Although I’m not fond of the slogan “Binge Jesus,” that’s exactly what I did during the Christmas season as The Chosen Season 3 aired. Each rewatching of an episode or its aftershow yielded new nuggets to savor.
When I got to the point where I could say the lines along with the actors, though, I decided enough was enough. I returned to other stories of Jesus written by Marjorie Holmes: Two from Galilee, Three from Galilee, and The Messiah. I discovered this author as a young adult. She wrote several collections of inspirational poetry, Ann Landers and other columnists quoted her, and her wisdom is even enshrined on the web.
If only I could move others with my writing as Marjorie Holmes moved me!
When I was ten, I wrote my first fan letter (to Maud Hart Lovelace and the characters in her Betsy-Tacy series). Ms. Lovelace was no longer living, but “Tib” wrote me back and sent me a picture!
Why not write another fan letter? Fifteen years later, I did—to Marjorie Holmes. I took the bold step of enclosing some samples of my own writing!
She graciously responded that I did have talent (had I really asked her that?!) and suggested how to hone my craft. She also invited me to come to a book signing in DC later in the fall. Feeling honored and very professional, I wore my brown striped suit and my favorite blue blouse. I bought her new release, God and Vitamins, and chatted with her a bit before she signed the book, adding a personal note of encouragement.
Once again, I’m devouring her series about Jesus. Just as Dallas Jenkins and his team have done for The Chosen, Ms. Holmes supported her imaginative story with careful, respectful research. Her descriptions are rich and vivid, and I couldn’t resist copying a few. Here is a beautiful passage in Three from Galilee* describing Jesus’ increasing consciousness of his identity:
As he lay there he could hear the earth’s heart beating, feel every point of light that glittered overhead, feel the secret life force pulsing in the meadows, the wind, the stream, the precious sheep he was tending.…So beautiful and somehow pathetic, bending their heads so trustingly in the starlight, knowing he would look out for them. They were his children. The world and its people, were they not his sheep and his children? He was responsible for them, he was one with the Father who had created them. He must somehow help them, he must comfort and carry them all.*
Yes, writing styles have changed since Marjorie Holmes, but her stories still inspire and stir the imagination. Carve out some quality time to read these three lovely novels sometime soon. They are truly binge-worthy.
*Marjorie Holmes, Three from Galilee: the Young Man from Nazareth (New York: Harper & Row, 1985), 112-113.