25 Stories of Advent--December 25--The Rest of the Story

The book I'm sharing today is precious to me beyond words. I think it was my first Christmas book acquisition, many years before I had children.

This is certainly a case of saving the best for last. It's a book that starts with the Christmas story, but then follows through with the rest of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Which is ultimately the reason His birth is cause for celebration today.

The Life of our Lord, by Charles Dickens is the last of his books to be published. In fact, it was never meant to be published. It was written for his children because, as he said,

"My dear children, I am very very anxious that you should know something about the History of Jesus Christ. For everybody ought to know about Him. No one ever lived who was so good, so kind, so gentle and so sorry for all the people who did wrong, or were in anyway ill or miserable, as he was. And as He is now in Heaven, where we hope to go, and all to meet each other after we are dead, and there be happy always together, you never can think what a good place Heaven is, without knowing who he was and what he did."

I found this volume at a Parable store after Christmas one year. I picked it up as a gift for my beloved grandfather. Though not educated (you'd never know it to speak with him), he was the smartest man I knew. And he made me feel smart too.

He was born in England, so of course he grew up reading Dickens (and everything else he could get his hands on; I never knew a more voracious reader). Since this book wasn't published until after Dickens' last child died, I was fairly certain my non-religious grandfather had never read it.

Grandpa and I didn't discuss spiritual things; an informal agreement to disagree I suppose. But I knew he'd read what I gave him, so I gave him this book for Christmas the next year hoping he'd read it from interest regarding what Dickens might have to say on the topic. We never talked about it.

 Two years later, after he died, I found this book on his bedside table along with his copy of my first book, which I'd dedicated to him. Last year, as I pulled this volume out to add to my basket of Christmas books, I thumbed through it--apparently for the first time since then--and found that he marked his place in the book with my kindergarten photo! I had never seen any photos of us outside the few albums they had.

God knows my prayer that between the devotions in my book that explain the plan of salvation, and Dickens beautiful summary of the life of Christ, that my grandfather's heart would be open to Him in a way it never had been before.

This book may be hard to find; I'm sure you'll have to visit one of the sources for used books to get a volume of your own. But it's worth the quest to find. Reading the life of Jesus, told as only Charles Dickens can, is a blessing in itself.

May you have a blessed day celebrating with loved ones. And may the conclusion of our "Christmas holidays" be just the beginning of another year spent seeking to know Him more.



elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I see all your Christmas books highlighted here. I still remember your post from a couple of years ago, talking about your collection. I wanted to let you know about one that we highlighted in our family this year. Jotham's Journey--an incredible, suspenseful, exciting tale about a young boy, set at the time of Jesus' birth. We read a chapter each night during advent, along with lighting a candle on our advent wreath. I think you'd love to have this one for your collection. I highly recommend it.


RefreshMom said...

Thanks for the suggestion Elaine. I'll look for that one to add to our tradition next year. Now that the "Little One" is older, having a continuing story would be a nice addition.


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