Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Yesterday, Today and Forever"--a book review

Maria von Trapp, made famous in the movie "The Sound of Music" which chronicled her escape from Nazism and her well-known musical family, shares a more spiritual side of her life in the book "Yesterday, Today and Forever." In it, von Trapp chronicles how she and her family grew closer to the Lord as they learned more about His background. In essence, she incorporates history with spirituality to come to a better understanding of Jesus.

With her family and close friends, von Trapp delves into the history of Jewish customs in Jesus' time and how the geographic region looked in that day to conjure up a probable picture of what life was like for Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Like an experienced storyteller, von Trapp recounts what travelling may have been like for Mary and Joseph on that cold night when God humbled Himself and came into this world.

I can appreciate the use of Scripture within the text of "Yesterday, Today and Forever" and I wish von Trapp would have relied more heavily on Scripture than on the traditions of her faith as the basis for some of the premises of the book. For example, in the chapter titled "The Son of Man," von Trapp speculates on the death of Joseph. She mentions "how quiet" the house must have been for the widow Mary and clearly omits any indication that Mary and Joseph had other children, which is Biblically-sound (Matthew 13:53-58).

As a researcher with a background in history--and a love for Christ and the Bible--I can appreciate the fervor with which von Trapp and her family tried to recreate the "missing pieces" of Jesus' life. I also believe, however, that God purposely chose what He wanted us to know. Too much effort to reconstruct what we don't know takes our focus off of the truths of what we do know.

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