Atmore native's book retells traditional Christmas story

Published 7:32 pm Monday, December 26, 2005

By By Michele Gerlach
Atmore native Celine Wood Meador believes it was the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that led her to pen the book "Star of Wonder."
The book actually began as a family Christmas card, but was received so well that it became a small book.
"I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit inspired me," Mrs. Meador said. "It was truly His gift to me.
"Because it is the story of someone who has lost his original relationship with God and then magnificently regained it, it is a story to bring hope and encouragement to anyone who reads it," she said.
Published in 2001, the book was described by one reviewer as a story that "offers a stirring glimpse into the life of a faithful old king as he experiences the infinite grace of God and finds the destiny he was born to fulfill."
Mrs. Meador said the day she began writing Star of Wonder, she was thinking about different characters in the Christmas story and wondering what circumstances in their respective lives led them to the moment that they became involved with the Christ Child.
"Suddenly, an old king was the focus of my thoughts, and the story began to unfold almost immediately," she said. "I basically wrote the book that day, although I spent many subsequent hours refining the language, designing the layout and collecting the beautiful old engravings used for illustrations."
Mrs. Meador began writing at age 5.
"My grandmother's best friend was the principal of the Poarch Creek school (which I attended in the first grade because I was too young to attend city schools)," she said. "She was a retired Judson College professor and very strict, but she was fond of me and made me write something every day."
Later, Mrs. Meador said, she was encouraged by other excellent English teachers in Atmore, among them Miss Joyce Jackson, Mrs. Marie Currie, and Miss Mary Hodnett.
"I remember great people and the perfect place to grow up," she said of her memories of Atmore. "I remember the city pool and the sock hops at the armory. I remember Thursday night pep rallies and going to the movies every Sunday afternoon. And I remember the very best class that has ever gone through the town from first through twelfth grades.
"I am so happy to have been part of that wonderful time, that wonderful group, many of whom are still present in my daily emails!" she said.
A journalism major, Mrs. Meador has enjoyed varied careers.
"I was a newspaper and magazine reporter and photographer in Florida, a SCUBA instructor and dive resort owner in the Cayman Islands, an art publisher, a corporate communications director in Birmingham, and a free lance designer and advertising consultant, to mention a few," she said.
Recently she developed several lines of note cards, greeting cards and fine art prints of her verses and impressionist photographs.
"I sell my work in art galleries, gift shops and on the web in a number of locations," she said. "I also have a small retail studio in historic Mebane, N.C., and exhibit in trade shows, such as the National Stationery Show in New York. "
This year she plans to exhibit at SURTEX which is the primary source in the world for licensing the art on mugs, placemats, greeting cards and calendars, as well as the wall art sold in department stores and to the hospitality industry and other corporate clients.
She is currently beginning work on a novel that will have at least some references to Atmore.
"The prototype for the main character may be my mother, Patricia McKenzie," she said. "I have another unfinished novel, 'Cayman!' which is a mystery with a spiritual twist that I plan to finish during the year 2006.
"Star of Wonder," which is self-published, is in its third printing. It is marketed mostly by word of mouth.
"I get calls every year from wider and wider circles, ordering copies for Christmas gifts," Mrs. Meador said. "It has also been used by some churches as the framework for a Christmas programs. It works very well for an adult reader to read and children (or adults) to act out the Christmas story with appropriate hymns. I am always happy for any church to use it and happy to supply them with the script at no charge."
"The book has been a great blessing to me and the fact that it touches people every Christmas is a major joy in my life," Mrs. Meador said. "I believe that its message is that God is a giver of only good things and that His plans for each of us are generous beyond our wildest dreams. All we have to do is believe His words."
Mrs. Meador and her husband, Aubrey, live in N.C., wthin 15 miles of each of her three daughters and eight grandchildren.
Mrs. Meador's first t professionally published work of fiction was printed in the The Atmore Advance just before Christmas when she was about fourteen.
"It was an essay called 'The Christmas Star,' " she said. "I guess it was a foreshadowing of the 'Star of Wonder.' "
Mrs. Meador may be reached at Celine Meador Studios, 408 South Fifth St, Mebane, NC 27302, or online at

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