Monday, November 21, 2022

Christmas Reading: The Man at the Gate of the World

Tonight's post is a recommendation for Christmas reading, "The Man at the Gate of the World" by W.E. Cule.  Each year I do a lot of Christmas-themed reading - novels, stories, poetry, non-fiction, children's books - from many eras, back to the 1800's.  Last year I read "The Man at the Gate of the World", included in The Fireside Book of Christmas Stories, a superb collection published in 1945.  

The story, first published in 1929, begins with the story of the Magi's journey to  Bethlehem at the birth of Christ.  Following their visit to King Herod, the Magi find the infant Jesus, but they do know know that they have found him.  They are looking for a child well known as a King, with much rejoicing and celebration, and instead they find a child in poverty, born in a stable. They leave Bethlehem, believing they had been misled.

Caspar, the youngest of the Magi, refuses to believe that the Star they followed would lead them astray.  Ten years later, still believing in his fate to meet Jesus, Caspar returns to Bethlehem. He is met at the gates of the city by a child, who brings Caspar back to their dwelling, where the child and his mother wash his feet and give him food and drink, although they have barely enough for themselves.  Of course, the boy is Jesus and the woman his mother Mary.  Caspar does not know this, and again leaves the city.

Caspar dedicates his life to serving those in need, and searching for Jesus.  Caspar eventually goes to Damascus, where he waits at the gates of the city, welcoming travelers as he was welcomed in Bethlehem.  Caspar spends his wealth until he is destitute, yet still serves all in need, while believing that the savior will appear to him.

The rest of the story is as spiritually moving and heartening as anything I've ever read.  I've left much of the tale untold here, leaving it to all of you readers whose interest is now piqued to find the story and enjoy the unfolding of Caspar's journey on your own.  The Fireside Book of Christmas Stories is readily available on eBay and Amazon, and is filled with seasonal excellence (including outstanding stories by Christopher Marlowe and Daphne du Maurier).  

In searching for info about the story I found that it was adapted into a radio broadcast on the serial "Mr. President".  The program is an adaptation of the story into a radio drama, and it's very good.  As a special bonus for my readers, here is a download link to the program:  Mr. President: The Man at the Gate of the World.

I read The Man at the Gate of the World again this past Summer, just o experience it again, and to ensure that I had fully comprehended the story and message.  It's worth a read, or two, or three.  

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