The soft glow of the gas lamp spilled into the room. It was a bitter cold winter night. Moonlight glistened on the fresh snow outside. But my grandparent’s living room was cozy and warm with love. And I was happy and content. Because as the day came to an end, it was time to open the pages of comfortable and familiar books – or equally as wonderful, fill the evening with the adventure of an intriguing new read.
The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Sitting on the landing of Grussdaudy & Grussmommy’s stairs, was the bookshelf. As a young girl my favorites were the illustrated children’s Bible story books found there. When I grew older I was fond of reading their historical fiction collections. The selection of books found in the guest room of my other grandparent’s house never disappointed anyone searching for something to read. There were children’s story books, classic young readers, devotionals and many more. As a teenager, my favorite book from their shelf was called “Christy“.
In addition to books, my grandparents read the Budget (“a weekly newspaper written for and by members of the Amish, Amish Mennonite, Beachy Amish, and Mennonite communities from 1890 to the present.” – The Budget) and Family Life Magazine (” it contains articles on Christian living, parenting, and homemaking. It also contains editorials, letters from Amish readers, medical advice, poems, recipes, and children’s stories.” – Scroll Christian Publishing.) My Grandpa read Lancaster’s Intelligencer Journal newspaper every day, and often shared stories from The Guidepost with us.
At the heart of every Amish home’s book collection you can find a German family Bible and the Ausbund (the oldest hymnal in continuous use in the world, with hymns dating back to 1525). Many also have a copy of Martyr’s Mirror. (“In 1660, Dutch Mennonite Thieleman J. van Braght published this immense and beautifully crafted collection of the stories and testimonies of Christian martyrs from the preceding seventeen centuries, focusing mostly on Anabaptists, or Christians who practiced nonresistance.”)
Something magnificent happens when you remove television from the environment of a home. Instead of families staring blankly at a box, you find them engaged in things like mindful activities, nourishing conversations and reading. I have to agree with Jane Austen when she says,
“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book!” ~ Jane Austen
I cherish this lesson from my Amish family: Reading a bonafide book with exquisite pages you turn in your hand is not a lost art. It nourishes the soul, stretches the imagination and trains the mind. We should all devise a plan of action and set aside some time in our busy lives where we sit down in a comfortable room with our family, and allow the wondrous words on the pages of books to come alive in our homes.
~ Justina Dee
Thank you for joining me on this #write31days project, as I share lessons I’ve learned from my Amish family! You can read more of my posts on the Amish way of life by clicking here.
Wall Street Journal’s Article: Amish Newspapers Thrive in Digital Age