My wife and I like to attend estate sales. Estate sales are the places they try to sell what you tried to hold onto in this life and expected to pass on to the next generation. But, you can’t take it with you (whether you’re downsizing or afterlife sizing) and your kids are more picky and less sentimental than you once thought.
At this particular estate sale, it was obvious that this lady had been passionate about one thing. There were snow globes of Santa, yards of yuletide greenery, and eighty tiny reindeer. There were nativity sets, Christmas tree decorations, and miles of wrapping paper. Entire rooms and much of the basement were stocked with Christmas wonderment.
“She really loved Christmas,” I overheard the deceased’s granddaughter say to her mother. “Yes, she did. Christmas and Footprints.” “Footprints?” “That’s the story about being carried by God. It’s everywhere in the house.”
Like the granddaughter, I had noticed Christmas, but not Footprints, until it was pointed out. I was looking for books, not decorations, so had not even noticed all the plates, posters, coffee mugs, even clocks, with the Footprints story on it. If there was something with Footprints on it that she had not bought, I can’t imagine what it would be.
On the off-chance that you do not know this piece, here it is on a clock.
Footprints was obviously soul-shaping to the Christmas lady. I wondered what dark days she was forced to stumble through – days when the absence of God was more real than God’s presence. As a woman of faith, she struggled with the ultimate questions of why there is evil and why evil was allowed to have her in its grasp. She wondered why her prayers were not answered. She felt despair and the desertion of God.
Then, somehow, a revelation. God had been with her all along. Whether Footprints was the instrument of revelation or the confirmation of her own ah-ha experience, we will never know. Footprints – not the Ten Commandments, not Psalm 23, not the Lord’s Prayer -but Footprints was the Gospel to her.
As I was editing a video about the formation of the Bible, that estate sale experience came to mind. I’d bet that if she could have, the Christmas lady would have added Footprints to the Bible.
Given the opportunity, what would you add to the Bible? A hymn that could become Psalm 151? A devotion, or homily, or sermon to tuck behind the sermon we know as the book of Hebrews? A pithy quote to be added to the book of Proverbs? Maybe another category could be added that contains the wit and wisdom of your favorite author, money manager, or late-night host? What has shaped your soul as much as, or more than, the “classics” of biblical nicknacks?