Here’s one of my favorite childhood Christmas memories.
We had finished all preparations for Christmas Day: a decorated house, a trimmed tree, a Nativity scene, and a plate of cookies for Santa. The only thing left was a good night’s sleep with dreams of what we might find under the tree.
There were three bedrooms in our house: one for Mom and Dad, one for the three boys, and one for the three girls. Mom and Dad’s room was closest to the living room; then came the boys’ room; and finally, the girls’ room was in the back.
It was not easy for six Christmas-giddy kids to do, but when Mom yelled that it was time for bed, we obeyed.
My 1923 copy of Up From Slavery, the autobiography of Booker T. Washington, published in 1900. Such a treasure! Washington was the founder of Tuskegee (Institute) University and an incredible man. “Through progress at Tuskegee, Washington showed that an oppressed people could advance. His concept of practical education was a contribution to the general field of education.”
“There is no excess of goodness. You cannot go too far in the right direction.”
Have you read the first published work by C. S. Lewis after he converted to Christianity? I had never heard of The Pilgrim’s Regress until I discovered this quote, which I love. Written in 1933, Lewis describes his allegorical fiction novel as “a kind of Bunyan up to date.” I might just give it a read.
Veterans Day, observed in the United States every year on November 11, is “a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.” My story shares what I experienced one day at a basketball game while sitting next to a proud grandfather.
You cannot help getting loud at school basketball games. You’re either cheering wildly or trying to make your conversation heard over that wretched game buzzer. You quickly become friends with the stranger sitting next to you, understanding that you attend for the same purpose: to encourage a child you love to do their very best.
As I was sorting through storage boxes last weekend, I was surprised to find the pages of the remarks I made at my mother’s memorial service. She died 22 years ago today (November 5), and the service was held a week later. Mom had requested that each of her children prepare something to read at the service. Though we had been far from her heart and life for decades, our mother still expected her children to honor her at her death. Some of us did. Of her six children, my brother Norman, sister Sandra, and I attended her memorial service and shared our words.
A friend and fellow church member, artist Susan Savage depicts her Christian faith through paintings. Earlier this month, Susan presented this stunning oil-on-canvas painting, titled Delivered, to our church, where it now graces a wall in the prayer room.
Excerpts from her statement about the painting:
A shiny silver vessel sits triumphantly atop a nest of sharply pointed thorns. A red ribbon weaves its way through the torturous thicket and pours itself out behind a draped white cloth. The material substance of the silver vessel, delivered from its own refining fire of tribulation, stands as a testament to what Jesus Christ endured on the cross, and serves as a reminder of His loving and redemptive sacrifice for humankind.
This painting exemplifies the foundational core of the Christian faith. It is a reminder that Christ died in our place to rescue us from our sins. He died that we may live. Because of his sacrifice on the cross, His shed blood, and His resurrection from the grave, those who believe in Him are given victory over physical death.
"But God, being rich in mercy because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together in Christ. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing: It is the gift of God ..." (Ephesians 2:4,5,8)
This is a sweet story of two adopted children who lost their way home, and how “… a kindly Providence sent them to comfort us in our loss.” My copy of Roy and Rosyrocks was published in 1902, and the handwritten note on the book‘s front page reads “To Kathryn, From Birdie, 1915.”