Short on time for including some Mother Culture in your life at this time of year? How about some short stories with Advent & Christmas themes:
The Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry van Dyke
The Story of the Other Wise Man is by far the best of the two stories in this book but The First Christmas Tree is a worthwhile read also so I’ll quickly mention a bit about that first. Set in Germany in the eighth century, The First Christmas Tree tells of the encounter between Winfried (known mostly by his Roman name, Boniface) and a group of pagans celebrating a festival in the woods. Boniface intervenes and saves the Chief’s young son from being sacrificed to appease Thor.
\”…out yonder in the wide forest, who knows what storms are raving to-night in the hearts of men, though all the woods are still? who knows what haunts of wrath and cruelty are closed tonight against the advent of the Prince of Peace? And shall I tell you what religion means to those who are called and chosen to dare, and to fight, and to conquer the world for Christ? It means to go against the strongholds of the adversary. It means to struggle to win an entrance for the Master everywhere. What helmet is strong enough for this strife save the helmet of salvation? What breastplate can guard a man against these fiery darts but the breastplate of righteousness? What shoes can stand the wear of these journeys but the preparation of the gospel of peace?\”
The First Christmas Tree is free to read here.
Henry van Dyke tells the tale of \’the fourth wise man,\’ one of the Magi from the East who was to go with the other three to seek the Saviour of the world:
The Birth by Gene Edwards
An unusual look at the Christmas story. I wrote about it here.
Christmas at Thompson Hall by Anthony Trollope (1815 – 1882)
This is a collection of five short stories in a lovely HB presentation & set during the Christmas season. Christmas at Thompson Hall is the longest of the stories and is an enjoyable, light-hearted read that relates a sort of comedy of errors on the part of a Mrs Brown. Mrs Brown is a very proper British woman who commits a blunder in a night-time encounter in a French hotel. By a series of ‘fibs’ to cover up her embarassment, her innocent mistake develops into a serious situation.
Trollope\’s description of Mrs Brown:
‘She was a large woman, with a commanding bust, thought by some to be handsome, after the manner of Juno. But with strangers there was a certain severity of manner about her, – a fortification, as it were, of her virtue against all possible attacks, – a declared determination to maintain at all points, the beautiful character of a British matron, which, much as it had been appreciated at Thompson Hall, had met with some ill-natured criticism among French men and women.\’
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie (1960)
Agatha Christie described this collection of short stories as a book of Christmas fare with two main courses: The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and The Mystery of the Spanish Chest. It also includes a selection of three entrees, and a sorbet!
I’ve had this book for awhile and plan to read it over December. Fun!