Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Still a Merry Christmas

When my Mom was a kid, she and her sisters would grab a bucket and walk to the Reading Railroad yard at Wayne Junction. They would walk up and down the tracks, picking up stray pieces of coal.

That's how they heated their house at Christmas.

My Dad came home from The War and worked as a second-shift machinist at a factory in Philadelphia. He came home for lunch at 8:00 each evening ... worked until after midnight. Never complained.

By the time my Mom and Dad passed away, they had enjoyed a house in the suburbs, with a pool. Dad had bought, and discarded, his Cadillac. They had travelled to Europe, the South Pacific and most places in between.

And they had a son who went to college.

Times change. God's soverign will never does.

The banking system may implode. All of us may be living through the greatest economic catastrophy since the Great Depression (don't know what was so great about it). And such a calamity would certainly strike the publishing industry as well, limiting resources and opportunities.

But people not only survived the Great Depression. Some prospered during. Some prospered after.

The people of Israel stood at the edge of the Red Sea, Pharoh's army braying at their backs, and they praised God. Before the water moved. They sang songs of praise.

Thats what we need for encouragement.

The water will move.

Until then, it's our job to praise God and do what he gives our hands to do. Whether that's picking up coal along the railroad tracks, or working at our craft ... making ourselves the best writers in the world.

If we have faith, this will be our best Christmas ever.

May God bless us ... every one.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sunsets Don't Last Very Long

One of the benefits of recently moving (if there are any benefits of moving ... where did all this 'stuff' come from?) is that, for the first time in our 30 years of marriage, I have a real, functional office. With bookcases, for all my collected rare (or just old) books. And a private place to write.

Another benefit of this office is that it has windows that overlook the Hudson River. Very rare ... and very peaceful. A true blessing.

I was sitting here yesterday evening, working on my next book - Scorpion Pass - as the sun was setting over the Jersey Palisades. One of those dramatic moments when a reality of life strikes.

Sunsets don't last very long.

There are many changes, rapid changes, in the evolution of a sunset. From early hues to hot orange to fading pink and then, ultimately, grey clouds and darkness.

Life is like that, isn't it. It doesn't last very long.

Childhood doesn't last very long. High School seems like an eternity when you're going through it but, really, that doesn't last long either. College goes by in a blur (probably too many evenings at the Rathskeller); "the best years of your life" are generally missed in a rush to establish a career ... and then you're old.

Early hues to hot orange to fading pink then, ultimately, grey hair and darkness.

I tend to miss too much of life. Spend too much time lamenting the past or looking to the future.

That's too bad. Because sunsets don't last very long. Yesterday, I caught some of it. But I was too busy to sit and watch the whole thing. Too often, that's the story of my life.

Don't miss Christmas. Make it the best one ever. And say Happy Birthday to Jesus.

Monday, December 22, 2008

An early Christmas Present

Pastor Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church had a few words to share after Brooklyn Tab’s Christmas concert this past weekend. Something for us to consider in the last dash to Christmas.

There are at least three reasons – in addition to the redemption of mankind from the sentence of sin – Jesus Christ choose to be born in Bethlehem, to become a man like us.
The first, said Pastor Cymbala, is that God loves you. A simple statement, yet often so hard to personally accept. God might love everybody else, but can He really love me?

Yeah … God loves you. If you were the only son (or daughter) of Adam throughout all time, Jesus would have become flesh and blood just for you. God loves you. That is His character.

Second is that God feels what you feel. The Bible tells us that God is Creator of all things, including man. It also tells us that God feels our pain, our loneliness and our discouragement. God feels what you feel.

And, because He loves you, there is the third reason. Jesus came into this world to give us hope. The hope that comes from the fact that God loves us, God feels what we feel and God cares so much about us that he asked His son to become our Redeemer to give us hope.

And so, we have Christmas.


I’ve held off on a November newsletter because things were moving along rapidly at Kregel Publications regarding the release date of The Sacred Cipher and I wanted to make sure I shared solid information.

While Kregel is still working to lock down its production schedule for the spring, it appears The Sacred Cipher will be released to bookstores in May.

The folks at Kregel have been great, and very encouraging. According to the marketing department, Sacred Cipher is one of their “lead titles for the season” and they are being very deliberate to ensure its success. What a blessing!

I have seen one result of Kregel’s commitment to The Sacred Cipher – the cover design. It is stunning … dramatic … and really cool. Kregel engaged an outside designer/artist to work on the cover and rejected two initial designs until they got the design they wanted.

So, my first Christmas present this year is one I'll share with you ... the official cover of The Sacred Cipher. Cool or what! Keep an eye out for the January newsletter. I hope to have a lot more details to share with you by then.

From the Brennans – may you and your family be blessed with joy, peace and God’s rest this Christmas.

Terry, Andrea, Meghan and Matthew

Merry Christmas!