The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

An Early Christmas Gift for You

A friend from California sent me this slender volume. I had no idea Charles Dickens had ever written this book. From this 1939 edition, I give to you a part of the Christmas story as written by Charles Dickens (and illustrated by Everett Shinn). According to the Foreword, Dickens wrote this small volume for his children between 1846 and 1849, "about the time he was completing David Copperfield." In classic early 20th century drama, the Foreword author writes Dickesn wrote this account and withheld it from public reading for reasons he wrote down in a letter to John M. Makeham, the very day of his death. In the final paragraph, he penned,

I have always striven in my writings to express veneration for the life and lessons of Our Saviour because I feel it; and because I rewrote that history for my children--every one of whom knew it from having it repeated to them--long before they could read, and almost as soon as they could speak. But I have never made proclamation of this from the housetops. 
On pages 19 and 20, Dickens describes the circumstances of Jesus' birth, and this has some Dickens sentiment about it:

He was born a long time ago--nearly two thousand years ago--at a place called Bethlehem. His  father and mother lived in a city called Nazareth, but they were forced by business to travel to Bethlehem. His father's name was Joseph, and His mother's name was Mary. And the town being very full of people, also brought there by business, there was no room for Joseph and Mary in the Inn or in any house; so they went into the stable to lodge, and in this stable Jesus Christ was born. There was no cradle or anything of that kind there, so Mary laid her pretty little boy in what is called a manger, which is the place the horses eat out of. And there He fell asleep. 

This is my little Christmas gift to you from Charles Dickens by way of my friend on the West Coast. Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to you all.

P.S. Dickens ends his book with two prayers: one for everyone and one for children. The children's prayer is a little "dated" but the general prayer is worth sharing. It reads:

Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ taught to His Disciples and to us, and what we should remember every day of our lives, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our mind, and with all our soul, and with all our strength; to love our neighbours as ourselves, to do unto other people as we would have them do unto us and to be charitable and gentle to all. 
There is no other commandment, our Lord Jesus Christ said, greater than these.
That was solid advice 2000+ years ago when Jesus said it. It was sound advice in the 1840s when Charles Dickens penned this prayer. It is rock solid advice today, when you read it here.

That final prayer ...
If you do not know Jesus and are moved by what you have read (or even think you might be moved), especially by that prayer there as that sums up the foundation of our belief as given to us by Jesus and passed down to us by the Bible, give yourself over to Jesus and the life he would have you live. Seek out Christians and a church that suits you (we come in many different persuasions [I'm American Baptist if that helps at all]) and start asking questions. If you find the right people and the right place, they will welcome you with open arms and be glad to answer any questions you have. You can even leave a question here in the comments section and I'll be glad to answer it for you.

Again, Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to you all.

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