Today I’m linking up with Annie Downs over at her blog. She just finished, for #write31days, a series of books young women need. Her list is on point—I particularly love her nod to Letters to a Young Poet and the Barefood Contessa cookbooks. But now she’s asked others to add their favorites to the list. Here’s mine!
I’ve been thinking about Christmas lately. I know it’s too early and whatever, but summer lasted forEVER and I am ready to wear socks and curl up in a blanket and put up twinkle lights. As Kathleen Kelly would say, “It’ll all shake out in the end; meanwhile, I’m putting up more twinkle lights.”
When I was thinking about the most important book for me as a young woman, it was Letters to a Young Poet, which I read as a junior in college. So I thought back to my teenage-ish years and instantly remembered Max Lucado’s An Angel’s Story, which was previously titled Cosmic Christmas. My friend Caitlyn gave it to me close to our senior year in high school, if I’m remembering correctly.
It’s a small hardback book that you can read easily in one sitting, and it remains important to me because it brought new life to the Christmas story we know well enough for it not to impact us deeply every time we hear it. Essentially, Lucado imagines the story and spiritual conflict surrounding the birth of Jesus. It is based, of course, on Scripture, relying on the truth of unseen spiritual conflict, but it’s important to note that there is also an element of fiction here. Lucado outlines some examples of these elements and notes that “whether or not you like the fiction is insignificant. But whether or not you see the truth is essential.”
I read this book every Christmas Eve, when we’ve all gone to our rooms to try to go to sleep. It helps me to anticipate the morning as what it is: the newest morning, the morning when everything changed, when there was a cosmic event that impacted the world impermeably and forever. It brings me back to Jesus after a Christmas season inevitably packed with shopping and food and hurry (not all bad, just not what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown).
One of my favorite moments in the book comes right at the beginning. Lucado imagines God speaking to a particularly disbelieving Satan:
“But Immanuel? The plan is bizarre! You don’t know what it’s like on Earth! You don’t know how dark I’ve made it. It’s putrid. It’s evil. It’s…”
“IT IS MINE,” proclaimed the King. “AND I WILL RECLAIM WHAT IS MINE. I WILL BECOME FLESH. I WILL FEEL WHAT MY CREATURES FEEL. I WILL SEE WHAT THEY SEE.”
“But what of their sin?”
“I will bring mercy.”
“What of their death?”
“I will give life.”
(Amen and amen. You can read an excerpt of An Angel’s Story here!)