It's old. It's torn at the edges. The gold foil lettering on the cover and spine are faded. The Scotch tape used to keep the wrapping on the spine in place is ripped. It's well used, the pages of thin paper are fragile, and have yellowed over time.
And at this moment, it's my most treasured possession.
This hymnbook, published in 1939, has my grandmother's signature in the front. It had originally belonged to her. But it was from this hymnbook that my mother sang to me the hymns of not only the faith, but of HER faith.
As a child, my mother would sing from this hymnbook to me every night. Whereas some parents pray with their children, or read them a bedtime story, or tuck them in and kiss them on the cheek, my mother sang to me. I needed no bedtime story, because the hymns themselves told The Story, and it was her way of conveying that Story to me. Now, it sits on a shelf, part of the decor of the house, amidst books and even other things that my mom passed along to me and my wife as we began our own home.
If I ever find myself giving things away that belonged to my mom, this is one thing I will never give away. And even if I did, it would go to my niece, Sarah, who had a special bond with my mom - her grandmother. For it was from this hymnbook that she sang to Sarah as well. Maybe it wasn't directly out of this hymnbook, but it was from the hymns my mom knew so well and so deep in her soul that she had sung FROM this very hymnbook. She is now singing elsewhere, and those hymns of HER faith are being revealed in all the Glory that is God.
Soli deo Gloria.