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Go, tell it on the mountain...

Posted By Connie Moody, Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dr. Carole Adams reminds us in the foreword of the Noah Plan Literature Guide that, "It is no accident that Jesus spoke in stories. The story is a direct avenue to the heart, illumining reason by igniting the soul.” There is great power and influence in telling stories—in igniting souls—is there not?

The greatest story ever told is the story of Christ—His birth, ministry, death, and resurrection—the Gospel. John Wesley Work, Jr. (c. 1871-1925) compiled and published Folk Songs of the American Negro in 1907 and included an arrangement of a spiritual that had been sung as far back as the mid 1860's proclaiming one chapter of this grand narrative, the nativity of Christ: "Go, tell it on the mountain, / That Jesus Christ is born.”

Storytelling is God's way of restoring hope to the generations—the Hope of the Blessed Redeemer. According to the etymology of the word, the primary sense of ‘hope' is "to extend, to reach forward.” This description conjures the image of a child balanced on the edge of his seat straining to know what happens next in the story. So, let us be those storytellers who renovate the age, who repair the breach, who restore the streets in which to dwell—who share hope—by telling the story of the Savior in this season of celebrating His birth. Let us set the world on the edge of its seat and give hope to the generations.

Equip yourself as a storyteller with resources from FACE:
A Classical Christmas for Family ReadingClassical Christmas for Family Reading

 

Tags:  Christmas  family  literature  reading  storytelling 

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On Keeping Christmas

Posted By Connie Moody, Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"‘I will HONOR Christmas in my heart, and try to KEEP it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach…'

"Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed; and that was quite enough for him.

"He had no further intercourse with the Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that truly be said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed,

God bless Us, Every One!

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

The celebration of Christ's birth on December 25th each year has long been debated in Christendom given the historical connections of some traditions and even the date to pagan beliefs and practices. Some also argue that given there is no scriptural admonition to memorialize Christ's birth which was Providentially accomplished in obscurity, we are not called to an annual holiday (holy day). Today, in our politically correct yet spiritually deficient culture, the celebration is declared potentially offensive and has no place in the civil and social spheres. Your position on the practical celebration of Christmas is a matter of conscience.

There is a worthy discussion, however, on the IDEA of KEEPING Christmas, and it is well posed by that classic British author, Mr. Charles Dickens in his children's tale, A Christmas Carol. Most are familiar with the storyline: Mean ol' curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge has a mind-renewing, spiritual experience that causes a deep reflection of his life and the truths of love, peace, and joy which ultimately produces a transformation of character. In this "newness of life,” Scrooge determines two things: to HONOR Christ(mas) in his HEART and to KEEP it everyday. He is evidently so true to his promise that the world takes notice and lives are blessed.

So, what does it mean to HONOR and KEEP Christmas? A study of these words in Webster's 1828 Dictionary will lead you to consider that to HONOR is "[L.] to reverence; to manifest the highest veneration for, in words and actions; to entertain the most exalted thoughts of; to worship; to adore.” To HONOR is largely an INTERNAL determination established in the heart; it is CAUSATIVE. To KEEP is "[Sax.] to practice; to do or perform; to obey; to observe in practice; not to neglect or violate; as, to keep the laws, statutes or commandments of God.” KEEPING is the EXTERNAL EFFECT of HONORING.

Because as Christians we have received the Spirit of Christ, just as Scrooge received the Spirits of Christ(mas) Past, Present, and Future, we have the capacity to HONOR Him first in our hearts and the equipping and strength to do His commandments, to obey His Word—to KEEP everyday as CHRISTmas [Sax. mæssa, holy day or feast].

If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth…
ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you…
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me:
and he that loveth me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him,
and will manifest myself to him.

John 14:15-21

Tags:  A Christmas Carol  Cause to Effect  Charles Dickens  Honor  Internal to External  Keep 

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Happy Thanksgiving

Posted By Connie Moody, Friday, November 18, 2011

Rejoicing Together with You

In a letter written, 11th December 1621 (exactly one year from the day on which the shallop landed on the shore of Plymouth), Edward Winslow shared this account of the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Plantation:

          "Our harvest being gotten, our governor sent four men on fowling; so that we might, after a more special manner, rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king, Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted; and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation, and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”1

We hope this post finds you "rejoicing together” with friends and family, in person or in spirit, and accounting God's goodness and Providence in this season of thanksgiving. We must all be reminded that "we are so far from want” because we have the Bread of Life.

"…Man doth not live by bread only,
but by every word that proceedeth
out of the mouth of the Lord
doth man live.”

Deuteronomy 8:3

 

Giving Thanks to the Holy One,

The Foundation for American Christian Education

1 Fiore, Jordan D. Ed. Mourt's Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims of Plymouth. Plymouth, MA: Plymouth Rock
          Foundation, 1985, p. 72.

Tags:  Pilgrims  Plymouth Plantation  Thanksgiving 

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