Redeemer Community Partnership is a nonprofit, Christian community development corporation that builds better neighborhoods in South Los Angeles by creating safe, healthy, opportunity-rich communities where children, youth and their families thrive.
Our tutoring director Lauren celebrated her birthday on Monday, and last night she joined our family for some late-night birthday cake. Following the rituals of candles, party hats and presents we turned our attention to the large stack of boxes on our living room floor. Lauren, Richard and I, and our housemate Heather each took a pair of scissors and started joyfully cutting through Amazon packing tape. We have had ONE HUNDRED books donated, as well as $250 in cash and gift cards. Praise God for the generosity of his people!
As we opened boxes last night we quickly fell to reminiscing about our own childhood and teen favorites. The ones we didn't think much of at first but later came to love, the ones that inspired us to collect the entire series, the tattered and yellowed ones we have passed down to our own kids, and the ones we miss because they are lost in our parents home somewhere. What a blessing our full bookshelves provided over the years!
Please pray for our Christmas Booksale on Saturday. Pray that all of our Adventures Ahead families will be able to come and that they will find just the right book for each of their children, from the babies on up to the teenagers. And pray that someday our students will sit in a living room with their own adult friends and reminisce fondly about some of these books you all have shared with them!
One of our partners shared a poem with us that captures the longterm blessing we hope these gifts will become. We hope you enjoy Diana's verse as much as we did!
(A Tribute to Robert Louis Stevenson and Hans Christian Andersen)
by Diana Axelson
For Christmas nineteen forty-two,
Gracie got a Toni doll
From Macy’s downtown flagship store,
For in those days there was no mall.
A Davy Crockett coonskin cap
Delighted Gracie’s brother Ed,
Although it soon spent far more time
Upon the floor than on his head.
Though Santa brought more games and toys,
He also brought some books,
But fairy tales and poetry
Got only cursory glancing looks.
Decades later, a different tale:
Ed and Gracie, old and frail,
Drank their tea and reminisced
About the gifts that now they missed.
“That ‘Garden of Verses,’” Eddie sighed,
“’The Little Match Girl’—how I cried,”
Said Gracie, and they both agreed
Of doll and cap they had no need;
What each now wanted for her-/himself
Was Stevenson, Andersen—on the shelf!
The faddish toys will soon grow old,
Become uncool and leave us cold.
No matter where or how you look,
The best gift always is a book.
So for holiday season zero nine,
May you get great books and nothing swine.