News | December 8, 2022

The theme of this year’s Advent devotion is: Do you see what I see? An array of St. Paul voices selected a photo or photos that hold very special memories to them, then sat down and reflected on what that photo means to them. What do they see and remember that others may not when looking at this photo? Through their words and stories, hopefully, you’ll see a little of what they see.

As we approach the Christmas season, I look forward to family traditions like decorating cut-out cookies and eating Swedish meatballs and rice pudding. But most of all, I look forward to our tradition of reading Christmas stories.

I was raised in a household of readers. My father’s college textbooks, thick novels, and Reader’s Digest condensed volumes filled the bookshelves in our living room and den. My mom read mostly magazines at that time, but later in her life she read more books. The Mitford Series by Jan Karon was her favorite; read and reread when her copies weren’t out on loan to a friend. Each Saturday, my brother, sister, and I walked the two blocks to the Book Mobile. After selecting our books for the week, we returned home for a quiet afternoon of reading. These early experiences influenced me greatly.

I became an early childhood educator, most often using a literacy-based curriculum in my classroom. I wanted my students to love books as

much as I did. I looked forward to the start of a new school year, which I always started with Brown Bear by Eric Carle. When I became a mother, I read those same books at home with our daughters. I was delighted when the girls were as excited about gifts of books as toys. As they became independent readers, I still read aloud to them at bedtime.

And then, those young girls became mothers, making me a grandmother. Once again, I’m reading those favorite books, this time to my granddaughters. And watching them become readers.

So, along with decorating the tree and wrapping packages, my Christmas preparations will include collecting a basket of Christmas books, favorites like Guess Who’s Coming to Our House or The Donkey’s Dream. And continuing a family tradition of reading with my granddaughters as we prepare for the birth of Jesus.

Karin Mullen and her husband Ron have two daughters (and spouses) and three granddaughters. In retirement, she has more time for family, travel, quilting, and reading.

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