Tag Archive | Children

The Child Workers of Roanoke Cotton Mills 1911

Katherine H. Purdy

These children are examples of workers who deserved Labor Day.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might;”

Ecclesiastes 9:10

 

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Faces of workers in need of help. This is who I think of on Labor Day.

When I see the pictures of young children who worked 12 hours a day, six days a week at the Roanoke Cotton Mills in Roanoke, Virginia it makes me sad for their lost childhood. On our Facebook History group, had quite a debate.

Take a good look at the faces of these precious, brave children.  See how young they were. Notice the barefoot boys? Shoes hindered their job of climbing on the machines so they had to work without shoes. I cringe to think of the dangers involved.  But they worked because they had to.

They didn’t take their pay to the local candy store, the soda fountain or to the ice cream parlor. No, they didn’t take their money to the Rialto Theatre on Saturday afternoon. They were working. They worked 12 hours a day, six days a week for low wages in order to help feed their family and to keep a roof over their head.

Parents who were in debt and couldn’t pay were sent to the Poor House along with their entire family. This is why some of the children were working. Others worked because their parents were sick, dead or failed to make enough to sustain the family so the children (as young as five years old) were sent to work. The money was turned over to their parents. Everyone in the family worked in order to keep the family together.

When I first started writing The Vision of a Mother’s Heart, I thought to break up a home was tragic and it is. However, to see children working hard in dangerous jobs at such a young age is more so. The picture with two boys standing together, the older with his arm protectively around his younger buddy makes me want to cry. Their eyes and facial expression seem “old”.   They remind me of my grandmother’s two older brothers.

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Eugene (the older boy) and James “Calvin” Minnix could have ended up in the same situation if their “Papa” hadn’t found homes for the children when he realized he couldn’t take care of them. This was often referred to as “Farming out” children to family and friends to stay (often working on farms to earn their keep) until the family was able to reunite. A story, I have found was all too common in the early twentieth century.

In Roanoke, the Poor House was in existence until 1958. It is now part of the Virginia Western Community College. It is said that conditions improved in the 1920’s and inmates of “The Alms House” helped farm the surrounding land so they had fresh vegetables, eggs, and other good food. Inmates included from infants to the elderly. They were reportedly treated well. However, it was a shame for families who had to live there.

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Things were different in that time. For centuries, children were apprenticed; they learned a trade by living under the supervision and care of a skilled business owner. For several generations, the Minnix men in our family learned to be blacksmiths and coopers. (Barrel makers) They also worked on farms sometimes in deplorable situations. My great grandfather broke the mold and decided to become a farmer instead. His skill as a blacksmith came in handy on the farm.

By the time they learned their trade, they were proud to put their name on their work. They were thrilled and proud if they could write their own name. When there was a crisis or war, these young men didn’t think twice before enlisting to fight for their country. They taught values to their children and expected their children to learn responsibility. Yes, it is difficult for us to imagine children in such a sad situation but they were precious children who grew up to be hard-working, frugal, responsible citizens.

I don’t know about you, but I am thankful for each of these children.

For more information about the history of Labor Day, click on the link below.

History of Labor Day

Writers: Facebook history groups are treasures for research. Much of my research was found in local history books and also postings from the History of the City of Roanoke group as well as several local history groups including school nostalgia groups. Most who post are happy to share their stories, pictures, and documents with others. My thanks to friends who shared their stories and pictures with us and gave permission for me to use their pictures.

Blessings,

Kathy

Little Isabel’s Christmas Joy – Part 6

 

“He’s here, He’s here. Everybody come and see” Isabel called from the foot of the stairs, “He’s finally here!”

“Who’s here?” Papa said as he rubbed his chin and smoothed his hair which was sticking out in every direction.

“You mean he was here, don’t ya’ Sis?” Eugene said as he slid down the banister and bumped into Mama who ran from the kitchen to see the commotion.

“No! He’s here in the parlor. He’s here – just as He said!”

“Isabel dear,” Mama said softly, what do you mean?”

Isabel took Mama’s hand and ran directly to the stable. She cried out in delight as she looked in to the eyes of the Baby Jesus lying in the manger. “All those years, we waited and waited and He Came!”

