Saturday, December 10, 2011

Four Kinds of Books

I had a formula for reading, and also a very definite explanation of the difference in categories of books. My formula was to read something out of three classifications of books each evening whenever possible. The first would be something from a variety of children's stories, classics, fairy stories, and so forth; then I would read something with a Christian message; and then finish with a Bible story - or, as they grew older, with the Bible itself.

It seemed to me that this served as a real preparation for sleep, and a gentle cutting off from the activity of the day, as well as opening the way for questions and conversation about serious things. Prayers together at the end meant that the children prayed first, and then I prayed - and often the child would be asleep before I stopped praying. If not, I often sang a few hymns - the same ones each night.

I tried to explain the different kinds of books like this: "There are four kinds of books. First, fairy stories, which are make-believe and couldn't happen, but which are fun to think about and pretend are true. There are a lot of happy fairy stories, with animals that talk, or people only thumb high. Secondly, there are stories which could be true, which are just made up by the person writing; stories of little boys and girls, people doing things that people really do do, but not stories about people who really did live and who really did the things that are told about. Thirdly, there are stories about people who really did live and who did really do the things that are told about. These are called 'biographies', or true life stories. There are lots of people whose lives are interesting and different from ours, and who you'd enjoy hearing about.

Fourthly, there is another book which is quite different from anything else. It is the Bible. The Bible is God speaking to man, God speaking to us, telling us true things that happened in the past, telling us things that happened before any man lived, telling us things about the future. But the Bible doesn't tell us only history and things that are going to happen, it also tells us how to know God, and how to become one of His children so that we can have eternal life. It tells us how to live, and helps us to know what to do. The Bible gives us comfort when we are sad, and strength when we are weak. Yes, the Bible is different from any other book in the whole world, and it is important to realize this - and also important to read it over and over again.

From The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer

Wise words, and a most important reminder this time of year. How are we presenting the story of Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty the Snowman? Do we make it clear that these are fairy stories? Do we make it even more clear that the story of Noah, Baby Moses in the Basket, Jonah, Daniel in the lions den, and the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus are REAL? Do we make it clear to our children that the Bible is a holy message from God?

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