In 2008 I was in the midst of my Masters program in Communication at Rochester Institute of Technology. At the close of a particular class, the professor asked to see me for a moment. I gathered my books and personal items and then met her at the front. She said, “I have something for you if you have a moment to stop by my office.”
My curiosity was piqued and I agreed to walk with her down the hall to her small office – a tiny room with a desk, filing cabinets, and plenty of shelves lined with all manner of books. She reached behind her to a spot on a shelf and removed a small thin volume. Placing it in my hand she said, “I think you will appreciate this.” As I accepted her gift with sincere thanks, I looked at the spine. The title was unfamiliar, but the author? Yes, I felt as though I almost knew this man personally, so familiar am I with many of his writings.
The Life of Our Lord, by the incomparable Charles Dickens! A First Edition and in pristine condition! I was astounded and practically speechless. I’m not sure how the professor knew that this book would have such meaning for me, but she nailed it! To say thank you hardly seemed enough, but I promised to treasure the volume and it occupies an honored place in our home to this very day.
The Life of Our Lord was written by Dickens between 1846 and 1849 and it became his custom to read the story to his children every Christmas. He never meant for this book to be published and he actually made his family promise to never allow it to leave the family circle.
In the special and unique manner of writing that is Charles Dickens, here is the book’s opening:
My Dear Children, I am 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 people who did wrong, or were in any way 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.
This special work was finally published in 1934 after the last of Dickens’ children had passed on. As we think of Christmas and gift-giving and all of our special traditions, let us also remember the birth of our Savior – Christ Jesus the Lord.
I think Charles Dickens expressed the sentiments so beautifully in the brief piece above and I know I can never compare with his unique ability to make a heartfelt and touching point. Instead, I encourage all of us to spend a few moments in reflection about the Lord Jesus as we celebrate His birth.
So then, from Jeff & Dee… a heartfelt Merry Christmas to you and to those you love!
© Jeffery J. Michaels / Plain English Publications 2020
(Quotations allowed with attribution to this blog)