Book Beginnings and Friday 56: Reflections on the Psalms by C.S. Lewis

So I just realized that my last post for Book Beginnings (hosted over at Rose City Reader) and Friday 56 (hosted at Freda’s Voice) was also a C.S. Lewis book. What a lovely coincidence!

       

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might remember that my daughter gave me Reflections on the Psalms as a birthday present last year — an incredibly thoughtful birthday present at that! I love C.S. Lewis, but I’ve found this one a little hard to get through, unfortunately. It’s full of genius, as are all of his books that I’ve read, but this one puts me to sleep a bit. That said, I’m highlighting it this week because 1) I’m almost done! (half a chapter left), and 2) Despite it’s slowness, I have learned a lot from it and I’m still glad I’ve read it; you might find it worth your time as well!

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Here goes:

Beginning:

This is not a work of scholarship. I am no Hebraist, no higher critic, no ancient historian, no archaeologist. I write for the unlearned about things in which I am unlearned myself.

Page 56:

There is a stage in a child’s life at which it cannot separate the religious from the merely festal character of Christmas or Easter…But of course the time will soon come when such a child can no longer effortlessly and spontaneously enjoy that unity. He will become able to distinguish the spiritual and festal aspect of Easter…And once he has distinguished he must put one or the other first.

The opening lines are a little off-putting if you don’t recognize Lewis’s genius; it is precisely this “unlearned-ness” that makes his writing approachable and understandable to so many. My excerpt above from page 56 is just one example of his ability to speak spiritual truths in a straightforward manner. This one happens to be timely, too, given that Christmas just recently passed!

Happy Birthday to me! (And a C.S. Lewis book)

So yesterday was my birthday – and it was an absolutely awesome day. I LOVE my birthday every year, but yesterday was definitely one of the best birthdays I’ve had. My husband and kids just pulled out all the stops. Honestly, it was less about the specifics of what they did and more about the amount of effort and love they put into everything: they baked me a cake (from scratch! and it was delicious!), made me homemade cards, Adam made me paella (yum!), and they *tried* to let me sleep in (A didn’t cooperate, but she’s a baby)… and my five-year-old (“H”) got me a gift:

Reflections on the Psalms by [Lewis, C. S.]

It was absolutely the most perfect, wonderful gift, and I sobbed when I opened it. The whole thing was her idea, and Adam made it happen. One night at dinner we were talking about my birthday and she jumped up and whispered in his ear that she wanted to get me a book for my birthday (all I knew was she wanted to get me a gift). So, he took her to Barnes and Noble. As he tells it, they wandered the entire store looking, when H happened upon the Christianity section. Now, she and I have read some of the Chronicles of Narnia together, and she knows I’ve read other C.S. Lewis books. So as soon as she saw C.S. Lewis, she knew that’s what she wanted to get me. She actually wanted to get me all the C.S. Lewis books, but Adam helped her pick just one. She even paid for it from her piggy bank, wrapped it herself, and kept it a secret until I opened it. So perfect.

One of my favorite things (obviously, right?) is reading, and it’s so special for me to share that love with my daughters. In July we started having H stay up later and she and I started reading chapter books together every night before bed. It has become part of my day that I really look forward to. In fact, the couple of times we’ve tried to punish her by saying, “no story at bedtime,” it has been more of a punishment for me. I really treasure that time, and I’ve told her that.

What moved me the most about this gift is that my daughter, not yet six years old, knows me. She didn’t just want to get me any gift – she chose the perfect gift. She was able to see me as my own person, outside of my role as mom, and she gave selflessly just to bring me joy. She smiled as she walked out of my bedroom yesterday and said, “So now you can read it to yourself at night.”

So now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go read some Reflections on the Psalms.