Advent, Books, Christmas

Words That Help–Books 55 and 56

I like to pick up a new picture book at Christmas time, and this year I happened to see Room for a Little One (Book #55, by Martin Waddell) at a denominational office. It's charming and vivid and simple and short, a story about the cow inviting animals into the barn, and ultimately Mary and Joseph. I used it with the children last Sunday, after which we sang "Jesus, Our Brother, Strong and Good," an absolute favorite of mine. My friend, RevFun, wrote a verse about Molly two Christmases ago. She came to church last Sunday, and we added her verse to the carol.

"I," said the dog, brown, black and white,
I guarded his family all through the night.
I kept them safe till the morning light.
I," said the dog, brown, black and white.

Molly seemed to enjoy it. I know I did.

Throughout Advent, I've appreciated Run, Shepherds, Run: Poems for Advent and Christmas (Book #56, edited by L. WIlliam Countryman). Just tonight I read a poem that touched a tender place for me.

In Memoriam XVIII ~ Alfred Tennyson

The time draws near the birth of Christ:
The moon is hid; the night is still;
The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist.

Four voices of four hamlets round,
From far and near, on mead and moor,
Swell out and fail, as if a door
Were shut between me and the sound:

Each voice four changes on the wind,
That now dilate, and now decrease,
Peace and goodwill, goodwill and peace,
Peace and goodwill, to all mankind.

This year I slept and woke with pain,
I almost wish’d no more to wake,
And that my hold on life would break
Before I heard those bells again:

But they my troubled spirit rule,
For they controll’d me when a boy;
They bring me sorrow touch’d with joy,
The merry merry bells of Yule.

I'm grateful to writers this year, writers who have amused me, made the time go by when I couldn't do much with my free time due to ill health, writers who shared their experiences, in fact and in fiction. Tennyson's pain may not be like mine, unless it is since I have been grieving for the life I believed I would have before the RA diagnosis. Now, many months later, I still don't really know what the new life will be like, but I am hearing the bells, too, and finding different joys in them.

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6 thoughts on “Words That Help–Books 55 and 56”

  1. thanks for sharing those books. I also saw “room for a little one” in the store, and almost picked it up.
    Do you know, “Welcome to our house”? Another book like that… also makes a good sermon title…

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