“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” – Isaiah 11:1.
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be a ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” – Micah 5:2.
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed… And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David), to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” – Luke 2:1-7.
“But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” – Luke 2:19.
“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” – Charles Dickens (1812-1870).
“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!”
– A nursery rhyme, first published in Bye-Gones,
a Publication Relating to Wales and the Border Countries, 1882.
Which brings us to the 2009 Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne.
In the glass, the 2009 Cristal is a ripe gold. Eight-year-old Champagnes are not supposed to be able to reconcile age with beauty, but this one does. If you’re the kind of person who likes to discover the ancient in the modern, and vice versa, the living color of the 2009 Cristal will send chills up and down your spine.
The bouquet is a love letter to the human sense of smell. Its depth is a promise. The 2009 Cristal is sixty percent Pinot Noir and forty percent Chardonnay. If you’re the kind of person who believes red Burgundy is time and white Burgundy is eternity, the bouquet of the 2009 Cristal will take your breath away.
On the palate, the 2009 Cristal performs with all the talent you’d expect from a prodigy and all the grace you’d expect from a virtuoso. The bead is elusive. Each sip keeps the promise made by the bouquet, but you can’t get enough of this Champagne’s concentrated panache. As you approach the bottom of each glass—not to mention the end of each bottle—you begin to wonder if you paid enough attention to the Cristal while you were drinking it. Or maybe the right kind of attention.
The finish borrows time from the future and loads it into the present. When the flat spot appears, it pauses and lets you savor the moment before it disappears. What a gift!
“According to an ancient Sardinian legend, the bodies of those who are born on Christmas Eve will never dissolve into dust but are preserved until the end of time.” – Grazia Deledda (1871-1936).
“I got up one Christmas morning and we didn’t have nothing to eat. We didn’t have an apple, we didn’t have an orange, we didn’t have a cake. We didn’t have nothing.” – Muddy Waters (1913-1983).
“I wanted an electric train for Christmas. I got the saxophone instead.” – Clarence Clemons (1942-2011).
“They slipped out of their backpacks and left them on the terrace and kicked their way through the trash on the porch and pushed into the kitchen. The boy held on to his hand. All much as he’d remembered it. The rooms empty. In the small room off the dining room there was a bare iron cot, a metal folding table. The same castiron coalgrate in the small fireplace. The pine paneling was gone from the walls leaving just the furring strips. He stood there. He felt with his thumb in the painted wood of the mantle the pinholes from tacks that had held stockings forty years ago. This is where we used to have Christmas when I was a boy. He turned and looked out at the waste of the yard. A tangle of dead lilac. The shape of a hedge. On cold winter nights when the electricity was out in a storm we would sit at the fire here, me and my sisters, doing our homework. The boy watched him. Watched shapes claiming him he could not see. We should go, Papa, he said.”
– Cormac McCarthy (The Road).
“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.” – Garrison Keillor.
“It’s true, Christmas can feel like a lot of work, particularly for mothers. But when you look back on all the Christmases in your life, you’ll find you’ve created family traditions and lasting memories. Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul.” – Caroline Kennedy.
“If kisses were snowflakes, I’d send you a blizzard.” – Unknown.