Growing up, I struggled to read and did not have access to many books. Ironically, for a short time my mom worked at a public library. When I was about nine, she brought me with her, and I signed up for a program to win prizes by reading books. I chose a story by Beatrix Potter – probably because it was short, but also because I loved animals and wished they could talk.
When it comes to reading the Christmas story in the Bible, the Gospel writer Luke gets most the attention. Like a film director, he vividly captures poor Mary giving birth in a stable as shepherds watch their flocks and a band of angels fills the Bethlehem sky, announcing the good news. But to me, the neighboring book of John best answers the mystery of who Jesus is and why he came.
In need of some encouragement? Me too. Each morning when I check the news, I’m more and more aghast at what I read. My constant prayer in this time of trouble is “God help us.” Not as a flippant aside, but as a persistent reminder of our unrelenting need for his Grace. One way I’ve found to combat the underlying stress of the day is to scatter faith inspiring books around my house. And so, here are three books, written by friends, that keep me going:
“Wouldn’t it be nice if we could edit our lives the way we edit stories?” I recently asked one of my children while driving to school. “That way we could delete or change parts of our lives that we’d rather forget or that didn’t work out the way we hoped.”
Every morning I drove past her house on my way to work, and again in the afternoon on my way home. In winter, her front door usually stood open to let in the sun. In spring or fall I’d often see her sitting on her stoop, gathering light.