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Examiner
  • Ted Stillwell: When the Great Guest came

  • I attended a Christmas party recently and was pleased to see that my friend, Garth McCulloch, had also been invited. He is a great poet in his own right. I would like to share a poem that he so eloquently recited before the group to use as my Christmas greeting for you.

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  • I attended a Christmas party recently and was pleased to see that my friend, Garth McCulloch, had also been invited. He is a great poet in his own right. I would like to share a poem that he so eloquently recited before the group to use as my Christmas greeting for you.
    It is entitled “How the Great Guest Came,” written by Edwin Markham:
    Before the cathedral in grandeur rose
    at Ingelburg where the Danube goes;
    before its forest of silver spire
    went airily up to the clouds and fires;
    before the oak had ready a beam,
    while yet the arch was stone and dream –
    there where the alter was later laid,
    Conrad the cobbler plied his trade.
    It happened one day at the year’s white end –
    two neighbors called in on their old-time friend;
    and they found the shop, so meager and mean,
    made gay with a hundred boughs of green.
    Conrad was stitching with face a shine,
    but suddenly stopped as he stitched a twine;
    “Old friends, good news! At dawn today,
    as the cocks were scaring 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 the floor with branches of fir.
    The wall is washed and the shelf is shined,
    and over the rafter the holly twined.
    He comes today, and the table is spread
    with milk and honey and wheaten bread.
    His friends went home; and his face grew still
    as he watched for the shadow across his sill.
    He lived all the moments o’er and o’er,
    when the Lord should enter the lowly door –
    the knock, the call, the latch pulled up,
    the lighted face, the offered cup.
    He would wash the feet where the spikes had been,
    he would kiss the hands where the nails went in,
    and then at the last would sit with Him
    and break the bread as the day grew dim.
    While the cobbler mused there passed his pane
    a beggar drenched by the driving rain.
    He called him in from the stony street
    and gave him shoes for his bruised feet.
    The beggar went and there came a crone,
    her face with wrinkles of sorrow sewn.
    A bundle of faggots bowed her back,
    and she was spent with the wrench and the rack.
    Page 2 of 2 - He gave her his loaf and steadied her load
    as she took her way on the weary road.
    Then to his door came a little child,
    lost and afraid in the world so wild,
    in the big, dark world. Catching it up,
    he gave it the milk in the waiting cup,
    and led it home to its mother’s arms,
    our of the reach of the worlds alarms.
    The day went down in the crimson west
    and with it the hope of the blessed Guest,
    and Conrad sighed as the world turned gray:
    “Why is it, Lord, that your feet delay?
    Did you forget that this was the day?”
    Then soft in the silence a Voice he heard:
    “Lift up your heart, for I have kept my word.
    Three times I came to your friendly door;
    three times my shadow was on your floor.
    I was the beggar with the bruised feet;
    I was the woman you gave to eat;
    I was the child on the homeless street!”
    To my many friends and readers throughout the area, may the Lord also visit you in your hearts and homes during this Christmas season. In this time of giving, I thank God for the gift of your friendship and praise Him for the joy that you bring into my life. May He bless you and your Christmas with peace and love.
    The first comprehensive sesquicentennial driver’s guide to Civil War battlefield sites in Missouri by Gregory Wolk has arrived just in time for Christmas at the Blue and Grey Book Shoppe at 106 E. Walnut, 2 blocks south of the Independence Square.
    To reach Ted W. Stillwell, send an email to teddystillwell@yahoo.com or call him at 816-252-9909.
     
     

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