Searching my bookshelf for holiday reading, I came across my well worn copy of "The Life of Our Lord," written by Charles Dickens for his own children. Copyright, 1936. I believe it came from my paternal grandparents.
The frayed, taped-together blue-washed cover shows Mary, Joseph and the Babe fleeing into Egypt. Inside, the pages are yellowed and parts are missing, but nevertheless, it faithfully tells the story of Jesus' life: the birth, baptism, feeding the multitude, walking on water (although half of this page was missing, I think Peter was rescued), raising Lazarus, the widow's mite, the prodigal son, the good Samaritan, and all else are there, as a father would tell them to his children.
Dickens wrote this between 1846 and 1849 but did not allow for its publication. He explained by saying although he always had "veneration" for the life and lessons of Our Saviour, ... "I never made proclamation of this from the housetops." Therefore, he wrote "The Life of Our Lord" only for his children.
For 85 years it was kept as a family secret, until 1933, when Dickens' youngest son, Henry Fielding, died. His widow and children decided it should be published. And so it was.
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