23. December 2004 · Comments Off on Merry Christmas! · Categories: General

I’m heading into the frozen midwest today (Friday) to spend some time with my dad and the rest of the family (cue soundtrack: “I’ll be home for Christmas”). I always tell them “If you ever wonder if I love you, remember that I come NORTH in the wintertime, just to visit y’all.”

Anyway, I’ve been listening to Christmas music for the past 4 weeks, and pondering which song to share with the world on the festive day. I’m choosing one that was Mom’s favorite. More of a poem than a song, actually. Grandpa Jones recorded it originally (he was a country comedian/singer, a billion years ago), and she always loved it.

In 1996, I was driving home for Christmas, listening to my new Reba McEntire Christmas CD, and durned if I didn’t hear her begin to recite the poem. So I copied out the lyrics for Mom, and my brother fancied them up on his computer with fancy fonts and whatever, and made it fit on one page for her. She made copies and included it in her Christmas cards the next year.

“The Christmas Guest”
(Grandpa Jones/Bill Walker)

It happened one day near December’s end
Two neighbors called on an old friend
And they found his shop so meager and lame
Made gay with a thousand bows of green
And Conrad was sittin’ with face ashine
When he suddenly stopped as he stiched a twine

And he said “Oh friends at dawn today
When the cock was crowin’ the night away
The Lord appeared in a dream to me
And said ‘I’m comin’ your guest to be.’

So I’ve been busy with feet astir
And strewin’ my shop with branches of fir
The table is spread and the kettle is shined
And over the rafters the holly is twined

Now I’ll wait for my Lord to appear
And listen closely so I will hear His step
As He nears my humble place
And I’ll open the door and look on His face”

So his friends went home and left Conrad alone
For this was the happiest day he’d known
For long since his family had passed away

And Conrad had spent many a sad Christmas day
But he knew with the Lord as his Christmas guest
This Christmas would be the dearest and best
So he listened with only joy in his heart

And with every sound he would rise with a start
And look for the Lord to be at his door
Like the vision he’d had a few hours before
So he ran to the window after hearin’ a sound

But all he could see on the snow-covered ground
Was a shabby begger who’s shoes were torn
And all of his clothes were ragged and worn
But Conrad was touched and he went to the door

And he said “You know, your feet must be frozen and sore
I have some shoes in my shop for you
And a coat that’ll keep you warmer too”
So with grateful heart, the man went away

But Conrad noticed the time of day
And wondered what made the Lord so late
And how much longer he’d have to wait
When he heard a knock he ran to the door
But it was only a stranger once more

A bent ol’ lady with a shawl of black
With a bundle of kindlin’ piled on her back
She asked for only a place to rest
But that was reserved for Conrad’s great guest

But her voice seemed to plead “Don’t send me away
Let me rest for awhile on Christmas day”
So Conrad brewed her a steamin’ 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 slippin’ away
And the Lord hadn’t come as He said He would
And Conrad felt sure he’d misunderstood
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’d wandered away
And was lost from her family on Christmas day

Again, Conrad’s heart was heavy and sad
But he knew he should make the little girl glad
So he called her in and he 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 the Lord was not comin’ today
For the hours of Christmas had passed away

So he went to his room and he knelt down to pray
And he said “Dear Lord, why did You delay?
What kept You from comin’ 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
And three times I came to your lonely door

I was the begger with bruised, cold feet
And I was the woman you gave somethin’ to eat
I was the child on the homeless street.
Three times I knocked and three times I came in
And each time I found the warmth of a friend

Of all the gifts love is the best
And I was honored to be your Christmas guest.”

Update before I even finish creating the post – my Dad just called. He says Dayton (where I’m flying into) is under a snow emergency, and I won’t be able to leave the city if I do fly in, so I should just stay home. *sigh* I’m still debating, and heading off to research the weather. I had thought they would have the highways cleared by tomorrow.

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14. December 2004 · Comments Off on Merry Christmas · Categories: Ain't That America?

Yeah, I said it, and I meant it too. Furthermore, I intend to say it a LOT more before the next couple weeks are done. And you know what else? I’m going to be in uniform when I say it sometimes. You know why? Because it’s freedom OF religion not freedom FROM religion.

Then again, I’m in Nebraska…it’s not all that weird around here.

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