And they found his shop so meager and mean,
And Conrad was sitting with face a-shine
And said, "Old friends, at dawn today,
The Lord appeared in a dream to me
So I've been busy with feet astir,
The table is spread and the kettle is shined
And now I will wait for my Lord to appear
His step as He nears my humble place,
So his friends went home and left Conrad alone,
For, long since, his family had passed away
But he knew with the Lord as his Christmas guest
And he listened with only joy in his heart.
And look for the Lord to be standing there
So he ran to the window after hearing a sound,
Was a shabby beggar whose shoes were torn
So Conrad was touched and went to the door
And I have some shoes in my shop for you
So with grateful heart the man went away,
He wondered what made the dear Lord so late
When he heard a knock and ran to the door,
A bent, old crone with a shawl of black,
She asked for only a place to rest,
But her voice seemed to plead, "Don't send me away
So Conrad brewed her a steaming cup
But after she left he was filled with dismay
And the Lord had not come as He said He would,
When out of the stillness he heard a cry,
So again he opened his friendly door
It was only a child who had wandered away
Again Conrad's heart was heavy and sad,
So he called her in and wiped her tears
Then he led her back to her home once more
He knew that the Lord was not coming today
So he went to his room and knelt down to pray
What kept You from coming to call on me,
When soft in the silence a voice he heard,
Three times My shadow crossed your floor--
For I was the beggar with bruised, cold feet,
Helen Steiner Rice
Much that once was is lost. For none now live who remember it.
From Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
Sometimes we do have to repeat some things along the way in order for others to remember how it was or maybe how it should be. In telling about Christmas, I’m also relating to what our lives are all about. Loving sharing and giving should be a way of life.
I always loved the chats around the table with my parents over the years. They told of their childhoods and what they were told of their parents, my grand parents lives. So much has changed that if we don’t keep telling the stories, no one will know about what came before.
I suppose the story of the very first Christmas is like that too. How it all happened and why has been passed on for a couple thousand years now. It has been the greatest story ever told and think the reason is that it gives us all hope.
THOUGHT FOR TODAY
It comes every year and will go on forever. And along with Christmas belong the keepsakes and the customs. Those humble, everyday things a mother clings to, and ponders, like Mary in the secret spaces of her heart.
Bless us Lord, this Christmas, with quietness of mind;
Teach us to be patient and always to be kind
Helen Steiner Rice