The creaky Bible (and how I got to swear at Christmas).


Advent is just days away. I cannot help but think back to Advent devotions every Sunday during Advent season when I was growing up. Our Advent wreath was homemade: a white birch log with holes drilled in it for candles and gold tinsel wrapped around it. I only learned a few years ago that the Advent devotions we read were prepared by my mother. She’s amazing, by the way. You should all meet her sometime.

But what stands out most in my memory is the wooden Bible we would read from. Both covers and the spine were made of beautifully decorated wood and attached by leather strings like the shoelaces on deck shoes. When you would open it, it would creak as the leather stretched against the wood. And it had a unique smell that, to me, meant Christmas was coming.

There was a funny side to these Advent devotions every year. We would pass the Bible around and, once we were all old enough, we would each read a portion. My brother and I knew what was in there. To an eight year old, the prospect of getting to “swear” while reading the Bible was pretty awesome. “…and on a colt, the foal of an ass.” Man was it hard to hold back the laughter. We would both look into each other’s eyes knowing it was coming. We never once actually talked about why it was funny, but everyone knew that is was. My brother and I always assumed we would get in trouble if we actually belted out a real laugh. Looking back on it now, I am sure we would not have no more than I would yell at my kids for the same thing today. It’s funny what kids build up in their minds.

So over the next few days I will be putting together our Advent devotions for 2013. I make a new set each year, in honor of the way my mother prepared her own set all those years ago. And my oldest daughter is old enough to read well (11) so I just might have to take the time to plan in out so she gets that most challenging of all verses for a kid to read at Christmas. And no, I won’t yell at her if she cracks a smile…

We were built to be heroes. And our biggest hero is coming.

Photo credit: Knight725 / / CC BY-NC


11 thoughts on “The creaky Bible (and how I got to swear at Christmas).

  1. How I recall the many memories of Advent. As a child, time seemed to stand still as I waited eagerly for the birth of Jesus. I don’t recall having a stand alone Advent wreath, rather paper candles and wreath, of course we didn’t light those candles, rather we used flames made out of construction paper. On Christmas morning, before we even looked at our gifts, my family gathered around the tree and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.


    • me says:

      Singing Happy Birthday to Jesus is wonderful … breakfast on Christmas morning when my sons were little was Jesus’ birthday cake, which was a really big deal for kids whose mother was a nutcase about eating a healthy breakfast.


      • Okay for those of you who don’t know already, this commenter is my mother. And I feel compelled to bust her on something. In our family, you could pick whatever you wanted to eat on your birthday for dinner. Once, my loving mother who fought relentlessly to protect us kids and loves us with all her heart, had… M&Ms for her birthday dinner. Once. I realize this is entirely off topic but thought it needed to be shared with the world! Love you mom. You’re the best. Can’t wait to read your book.


      • me says:

        Ruh roh, I’ve been ratted out by my own kid!!

        Ok, so I … all of us, actually … had a cereal bowl of M & Ms for my birthday dinner. At least, I didn’t try to hide broccoli in the bottom of a glass of milk in order to avoid the family policy of having a ‘no thank you helping’ … three real bites … of every food being served at every meal.

        Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, neener neener, boo boo!


  2. Bill says:

    For a moment there I was swept back decades into the past, we were sitting around our dining room table, Advent candles, their flames reflecting in the tinsel and flickering across time and space. I heard our old creaky family Bible, smelled its Christmas smell. For what it’s worth, the child in me just fought back the giggles when I read today’s post.

    Thanks for the happy memories, little brother.


  3. Thanks for the comments! I spend alot of time trying to reinvent myself, to ditch all that is wrong with me. This time of year I celebrate what’s right and do things the way I’ve done them for my entire life. It is a brief break of comfort and great memories. Glad you are along for the ride!


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