On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....
God's Gift of Dreams and Story
by Melody Carlson
A dream doesn’t always seem like a gift from God, but sometimes I’ll experience one so vivid and amazing that I can’t help but think God is at work. I remember a dream that woke me in the middle of the night about ten years ago. I was so moved that I felt compelled to write it down. In my dream I saw a sweet angel who was distraught that Jesus was about to leave heaven to be born as a baby on earth. So she volunteered to give up being an angel and God transformed her into a magnificent star to light the night sky for the Big Event.
I won’t tell the entire dream, but simply let it be said that the ending surprised everyone—including me. The story became a children’s Christmas book called The Greatest Gift (which is currently out of print). But as a result of that dream, I began to pay even more attention to my dreams. Sometimes I think that God simply uses them to show me things about my own life and sometimes my dreams wind up in my books.
Melody Carlson is the author of Ready to Wed, (Guideposts Books 2007). This story also involves a dream! For more information visit http://www.melodycarlson.com/
I have always loved books, far more than the words and the stories within. Those are reason enough to love books but I delight in what they represent.
Books are connectedness. Opening a book immediately connects me to the author. The characters reach out and grab my imagination and often heart. But even better than intimacy within the covers of a book, is the intimacy that has occurred with my children and husband as we've read books together.
Not just story books, oh, we did those, devouring Dr. Seuss, Monster at the End of this Book, The Berenstain Bears, and my favorite book from childhood, The Bull Beneath the Walnut Tree, the one I read to my younger brothers. And as our family tastes grew with our children's physical milestones, we kept reading.
Our oldest honed his skills while reading segments of The Box Car Children stories. Once the kids were on their way to an exotic island and Jordan read the name of a port they passed through "Cheecheego" I can't remember which adult read next, but I do remember laughing hysterically that the foreign port was our very own Chicago. We all still laugh. In the same book, Rob read that the kids ate sea biscuits. Jordan got the giggles and sea biscuits were mentioned too often over the next few months.
Car trips have been enriched with the rhythm of my voice as I've read aloud from Little House on the Prairie, The Painted House, The Chronicles of Narnia. Now that our children are out of the nest or perched on the rim, ready to take flight, I still read to Rob.
Some of my favorite reading memories are tapping me on the shoulder, triggered by sights and smells of Christmas past. We read the Christmas story together and one of several favorites, The Tale of Three Trees, Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect, The Night Before Christmas. I can't think of a memory that touches my heart like the one of our family huddled over a book.
Delicious scents from the Christmas feast perfume the air, all of us are dressed in our Christmas finery. White lights twinkle from the Christmas tree and if it's a white Christmas from under the snow on the evergreen and light wrapped porch railing.
These memories last just a few moments. Just a stolen pocket of peace in the midst of stress and busyness. But I've discovered that these breathtaking pockets of intense emotion are the things that make up my happiness and contentment.
The tree falls over? That's life. But when I can laugh, it becomes a memory. The kid who just twenty minutes earlier had driven me to a nervous breakdown, cuddled up against my thigh while we read...blessed bliss. I've learned to find my Christmas dreams in the midst of my Christmas chaos and I don't know that I'd have it any other way.
I'm hoping you find joy and peace this Christmas.