“Oh, Isabel dear, Jesus came almost 2000 years ago. We celebrate Christmas because He came. The carved baby in the manger is just a reminder that He came. You know that this is kind of a picture that represents Him.  Something we can hold onto as we read God’s Word but it’s just an object. We mustn’t make an idol. You know this doll isn’t Jesus.”

“Yes Mama, I know that. But He came, didn’t He?” Isabel said as her eyes filled with tears. He came because He loved us, right? That’s what Eugene and Curtis said from the Bible.”

“Yes child.” Mama said softly.

“Jesus loves me Mama and I love Jesus.”

Papa moved in closer, picked her up and held her tightly as she held Baby Jesus in her hand.

“You’re right, Isabel.” Papa said and wiped a tear from her cheek. “We love Him because He first loved us and you know what?”

Isabel shook her head from side to side.

“He’s coming again!”

“He is?” Isabel pushed back to see Papa and Mama’s faces. “Will he be in a stable?”

“No, but He will be riding on a white horse and will come as The King of King and Lord of Lords!”

“We will see Him?”

“Yes Isabel,” Mama said as she wiped the tears from Isabel’s eyes. “We talk to Him every time we pray and He speaks to us through His Word, The Bible! It is my prayer that someday you, your brothers and sisters will receive Christ as your Savior. We will live with Him forever.”

Isabel looked at the image in her hand, at her parents and to the image again. Finally closing her eyes and said, “Jesus I love you because You first loved me. Thank you for coming! Thank you for Christmas!

“Mama,” she whispered, before we look in our socks and open presents, may we sing?”

“That would be wonderful, Isabel. What shall we sing?”

“Joy to the world the Lord has come!”

~*~

What about you, friends? Is your focus on The Son of God, Jesus who gave His life for you or are you focusing on the external trappings that often draw our attention away from Him?

Christmas isn’t about the tree, the decorations, the  Carols, or even the gifts.

It is about God’s love for you.

We love Him because He first loved us.”

I John 4:19

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. 

He who believeth in Him is not condemned: but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

John 3:16-18

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

John 3:36

Why did God send His only begotten son – knowing that He would be the sacrifice for our sin? Because He loves us.

God is Holy and cannot look upon sin and yet He loved us – even though we are sinners – and longs for us to be redeemed from the penalty of sin. This is what Jesus did for you and for me. He took the penalty of sin in His own body on the cross. He gave His life so that you and I will spend eternity in Heaven with Him.

When I first heard the Gospel in 1968, I did not immediately receive Christ as my Savior. I was a quiet child and everyone told me that I was “good.” This is not true. I am a sinner. It took me a week to realize it.

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God:

Being justified (made upright and in right standing with God) freely by His grace (unmerited favor of God) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 3:23-24

One night, after a week of conviction that I am a sinner; I could practically see Jesus suffering, dying on the cross for my sin! In the wee hours of the morning, I got on my knees and confessed to Him that I am a sinner and asked Him to save me. Trusting completely in His redemption; He saved me. He Redeemed me. (Bought with a price – the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.) Oh, what a gift He offered to me and to you!

“For the wages of sin is death; (separation from God) but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 6:23

So dear friends, this Christmas please look past the manger and see the Gift of God – to you! Receive it just as you would receive a gift from a loving father. It is a gift that you cannot lose and it cannot be taken away. It is yours forever! 

Have a blessed Christmas!

Kathy

Autumn Memories

Isabel dried and put away the last dish and smiled as she surveyed the clean kitchen before heading to her favorite rocking chair in the living room. She sighed as she sank into the gray platform rocker her daughter had given her last Christmas.

Isabel closed her eyes and basked in the knowledge that all her tasks were done for the day. She heard the screen door clap and caught a whisk of woodsmoke in the air. She breathed deeply and smiled; thinking of days gone by.

Madison in the fall11703469_856701594448324_1755944791356278695_o11116367_856701597781657_6303249141109477162_o

“Nannie, Nannie, look what I found!”

Isabel opened her eyes to see what treasure her small granddaughter discovered. “Leaves!” There is probably a trail of leaves throughout the house. Instead, she smiled and reached to the child who crawled onto her lap.

