Musical Countdown to Christmas: Angels We Have Heard on High

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Thanks for following along with this musical countdown to Christmas. If you missed Day 1, you can find it here.

Who was James Chadwick?

  • Born at Drogheda, Ireland on April 24, 1813
  • Third son of of John Chadwick and Francis Dromgoole
  • Ordained as Priest on December 17, 1836
  • The Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle

The Story of Angels We Have Heard on High

  • Originally a French carol known as the Angel’s Hymn (author unknown)
  • The lyrics depict the story of Christ’s birth as told in the Gospel of Luke
  • In A.D. 129, a Bishop of Rome proclaimed that everyone should sing this “Angel’s Hymn”
  • People believe this is the first ever Christmas hymn of the church
  • James Chadwick translated the Angel’s Hymn into English in 1862

Historical Context of the Song

  • The first petroleum shipment from the United States arrived in England
  • Julia Howe published the Battle Hymn of the Republic
  • Civil War in the United States

Looking for more details?

My Gift for today:

Leave a comment below for your chance to win a PDF copy of my Christmas novella, Cecile’s Christmas Miracle.

Cecile Cover

Yesterday’s Winner:

Congratulations to Pat Earl! You will be receiving the Irreplaceable DVD.


Musical Countdown to Christmas: Silent Night by Joseph Mohr

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Welcome to my musical countdown to Christmas for 2014! In these posts I will share some “behind the scenes” information about the Christmas Carol and composer for the day, as well as a link to a performance of the song. Enjoy!

Who was Joseph Mohr?

  • Born in Salzburg on December 11, 1792
  • His soldier father deserted the family when he discovered Joseph’s mother was pregnant
  • Considered a social outcast because he was born out of wedlock
  • His mother raised him, earning money by spinning and knitting
  • Johann Hiernle, a church choir master, recognized Joseph’s musical ability and made sure he received a proper education
  • Played guitar, violin, and organ
  • Ordained as a priest in 1812

The story behind Silent Night

  • Written in 1816 while Joseph Mohr was serving as an assistant priest in Mariapfarr in Lungau
  • In 1818, Joseph Mohr approached his organist friend, Franz Xaver Gruber, asking him to compose a melody which fit the text and could be performed by a choir accompanied by guitar
  • On December 24, 1818 Franz Gruber brought his composition to Joseph Mohr
  • The carol was first performed at Christmas Mass on December 24, 1818 with Joseph Mohr singing tenor while playing guitar and Gruber singing bass to an audience consisting of mostly shipping labourers and boat builders
  • An original autographed copy of Silent Night (Stille Nacht) was discovered in 1995!

http://youtu.be/wLsFrHLzHIg

Historical Context of the Song

  • Written just after the Napoleonic wars of 1792-1815
  • Salzburg had just lost its status as an independent country
  • Oberndorf was separated from Laufen (across the new official border of the Salzach River)
  • The local economy, which had been dependent on salt trade, was depressed by the war
  • Many of the boat builders and labourers faced uncertainty and possible unemployment

Looking for more details?

My Gift for today:

Leave a comment below for your chance to win a free copy of the new DVD from Focus on the Family  – Irreplaceable: What is Family?

Irreplaceable Movie

 

 


Five Minute Friday: Prepare

Prepare

Five Minute Friday is a weekly challenge for bloggers where we are given a prompt and write for five minutes. Then we share the results with the Five Minute Friday community on Kate’s blog. Come join us!

When we think of Christmas, we think of preparing:

  • Preparing food – like special cookies, fruitcake, pecan pie (a tradition when I was growing up), turkey and all the trimmings
  • Preparing with decorations – like Christmas ornaments, stockings, Christmas trees, red & green, mistletoe
  • Preparing for guests – cleaning our houses, making beds
  • Preparing special programs at church – angels with halos slightly askew, shepherds who get lost on their way down the aisle, Christmas carols, choirs
  • Preparing for time off – no school, time off work, family time

When I read the prompt this morning, the first thing that popped into my head was, “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord.” – the words of John the Baptist whose job it was to get people ready for Jesus. As we prepare for the Christmas season this year, let’s not forget to prepare our hearts – to be still and know that He is God, to revel in wonder at how much the King of Kings loves us, to ponder the amazing gift Jesus gave us in His coming to earth and dying for our sins.

Are you prepared for Christmas? Are you doing anything different this year to help yourself “get in the spirit” of Christmas? Share with us 🙂

Starting on December 14th, I’m giving myself a challenge to help prepare my heart for Christmas. Each day I will share the story behind a Christmas carol and the person who wrote it. I’ll also be giving away some books and other resources. Enter your e-mail on the left so you won’t miss any of the posts.

