Friends! In the Christmas frenzy, I was delighted to discover an old book of mine which has a crazy story. Published in 1934, it looks old and tattered, its pages yellowed. Sadly I have no recollection of having read this, but was beyond excited to learn of its story and you can bet I’ll be sharing it with our grands.
Many of us are already familiar with the many works of Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, and David Copperfield just to name a few. Who knew Charles was a strong believer and wrote a book based on the gospel of Luke for his children?
Here’s the book. (It just had its two hundredth anniversary!)
The Life of Our Lord written by Charles Dickens for His Own Children
The story reveals Charles Dickens wrote The Life of Our Lord about the time he wrote David Copperfield somewhere between 1846 and 1849. John M. Makeham had accused him of irreverence in The Mystery of Edwin Drood to which Charles replied,
He later declared in a letter to his youngest son who was traveling at the time to Australia, “I put a New Testament among your books for the very same reason, and with the same hopes, that made me write an easy account of it for you when you were a little child. Because it is the best book that ever was or will be known in the world.”
For unknown reasons, Charles did not want The Life of Our Lord published, he wanted it kept only for his children. When he finished the manuscript, he had eight children, the youngest of which was two years old.
His wife’s sister, Georgina Hogarth, “sacredly guarded the manuscript as a precious family secret.” Upon her death, the manuscript fell to Dickens’ “youngest child, Sir Henry Fielding Dickens, along with the admonition it should not be published while any child of Dickens lived.” While reading this, I keep shouting out loud, “BUT WHY???”
Once Sir Henry died, he gave the manuscript to his wife and children, allowing them to decide if it should be published, and if so, the proceeds should go to them into equal shares. Lo and behold, the family decided to publish, and The Life of Our Lord finally was shared with the world.
Rachel Taft-Dixon created the illustrations which are bright and beautiful with a classic touch. The light always surrounding Christ is take-your-breath-away beautiful.
Charles begins the book with,
While the Book of Luke has twenty-four chapters, Charles’ book, which summarizes Luke’s, has just eleven. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it over the month of December. I believe your family would enjoy reading this next Christmas season, if not before!
It will also warm your heart to see someone like Charles Dickens laying out the Gospel with a beautiful sense of urgency for his children to grasp it in their own lives. Isn’t that what we all want for our own children and grandchildren?
Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and secure what’s sure to be a must-read at the very least during the Christmas season. Or, why not begin the New Year with it?
May you have a most blessed, Happy, Healthy, 2019.
‘Til next time!
P.S. Checkout my new author website, thanks to my publisher, WestBow Press. It launched about a month after my book did. (Note there’s also a link to this blog and website on the author website which includes information about where you can get my book if you don’t live in Louisville. Thanks!)
You may also email me if I you’d like my book for a friend or family member and I’ll be happy to send it to you: