On This Day. By Carl D. Windsor. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989. 383 pp. Cloth, $14.95.
This book contains 366 entries-one for each day of the year, including February 29. Each page contains: (1) A Scripture reading for that day; (2) A sampling of what happened on that day in history; (3) A listing of some of the prominent people born on that date; (4) A special quotation by a famous person; (5) A daily devotion; (6) A prayer emphasis suggestion. Although parts 1, 4, 5, and 6 particularly dovetail with each other, the entire daily package definitely comprises one single unit. Because neither the day of the week nor the year appear, the book is usable year after year.
On This Day… can be used as a family devotional guide with a unique historical emphasis. And for the history buff, it is an excellent book to simply browse through. It is also great for developing both a higher appreciation for our heritage and a deeper feeling for God’s hand in history. The work would further be of considerable value in aiding young people to grasp the personal aspect of the lives of the history-making individuals cited. And it would be a very fine tool in the personal libraries of home schoolers.
Even with its historic emphasis, Almighty God is the book’s main focus. The author has deliberately attempted to use the historical illustrations and interesting anecdotes to demonstrate the truths of spiritual principles. A presentation of the Gospel closes the book, along with a telephone number to call for further assistance.
In the birthday sections, an effort was made to present a balanced sampling of both historic and contemporary personalities. Likewise, those past and present notables are drawn from a cross section of human endeavor. One finds individuals from the worlds of religion, education, entertainment, the arts, politics, sports, and government-to name a few.
Wilson’s work may also be used as the basis of a variety of games. For instance, one could read a quotation and ask, “Who said it?” “On which day did a certain event happen?” Or, “On which day was a particular personality born?” “What do former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, actress/dancer Cyd Charisse, country and western singer Charlie Pride, and baseball player Jim Rice all have in common?” (They were all born on the same day-March eighth.)
Furthermore, On This Day… could be successfully employed to ascertain what occurred on important family days, such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc. These could then be incorporated, along with the special spiritual applications for that day, into personal compilations of family histories.
Perhaps a few examples of the book’s inclusions would be in order. The “Today’s Quotation” for the 9th of March is the testimony of Benjamin Franklin’s personal faith: “I believe in one God. Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable Service we render Him is doing good to His children.”
The devotion for May 8 includes the “Cadet Prayer” recited during the chapel service at the United States Military Academy: “Make us choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be contented with half truth when the whole truth can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when right and truth are in jeopardy.”
It was gratifying to note that December twenty-fifth’s “Today in History” begins with, “Christ was born to Mary in Bethlehem stable … .” And the day’s corresponding “Born Today” section’s first entry is “Jesus Christ.” In this unbelieving world, it is nice to find a book which treats our Lord and Savior as the historical personage that He is!
Finally, being of Scottish descent, this reviewer especially liked the devotion for the 29th of March:
We are uniquely blessed in America with freedom of speech and of religion. Few people in the world enjoy such freedom. Do you exercise your freedoms regularly? Carlisle Castle was a place of imprisonment for many Scotsmen during the border wars years ago. A visitor to a prison cell in the castle will notice long grooves worn in the stone. Such grooves came from prisoners frantically clawing at the walls in a vain effort to be free.
I wonder if Christ’s love so predominates our lives that it is straining to get out; that is the normal experience of the believer who is right with God. If you were to be tried for your witness for God, would there be enough evidence to convict you? What does He see when He looks down at you?
John R. Bennie III
Lifeway Educational Resources