By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Growing Up with Jesus, a new book by Karen Dampier

Karen L. Dampier has taught children of all ages about the love of Jesus in a church setting. Through the years of Sunday school lessons, camp fires and youth retreats, questions of Jesus as a boy would intrigue the children.

Drawing on her experience in writing articles for a monthly magazine and occasional newspaper opinion pages, she decided to write the story of "why we give gifts at Christmas time". The story grew and developed into a speculative of the daily life of Jesus.

Growing Up With Jesus is a fictional story of Jesus when he was a boy. Written from the perspective of Simon Peter, who is 10 years older than Jesus, he chronicles the boyhood of Jesus. Simon recounts his relationship with Mary, the mother of Jesus, before Jesus was even born. He then weaves the story of Jesus' boyhood into his own life. Mutual associations with friends, religious events and holidays as well as occupational happenings will remind us of how life was as ordinary for Jesus growing up as ours is today. Many storylines are woven into the tale including Simon's own life events, Jewish traditions and holidays, epic Biblical stories, relationship observations and explanations, Roman political presence, life in the town, dealing with death, occupational descriptions and of course, Biblical morals and perspectives.

Obviously, the events you will read about are how the author imagines things might have been. References to Jewish practices, traditions and holidays were thoroughly researched and every effort was made to stay as true as possible while creating the story. It is supposed, by the author, that Simon and his brother Andrew might have known Jesus before they were called to follow him into ministry, leaving their homes and families behind. The geographical setting is used to include water on which Simon and Andrew could earn their living. This story ends with Jesus at age 29 and where the written, Biblical, documented narrative of Jesus' ministry begins.

The author developed this story over 20 years and has finally released it for children to read and enjoy. The hope is that after reading this book as a child or a curious adult, one will find the Bible to be captivating as they yearn to learn more about our Lord, Jesus Christ.  

Karen has served in several capacities in her church including choir, teaching the Bible to children and youth, director and committee member of children and youth departments, family-life enrichment chairperson and church events coordinator.  Most recently, she was the director of the women's ministry in her large, local church. She is happily married, has one lovely and talented daughter and two delightful grandsons.