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Free Christmas Short Story!

Beggar boy sleeping on cardboard sheet

 

This month I would like to give you a Christmas short story called Hope for Jimmy. All you need to do to receive this story is fill in the form below with your name, e-mail address, and tell me what you’d like me to blog about in the coming year.

I hope this story will remind you that there are people who need our help at Christmas time. Ask God how He wants you to reach out and give hope to someone this Christmas.

Matthew 25:31-40 (NIV)

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

(From The Bible Gateway)

Merry Christmas!

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Book Signing information from Heaven Sent

New Paperback and July 30 Book Signing

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The author team of “The San Francisco Wedding Planner” will be releasing the “Complete Series” ebook & paperback this Thursday evening!
Who is on the author team? Jen Cudmore,Patti J. Smith, Mishael Austin Witty, Sheila Seiler Lagrand,and Ruth L. Snyder!
Heather Donovan has no time for her own romance—she’s busy making wedding dreams come true for other people and trying to reel her lonely and lovesick widowed mom Gloria back from beyond the brink of good taste. Her receptionist, Raul, is as interested in his hair style as he is in the clients. Indigo, the wedding photographer, never goes anywhere without his beret—or his attitude. Toss in Skye, the mommy-track best friend who wants to breathe organic air, Mario, the talented, hotheaded caterer with an eye for the ladies, and a tall, dark, and handsome stranger visiting the office on the eve of the busiest weekend ever, and you have a recipe for disaster. Or love. Or maybe both? Along the way discover how duck-hunter ice sculptures end up as rehearsal dinner décor at an upscale hotel, why the young doctor has a broken heart, and whose will prevails when the photographer challenges a young couple’s vision of the perfect wedding.

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On July 30th I’ll be at Heaven Sent in St. Paul from noon to 4 pm to meet you and sign copies of the books to which I’ve contributed. Copies of Rise, The Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas, and The San Francisco Wedding Planner will be available for purchase at special prices. I look forward to seeing you there!


Blog Tour for the Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas

12 Days of Christmas Blog Tour LogoIn preparation for the official launch of the Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas paperback on Thursday, May 29th, many of the 12 authors are participating in a blog tour. I invite you to come along as we get to know other authors who participated in the collection. Here is the blog tour schedule, along with links to the authors’ blogs:

Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas Blog Tour

May 19 – Ruth L. Snyder at http://ruthlsnyder.com/

May 20 – Anne Baxter Campbell at http://pewperspective.blogspot.com/

May 21 – Marcia Lee Laycock at www.writer-lee.blogspot.ca

May 22 – Mishael Witty at http://bluebrownbooks.com/

May 23 – Christine Lindsay at www.christinelindsay.com/

May 24 – Sheila Seiler Lagrand at http://sheilalagrand.com/

May 26 – Jessica Ferguson at http://jessyferguson.blogspot.com

May 27 – Kathy Bruins at  http://www.kathybruins.com/writing-speaking-and-other-interests/

May 28 – Peg Phifer at http://www.whispersinpurple.com

May 29 – Jeanette Hanscome at http://jeanettehanscome.com/

What Does Christmas mean to you?

What do you think of when you hear the word “Christmas”? Snow? Turkey? Family get-togethers? Gifts? Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ? Decorations? Sleigh Rides? Church? Caroling?

Sometimes we don’t stop and think about what it would be like to celebrate Christmas in a different country, on a different continent. In Cecile’s Christmas Miracle, my main character, Cecile, is spending her first Christmas in the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. There is no snow. In fact, the temperature is hovering in the high 30 degree range (Celsius). She is hot, and sweaty and dealing with bugs and poverty and corruption. There is no air conditioning. There is no turkey, or family to get together with, or decorations. Obviously, without snow, there are no sleigh rides, and many of the Christmas songs she grew up singing don’t fit. Well, maybe I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas does. Although the people she serves have strong beliefs, most of them don’t believe in Jesus Christ because they’ve never had the opportunity to hear about His birth, life and death. They have no Bibles. In fact, many of them don’t know how to read.

