adding them just prior to serving if you wish.
In The English Kitchen today, some delicious Ginger Cutouts!
Christmas is the Warmth of Friendships, letter writing, card sending, news exciting, goodwill extending, neighbors gathering, friendly greetings, manger scenes . . . community meetings.