Without a doubt, Christmas at the Cove was a special highlight of the holiday season. The Grens hosted an annual Christmas party for the Gordon-Conwell seminary wives and their husbands as well as local family and friends. My sister Karen and I had the blessing of helping at many of these parties.
We all gathered in the living room which overlooked the ocean. On the far end of the living room stood the upright Steinway. On the opposite end was the dining room table, spread with Christmas fare and punch. And alongside of the table stood the sideboard, set with beautiful demitasse cups and spoons within reach of the percolator coffee pot.
As the party commenced, Christmas carol booklets were passed around—enough for each person to have their own. Mrs. Gren played the piano, and the first song was always, “Once in Royal David’s City.” Then she introduced and read her favorite old English Christmas poem by Richard Crashaw, provided here for you, saying she never found a more beautiful expression of the wonder of the Christmas story than this.
That the Great Angel-blinding light should shrink
His blaze, to shine in a poor Shepherd’s eye,
That the unmeasur’d God so low should sinke,
As Pris’ner in a few poor rags to lie,
That from His Mother’s Breast He milke should drinke
Who feeds with Nectar Heaven’s faire family,
That a vile Manger His low Bed should prove,
Who in a Throne of stars thunders above;
That He whom the Sun serves, should faintly peepe
Through clouds of Infant Flesh! That He, the olde
Eternal Word should be a Child and weepe;
That He who made the fire, should fear the cold,
That Heaven’s high Majesty His Court should keepe
In a clay cottage, by each blast control’d;
That Glories self should serve our Griefs and feares,
And free Eternity submit to years,
Let our overwhelming wonder be.
More carols were sung and guests called out page numbers with Mrs. Gren always playing the piano. There might be a reading from “A Welsh Christmas” from their dear Welsh family physician and friend. There was singing, there was laughter, there was joy and wonderful fellowship. Christ was worshiped and adored.
Shared with us by Lisa Steigerwalt, Elisabeth Elliot’s Assistant for many years.