“Aint it beautiful, Nannie? I have more too. They are different colors,” the child said as she pulled yellow, red, orange and brown leaves from her jacket pocket.

“They’re lovely,” Isabel said and repositioned her granddaughter in order to get a better look at the treasures.”I love fall. Especially and changing leaves and the scent of woodsmoke in the air. When I was a little girl, I loved playing in the leaves too. Papa would always fuss at us for jumping into the leaves and then he would join us,” she said with a smile.

“You were a little girl?”

“Oh yes, but that was a long time ago. I had a Mama, a Papa, six brothers and two sisters.”

“Wow!”

“Yes, wow is a good description. Some days, I don’t how Mama kept up with all of us.”

The child scooted back against her grandmother with a look of anticipation of a good story. She wasn’t disappointed.

“Once upon a time, many years ago, I was a little girl just like you. I had the sweetest mother who never raised her voice. I always knew when she was angry though. She flared her nostrils. Like this.”

Emily Baker as Grandma Minnix by Kathie Kingrey

“You’re funny, Nannie!” the child said as she imitated her grandmother.

“She always knew how to make learning fun and delighted us all with her music. She played five instruments, you know. I can still hear her voice singing hymns as she rocked her babies to sleep. She sang all the time. In the kitchen while cooking and cleaning, hanging the laundry or helping Papa pile up leaves for us to jump in!”

“You jumped in leaves?”

“Oh, yes. We had a wonderful time. We helped rake the leaves into a big pile and jumped into them; raked them into a pile and jumped again!” Nannie said with a chuckle. “We must have spent hours outside playing in the leaves. Mama said it guaranteed a good night sleep and she was right. That nice fall breeze across our faces felt good as we worked and played in the leaves and then when we were finally getting tired, Papa put the leaves in one final pile and started a fire, Mama would bring sausage links outside for us to roast over the fire and then we would have homemade marshmallows for dessert. We roasted them over the fire too. By the time the leaves were burned up, our tummies were full and we were ready for bed!

“Nannie, may we rake leaves and roast hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire like you did?”

“We’ll see. Perhaps next week. Just close your eyes and dream about it tonight.”

“Okay, Nannie. I love you.”

“I love you too.” Isabel placed a kiss on the child’s head and carefully carried her to her room. “Sweet dreams, little one!”

~*~ ~*~~*~

Photography by Kathie Kingrey Photography                                                

Model for Mama: Isabel’s granddaughter, Emily.

Little Isabel and Rainy Days ~ Part 3 ~ Kittens and the Ark

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 “Mama, did Jesus send the kittens because of the storm?” Isabel’s beautiful blue eyes looked to Mama for an answer.

“If He did, it wouldn’t be the first time He sent animals. Do you remember the Bible lesson we have been working on every morning?

Isabel twisted her hair while swaying to the pitter-patter of rain on the roof and windows while keeping her eyes on the kittens. “Noah’s Ark?”

“Yes, that’s right Isabel. You have been listening!” Mama said as she swept Little Isabel in her arms for a hug and butterfly kisses. “We will talk some more about Noah’s Ark but for now, we need to coax Mama Cat into bring her kittens inside the house where they will be warm and safe.”

“How will we do that?” Eugene asked loudly.

“Shhh,” Mama put her finger to her lips and motioned for the boys to join her and Isabel near the stove. “First, we need to stay very quiet. Cats are often afraid of people; especially noisy ones. Now that we have a box filled with soft flannel, we will need to coax Mama inside first. Then she will bring her kittens one at a time. Curtis, please fill that old chipped bowl with cream – not milk. She needs the extra nourishment and then I will place a trail of goodies leading from the tree limbs where she is hiding to the kitty bed.”

Isabel held her breath as Mama picked up the pan of scrambled eggs and dropped small pieces of egg from the porch to the box by the stove.

“Now, we must be very quiet and don’t move a muscle. Sit back at the table, finish your breakfast and try not to make a sound.” Mama said softly.

Isabel found sitting quietly was difficult when something so exciting was happening in this very room.

Papa filled his saucer with coffee again and slurped too loudly as Mama gave him a warning glance. Eugene and Curtis put their hands over their mouths to keep from laughing.

