The dinner over, all gathered about £he blazing logs, whereupon each in turn made a contribution of song or story for the general entertainment, as previously requested to do in the invitation.
One quoted Lady Morgan's authority for saying that in Italy the peasants go about on Christmas Eve and serenade the carpenters' shops, in honour of Joseph, together with many odd Christmas customs in other lands. Another told the story of Beowulf—the subject of the earliest Saxon epic, a favourite Christmas tale at medieval firesides. A young girl sang the ballad of "The Mistletoe Bough" in a sweet, vibrant voice, and some one else told a ghost story that held all spellbound.
Before the merry party separated they all joined in singing a carol. The candles had burned low, and in the mellow light of the fire the solemnity of the season and its gracious meaning began to steal into their hearts. The feeling gave expression to their voices as they sang of Him who thought to touch the heart of humanity by sending His message of reconciliation by the hand of a little human child.
A CHRISTMAS GHOST PARTY
FOR CHRISTMAS EVE
The veil that separates the realm of spirits from that of mortals has always been held by reverent tradition —not to say superstition—to be thinner on Christmas Eve than at any other time of the year. Ghosts are said to revisit their old haunts and homes; hence the Christmas custom of relating stories of spectral visitants.
A phantom reunion is therefore appropriate to the day.