The third and final story I know about the origin of panforte takes us all the way back to the birth of Christ. Indeed it seems that the Magi weren’t the only ones who were led to the Christ Child by the Star of Bethlehem. According to Siense folklore a an orphan was likewise inspired to visit the stables where the infant Jesus lay. There he offered the only gift he had, a small crust of bread. As the story goes, Joseph took the bread, gave a few crumbs to the birds that were nesting in the rafters, and handed the crust back. Crushed, the boy went home to his grandmother, sobbing. When he arrived home he was greeted by a vision of his mother, surrounded by heavenly light, and his father clad in gleaming armor. On the table was a banquet, the centerpiece of which was…you know the rest.
Don’t think for a second that any of this is in the Bible, friends. However it is part of a rich text of Christian folklore that’s been invented by the faithful over the millennia. Sure its hokey, but certainly no worse than what Rankin Bass came up with, knowadimean?