Christmas is upon us. I mentioned in my November “Letter from the Headmaster” that it was important to be intentional in giving thanks. If we don’t set aside time to purposefully reflect on all our reasons for gratitude, gratitude becomes an afterthought of sorts –something we throw into the mix because it’s supposed to be there. The same principle applies to our celebration of Christmas. If we’re not purposeful and intentional about remembering Christ, His incarnation and coming to save us from our sins, then He becomes only one thing among many other things – shopping, baking, presents, decorations, and pretty lights. Those other things are good and right in their place but be encouraged to set aside specific time to read the Scriptures and contemplate the Christmas story with your family. Follow the example of Mary who treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. (Luke 2:19). Mary’s treasuring and pondering was intentional. No doubt, she set aside time to think, wonder and reflect. Let us do the same.
Recommendations and Exhortations
- 2022 Book Recommendations: Please find attached my annual list of book recommendations. Each year for the past eleven years I have assembled a list of books for parents. The lists are not necessarily the best books of the year. These are titles that I hope might be a good place to start if you are not a regular reader. This year’s list includes novels (classic and contemporary), biographies, and several recent nonfiction works. If you need a Christmas gift idea, here you go. There ought always to be books under the Christmas tree! The Recommended Books lists from previous years can be found here.
- You will also want to check out several other 2022 book lists. There are thousands of books published every week. So many that choosing what to read can be overwhelming. Recommended book lists can be helpful –assuming those making the recommendations share your perspective on subject matter and appropriateness. Here are some suggested lists. World Magazine, AlbertMohler.com, The Wall Street Journal, FiveBooks.com, Challies.com, The Gospel Coalition, and Goodreads.com.
- There is one particular book I would like to recommend. You’ve heard me talk about the benefits of reading in your home –how students who read a lot, whose parents read a lot, and whose homes have lots of books, do better academically. Students raised with lots of reading and books do better on standardized tests, get higher SAT scores, get better grades, etc. etc. –numerous studies make this essentially indisputable. This past week the book, Honey for a Child’s Heart, by Gladys Hunt was reviewed on the World and Everything In It podcast. This classic book speaks powerfully to the benefits of reading for your child that go deeper than academic success. Hunt’s book argues that reading in the home contributes to a wise and godly culture in the home. Hunt excels in helping parents understand just how profoundly they can impact their kids eternally with good books. Her book lists can help children enjoy stories written long ago, exposing them to values beyond our woke cultural moment . . . The practical wisdom of Honey for a Child’s Heart can help families pass on Biblical values. No, not every child will grow up to love reading. But for those who do, great books read during childhood will be sweet, like honey, and shape their hearts for a lifetime of joy and usefulness in God’s kingdom.
Glorify God. Enjoy Him forever. And read a good book!
Grace and Peace,
Scott B. Taylor
Headmaster, Veritas Academy