November 9, 2016 : By Drew Menard - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
Master storyteller Karen Kingsbury shared scenes from her own life, of friendships and family, drawing laughs and tears from the crowd in Liberty University’s Vines Center for Convocation on Wednesday. The climax of the emotional ride drove home a simple, yet powerful message from Kingsbury as she reminded the students to cling to the ones they love.
Hailed by Time Magazine as the “Queen of Christian Fiction,” Kingsbury is an award-winning novelist who has sold more than 25 million books worldwide. A number of her books have been adapted into feature films. Kingsbury travels the nation regularly as a featured speaker, reaching more than 100,000 people annually.
To Kingsbury, Liberty is more than just a stop on her tour schedule; she is a Liberty parent with four children currently attending the university. She is also a visiting professor for residential and online programs. Through a partnership with Liberty, Kingsbury contributes to the university’s English and creative writing programs and provides writing curriculum exclusively to Liberty. She teaches on story development, marketing, and publishing, through both written pieces and video instruction.
While introducing Kingsbury, David Nasser, Liberty’s senior vice president for Spiritual Development, said that the No. 1 best-selling author regularly tunes in to watch Convocation and stay engaged with the university community.
“She is a real great champion for you,” Nasser said.
Before her message, Kingsbury shared a poem she had written in preparation for her visit to Liberty, knowing Wednesday would be the day after the U.S. presidential election and just six weeks before Christmas. The poem tied the miracle of Christ’s birth, and the political unrest that surrounded that day, with current events. (An adaptation of that poem ran as an Op-Ed for FOX News.)
“But like that first Christmas that cool, starry night, the answer won’t come from the left or the right,” Kingsbury declared as she read the poem. “We have our strong leader [Jesus], our troubles will end. We have one who will make the whole world great again.”
Kingsbury’s son-in-law Kyle Kupecky, a Liberty alumnus and recording artist, then sang “Oh, Holy Night.” Delighted at the early holiday celebration, students lit up the dimmed Vines Center with their cell phones.
Returning to the stage, Kingsbury declared that “because of Christmas, however you voted yesterday, we are all winners today.”
She reminded the students that for Christian Americans, “the work has just begun.”
“We will have the chance now to speak love and life and truth into the lives of those around us.”
Kingsbury’s talk outlined three points of how winners in Christ should act.
“In humility, in kindness, and in mercy, winners in Christ share their faith, they celebrate their friends, and they celebrate their families,” she said.
Reminding the audience that the days are short, Kingsbury recounted moments from her own life when she missed a moment of joy with her family or kept quiet about her faith in Christ around a close friend.
“Maybe I could have spent a little more time with the people I love,” Kingsbury said.
She challenged the students to make time to tell their friends and family that they love them.
Referring to a quote from her latest novel, “Baxter Family Christmas,” where a young girl says, “you don’t know what I would give to hear my mother’s heartbeat again,” Kingsbury told the students: “Most of you, you will be going home at Christmas break, maybe even Thanksgiving break, and you will hear your mother’s heartbeat. But some of you have heard that sound already for the last time, because we don’t know how much time we have with the people we love.
“And if we are going to show the world what it looks like to be a Christian, to be a Christian who has already won because of King Jesus, then we need to celebrate our families and spend time with them.”
Kingsbury closed by reading her sentimental children’s book, “Let Me Hold You Longer,” a powerful reminder to cherish each moment because time moves on. She stayed after Convocation to greet students and later signed copies of her books at the Liberty University Barnes & Noble Bookstore.
Read a firsthand Liberty experience from Kingsbury in the Liberty Journal.
Kingsbury also released a short e-series that is set on Liberty University’s campus and features members of the Flanigan family, characters from Kingsbury’s popular Baxter Family novels. The story can be downloaded for free at Liberty.edu/KarenKingsbury.