Here in North America, it’s easy to lose sight of the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Often we get caught up in the commercialism of pretty wrapping paper, exquisite decorations, expensive gifts, and lavish meals. There is nothing wrong with any of these things. However, we need to remember who and why we’re celebrating. Jesus Christ, the God-man was born in a humble cattle shed and laid in a manger. He left the splendor of Heaven and laid aside His rights to take on the form of a servant. He walked this earth, ministered to people, and lived a sinless life. Then, He chose to walk the road to Calvary where He willingly gave His life as the Lamb of God. He took my place and yours on the cross. He accepted our punishment so that we can have a personal relationship with God. Then He rose again. Some day He’s coming back to earth to gather all who believe in and follow Him so that we can spend eternity together in Heaven.

It’s my hope that Cecile’s Christmas Miracle will show you what it’s like to celebrate Christmas in a different country. It’s also my hope that you will remember people you know who are overseas, whether in the military, as missionaries, or for work. Make time to send them a care package, or schedule a Skype visit with them. Better yet, go visit them and take a “walk in their shoes”. The first Christmas was about giving. Will you follow in Jesus’ footsteps and give what you can to make the lives of others better?

Enter a comment below for your chance to win a free paperback copy of the Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas. I will be making the draw on Thursday, May 29th and will announce the winner on my Facebook Author Page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRuthL.Snyder. NOTE: You must be 18 years or older to participate in the draw.


Expectations and Cecile’s Christmas Miracle

Book Cover for Cecile's Christmas Miracle by Kathi MaciasWe all have expectations, whether we realize it or not. Here in North America we expect, even demand, comfort, food and water whenever we want them, freedom to choose where we go and what we do, money to spend on our whims, and the list goes on. In many other countries, people do not have the same expectations. In fact, in some countries people expect to die, expect to do what others tell them to do, and expect very little in the way of human comforts.

With access to information on the internet, we understand more about what life is like in other countries. We hear about airplanes going missing and not being found. We advocate for girls kidnapped from school in places like Nigeria. However, the adage that we don’t really understand someone until we’ve walked a mile in their shoes, is still true.

My main character, Cecile, from my novella, Cecile’s Christmas Miracle, has expectations too. She, like many of us, doesn’t realize what some of her expectations are until they aren’t met. She knows she volunteered to serve people in a third world country, but she doesn’t expect the ignorance of basic hygiene. She knows she’ll be away from her parents and other family members, but she doesn’t expect the overwhelming feelings of loneliness, especially when she’s surrounded by many people. She knows the culture and language will be different, but she doesn’t grasp how different it will be spending her first Christmas in the heat and dust of the Kalahari Desert. One of the reasons I wrote this story was to show people in North America how different life is overseas and to remind all of us to think of others while we are celebrating Christmas with our lavish feasts and expensive gifts.

Paperback cover for Kathi Macias' 12 Days of Christmas which includes Cecile's Christmas Miracle by Ruth L. Snyder

Cecile’s Christmas Miracle has been available in e-book format since early December 2013. (You can purchase the e-book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.) This month my novella is being released in paperback, along with 11 other Christmas stories in the Kathi Macias 12 Days of Christmas. (You may purchase your copy on Amazon or by contacting me at sun dot beam3 at Yahoo dot com.)

To celebrate the release, several of us who have stories in the 12 Days of Christmas collection are participating in a blog tour. At the end of the tour there will be a draw for some free copies of the paperback collection. I’ll be posting details of the tour and the draw later this week. Stay tuned!


Coming Soon: Kathi Macias’ 12 Days of Christmas in paperback!

Paperback cover for Kathi Macias' 12 Days of Christmas which includes Cecile's Christmas Miracle by Ruth L. SnyderOfficial release date: Thursday, May 29th

Includes: Cecile’s Christmas Miracle by Ruth L. Snyder

Individual Christmas stories that cover a 12-day period – to be celebrated all year long! That’s the heart of this unique Christmas collection, compiled by best-selling author Kathi Macias and including historical, contemporary, romantic, mysterious, and even Amish tales that will warm your heart, whether sipping hot cocoa while sitting in front of the fireplace in winter or under the shade tree in the summer, nursing a frosty glass of iced tea or lemonade. Beginning with a scene set 12 days before Christmas, these stories move readers, one day at a time, toward that spiritual hush of Christmas Eve, where anything is possible. Authors from various geographical locations and walks of life have spun tales that will enchant readers, even as they are drawn closer to the greatest Gift ever given. And each story, though vastly different from the others, makes the same offer: will you make room in your heart for the Christ-child as He shows up in  your life and beckons you to join Him?

Available from Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or your favorite retail outlet. You make also purchase copies from me. (Send an e-mail to sun dot beam3 at yahoo dot com).

NOTE: This book is available for Kindle and Nook as well.