Soon, Mama Cat slowly entered the room. She sniffed the air and then gobbled up the eggs until she reached the warm box. Stepping inside the box, she kneaded the blanket while purring loudly.

“Mama,” Isabel whispered. “Does she think she’s making bread or biscuits?” Mama shook her head with a smile and put her finger back to her lips. Isabel turned back to the cat and watched as Mama Cat rubbed her chin on the corners of the box.

“Mama, does her chin itch?”

“She’s putting her scent on it so that she and the kittens will know they belong there,” Papa whispered a bit too loudly and the cat looked at him, walked to the table, rubbed against Papa’s leg and then sauntered to the back porch and brought the kittens one by one to the new warm bed.

“It looks like we have new members of our family,” Mama said softly and laughed gently as Papa rubbed the whiskers on his chin and shook his head from side to side before giving the family a slight smile of approval.

~*~

“I have an idea,” Mama said as she cleared the table and peered out the kitchen window as she poured boiling water and soap shavings into the dishpan. “It doesn’t look like this storm will end any time soon. Why don’t you children bring your animal carvings Papa made for you and bring them into the kitchen? When you come back into the kitchen, we can make a pretend Ark for the animals and you.”

Eugene picked up Isabel and put her on his shoulders as they dodged water droplets and puddles, jumped over bowls and pitchers collecting the water until they reached the curtain divided room.

~*~

“Guess what, Peter; you are going into Noah’s Ark!” Isabel chirped as she picked up the stuffed Peter Rabbit her friend Sally Anne had given her at their first tea party combined with birthdays for each girls a few weeks earlier. “Now Peter, how will we carry all of the toys Papa made for us?” Isabel placed Peter Rabbit near her ear and smiled. “Very good, Peter Rabbit. You are so smart! We’ll put them in the Easter basket!”

“Hey Sis,” Curtis said as he peeked through the curtain dividing their room. “Are you ready yet? It’s raining too much in here!”

~*~

Just as the children entered the kitchen, Papa entered from the back porch – dripping wet.

“I found it! This is a lot of canvas but it should work,” Papa said as he laid the large bundle on the kitchen table.

“Perfect!” Mama said as she dried her hands on her apron and reached into her sewing cabinet for a pair of large, sturdy scissors. The children watched wide eyed as Mama and Papa worked together to make a tent over the kitchen table which had been moved to a dry spot in the room.

“Let’s read about Noah from God’s Word, the Bible.” Mama reached for the Bible on the shelf as Papa slipped into the other rooms, cutting canvas and draping it over pieces of furniture before returning to the kitchen with two full buckets of water, dumped them into water barrels on the back porch and made another trip. By the time he had finished, Eugene, Curtis and Isabel were sitting patiently on the floor and baby Maggie slept soundly in her tented cradle.

Mama opened the Bible to Genesis and started to read. “Before we begin,” she said softly, “We will act out Noah’s story as I read. So when  we get to the building part what will we do?”

“We will pretend to be builders!” Curtis dipped his head as if to ask forgiveness for disturbing Mama Cat who stopped grooming her orange kitten and stared intently at the boy.

“That’s right Curtis. Now, I would like you to place all of your toy animals in Isabel’s basket and set it on my sewing machine.”

Eugene collected the animals, placed them in Isabel’s basket and placed the basket on the sewing machine at the far end of the room.

Papa entered the room with the bolt of canvas just as Mama began to read.

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The Vision of a Mother’s Heart

“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Proverbs 22:6

Mama Greene’s had a vision or hope for her nine children as she prayed for each child nightly.

  • For each of her children to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior at an early age.
  • That they would live according to His Word every day of their lives.
  • That they would receive an education. Her hope was that all of her children would at least graduate from 8th Grade. In the 1920’s this was considered educated among the farming communities. If they wanted to send their children to high school, they had to pay tuition which was difficult for poor families. They needed the older children to help on the farm.
  • That they would honor “Papa.”
  • That they would remain together and be close as a family.

The Vision of a Mother’s Heart is back in print and is available!

(The e-book should be available by next week.)

