Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Bookmark in the Bible

"There's a Star Shining Bright" was a new Christmas song in 1988.  A friend whom I had met while doing volunteer work had written the song, and my brother produced and recorded it in his studio. (See Living is Giving post, December 2010.) The singer and I were also to become good friends.  At that time 45 rpm records were being replaced by audio cassettes, and so the song was released in both media.  The reverse side of the recording was a production of the Infancy Narratives of St. Luke over an instrumentation of the Christmas song . It had been an exciting time, having developed two new friendships, and I wanted to help popularize this very special Christmas song.  It seemed that almost everyone that heard it had been moved by it and wanted a copy. I had taken a supply of cassettes along with a portable player to various schools and churches in my neighborhood, and within a few weeks, I had sold nearly fifty tapes, many of them to be Christmas gifts.

I had an appointment with a dentist on Long Island.  He was my brother's dentist and although I lived in Brooklyn, I would visit my brother often enough to see a dentist in his town.  The dentist had his office in his own home, and his waiting room looked like a furnished den with bookcases all around.  As I sat there this particular day, I was thinking about the Christmas song and wondered which version of the bible had been used for the narration.  If there were a bible on one of the bookshelves,  I could look it up, I thought.  I glanced up at the bookcase in front of me and on the shelf that first caught my eye, I saw a bible.  I took it in my hand and as I was about to flip through the pages, I noticed it opened easily to a particular page because there had been a bookmark in it.  The bookmarked page was Luke: 2,  the Infancy Narratives.  It had been the only bookmark in the bible, and it directed me right to the passage I had been seeking.

I suppose it isn't unusual to find a bible on a bookshelf, even though it was in a dentist's waiting room, and, perhaps, a bookmark at a particular chapter could be explained by the fact that it is a popular passage.  But I believe little signs from God are like that:  co-incidents with a message.

St. Luke:  Chapter 2
 8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
 15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
 16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
 17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
 18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
 19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
 21And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Joan Virzera

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