Cash, Johnny - The Christmas Guest Lyrics

It happened one day near December's end,
Two neighbors called on an old friend.
And they found his shop so meager and lean
Made gay with thousand bows of green
And Conrad was sitting with face a-shine
When he suddenly stopped as he stitched a twine
And he said "Old friends, at dawn today,
When the cock was crowing the night away
The Lord appeared in a dream to me
And said "I'm coming your guest to be."
So I've been busy with feet astir
Strewing my shop with branches of fern.
The table is spread and the kettle is shined.
And over the rafters the holly is twined.
Now I'll wait for my Lord to appear
And listen closely so I will hear
His step as He nears my humble place.
And I'll open the door and look on His face.
So his friends went home and left Conrad alone
For this was the happiest day he had known,
For long since, his family had passed away
And Conrad had spent many a sad Christmas Day.
But he knew with the Lord as his Christmas Guest
This Christmas would be the dearest and best.
So he listened with only joy in his heart
And with every sound he would rise with a start
And look for the Lord to be at his door.
Like the vision he had had a few hours before.
So he ran to the window after hearing a sound
But all he could see on the snow covered ground
Was a shabby beggar whose shoes were torn
And all of his clothes were ragged and worn.
But Conrad was touched and he went to the door
And he said, "You know, your feet must be frozen and sore.
I have some shoes in my shop for you
And a coat that will keep you warmer too."
So with grateful heart the man went away
But Conrad noticed the time of day
And wondered what made the Lord so late
And how much longer he'd have to wait.
When he heard a knock, he ran to the door
But it was only a stranger once more.
A bent old lady with a shawl of black
With a bundle of kindling piled on her back.
She asked for only a place to rest
But that was reserved for Conrad's Great Guest.
But her voice seemed to plead "Don't send me away,
Let me rest for awhile on Christmas Day",
So Conrad brewed her a steaming cup
And told her to sit at the table and sup.
But after she left he was filled with dismay
For he saw that the hours were slipping away
And the Lord hadn't come as he said he would.
Then Conrad felt sure he had misunderstood.
When out of the stillness he heard a cry
"Please help me and tell me where am I?"
So again he opened his friendly door
And stood disappointed as twice before.
It was only a child who'd wandered away
And was lost from her family on Christmas Day.
Again Conrad's heart was heavy and sad
But he knew he should make the little girl glad.
So he called her in and he wiped her tears
And quieted all her childish fears.
Then he led her back to her home once more
But as he entered his own darkened door
He knew the Lord was not coming today.
For the hours of Christmas had passed away
So he went to his room and knelt down to pray
And he said "Dear Lord, why did you delay?
What kept you from coming to call on me?
For I wanted so much your face to see."
When soft in the silence a voice he heard.
"Lift up your head for I kept my word.
Three times my shadow crossed your floor
And three times I came to your lonely door.
I was the beggar with bruised, cold feet
And I was the woman you gave something to eat.
I was the child on the homeless street.
Three times I knocked, and three times I came in.
And each time I found the warmth of a friend.
Of all the gifts, love is the best.
And I was honored to be your Christmas Guest.

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Cash, Johnny The Christmas Guest Comments
  1. J Carver

    I have this story in a little mini book that is probably only a few inches square. I received it in a stocking on Christmas about 60 years ago. It's tucked safely away. Wonderful story teaching us to keep an open heart.

  2. Johnny Debeltz

    This is an excellent and important story. Johnny Cash is the best person to have put this in words. A story that can melt a hard heart. 🎄

  3. Betty Russell

    Only Jonny Cash can tell this story, the way it needs to be told....
    Rip in peace to the man after a shaking past found not only his one true love ,June Carter, also, found peace and salvation.....
    Long live THE MAN IN BLACK......


    Betty Russell

  4. Bob Sch

    Thank you my Friend, Johnny

  5. spudthegreater USA

    Our sons name is Conrad... hope he doesn't outlive his family.

  6. Bork Lane

    Thank you Mr Cash !!!!

  7. trainsntile

    Just a dumb question- How could ANYONE dislike this narrative, ESPECIALLY when done by "The Man In BLACK"????

    Kathy Stammen

    trainsntile for real! He’s awesome 😎

    Josh Plake

    Johnny cash is a great person in heaven

    Marguerite Fischer

    Because they don't appreciate the classics. Very sad.

    Ethan Weeter

    Great story. Grandpa Jones and Reba did this great as well.

  8. Brent Vettel

    Best song ever

  9. patty stacy

    this will forever be a beautiful tradition with my family <3

  10. Jerome Kujawa

    Helen Steiner Rice of Ohio wrote this, "The Story Of The Christmas Guest." My Aunt Nellie, a Methodist Sunday School Teacher gave me this in a tiny book, Christmas Eve 1970, and it is one of my treasures, my idea of a family heirloom!!

    Ken M

    A Treasure, A Heirloom Indeed. Just like the story of the Methodist Sunday School Teacher. Thanks for sharing, Wishing a Merry Christmas to You & Yours.

  11. Sherry Conner

    I don't know which I like better this version or Grandpa Jones version

    Sherry Conner

    19 people have so souls

    Sean Shukoski

    As long as the message remains the same, and is told in the spirit it was intended, there is no right or wrong version. I heard this just yesterday for the first time in my 34 years of life, and I cried at the thought that so many have lost sight of the true Yule spirit, and instead have succumb to the commercialized juggernaut that is Christmas in today's world. Beautiful song!

  12. Marcia Cleek

    The Christmas Guest is by far my favorite song for the season. I've been without my parents for 40 yrs. And my only sibling I lost 2yrs ago. So I feel as though one day ill be able to see my family again.

    Matt D

    Believe it, you will one day. : )

    Jim Burden

    Marcia Cleek I hear you no family this year

  13. MyBlackvelvet

    Matthew 25:40.....What you do for the least of these you do for me. Have a Blessed Christmas

  14. Susan Ford

    Of all the gifts Love is the best!

  15. alexis brown

    The photograph is backwards, why??

    Milofire :3

    alexis brown You kinda look like......Herb Alpert?! 😉🎺

  16. Kewin

    God bless you all. This song touched me as it did for the first time.

  17. Peter Warburton

    I really like it also.

  18. martin klinghard

    This beautiful song sung by the Master Songster Johnny Cash, is based on a short story by Leo Tolstoy, "Where Love Is, God Is." Speaks to my heart

  19. ThanksgivingWalk

    Hard not to get a little misty eyed on this one.

    Thanks so much for sharing. Beautiful, just beautiful!

  20. Sherry Conner

    I love this song this is the first version I heard. I wish someone one would post garth brooks the gift by garth brooks and not a cover they are two of my favorite christmas songs

  21. PhilosopherKing888

    Why did they use a picture of Joe Pesci on the album cover?


    Don't insult the Man In Black! That's Johnny Cash not Joe Pesci! Google Johnny Cash!

  22. evil betty

    Please god, make me a bird so I can fly far far away.

  23. Steve Heiser

    Really good song.

  24. Steve Heiser

    thanx God Bless you to.

  25. harlanite24

    I love this song it reminds us what is important

  26. morninggloryone

    Christmas Blessings.
    From My Heart to Yours.
    "The great man is he who does not lose his childlike heart."
    ~ Mencius

  27. Rachel H

    I have this song on his Christmas CD.

  28. Sherry Conner

    I love this this is the first verson I heard I love the reva and granpa jones versions too!