Please click the link below for a preview.

http://The Vision of a Mother’s Heart (Isabel’s Story) (Volume 1) by Katherine Hinch… http://www.amazon.com/dp/1515298477/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_dsSXvb0G86QK0 via @amazon

Kathie Kingery Photography
PhotographerThe model for “Mama” is the real Isabel’s granddaughter, Emily.

Apron by K. Kingrey

Little Isabel’s Christmas Joy – Part 2

 

christmas-girl-rolling-cookiesThe squeak of the back porch door and the sound of Papa and her two older brothers prompted Isabel to investigate.
“Isabel,” Mama scolded, “one of these days you are going to hurt yourself; jumping off the stool that way!”
“Yes, Mama.” Isabel smiled and slowly backed to the door and then ran the length of the back porch to hold the screen door.
Papa entered the back porch, stomped snow off his boots, and then made a show of wiping his feet on the braided rug before entering the kitchen door. “Temperature’s dropping awfully fast,” Papa said as he sauntered to the stove to warm his hands while Mama poured a cup of steaming coffee into a heavy mug and offered him a gingerbread cookie.
“Here’s your tree, little princess,” Papa teased as he pointed to a tiny tree before stepping aside to reveal a large pine.
“Oh, Papa it’s beautiful!” Isabel jumped and clapped her hands simultaneously.
“That is a lovely tree!” Mama reached over Isabel to open the door wider. “Let’s move out of the way, dear so that Papa and the boys can bring that lovely tree inside.”
Isabel skipped into the kitchen and moved her stool out of the way before running to Maggie.
“It’s here, it’s here Maggie. Wake up!”
Maggie sat up and rubbed her eyes. “The Christmas tree?”
“Yes!” Isabel sang, “The Christmas tree and we get to help decorate it!”
Both girls danced around the kitchen as Papa carefully carried the tree into the front parlor and placed it gently into the corner where it could be seen from the kitchen and through the windows.
“Now girls, don’t get too excited. We need to prepare supper and clean up the kitchen first. Besides, we haven’t finished stringing popcorn. We will work on that tonight and add a few of the decorations. Tomorrow we will wrap up cookies to give to our neighbors when we go Christmas caroling. How does that sound?”
“Fun!” Isabel and Maggie sang in unison.

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After the dishes were done, the popcorn strung and handmade ornaments hung on the tree, Mama picked up the family Bible and the children gathered around her.
“Did you know that the people of Israel waited for the birth of Jesus – the “Messiah” for a very long time?”
“As long as we waited for baby Sylvie to come?” Maggie asked softly.
“Yes,” Mama said as she reached down and touched the child’s cheek. “They waited many years.
“That’s a long time!” Isabel exclaimed, walked closer to Mama and sat cross-legged on the floor.
“Almost since the beginning of time – since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden.”
“Did Abraham wait for Jesus to come?” Eugene asked as he folded a piece of paper to cut into the shape of a snowflake.”
“Yes, Abraham believed! God even showed Abraham that He what salvation is all about; He showed us what salvation is by promising Abraham a son and then as precious Isaac began to grow and learn how to be a man for God, he was used as an example of sacrifice.”
“God asked Abraham to take Isaac to the mountain, didn’t he Mama? Eugene said as he laid his craft aside and leaned on his elbows as Mama flipped the pages of the Bible to Genesis.
Papa turned from adding water to the bucket holding the tree, rubbed his chin and joined the conversation. “Abraham was a very old man when little Isaac was born, you know.”
“Older than you, Papa?” Curtis asked innocently.
“Oh, I guess Abraham was about fifty or sixty years older than me.”
“He was old!”
“Yep, he and Sarah both were much too old to have a child. That is part of the miracle – right Mama?” Papa tossed the question back at Mama who had found her place in Scripture.
“That’s right,” Mama smiled at Papa and then looked at the children. “Sarah was much older than me so don’t need to ask. She was even older than Gammy Isabella and Grandma Sarah Elizabeth too. Abraham was one hundred years old when Isaac was born and Sarah wasn’t much younger.”
The children quieted as Mama pulled the lamp closer to her chair and lifted the Bible.
“Genesis chapter 21 tells us about the birth of Isaac. It also tells about what happens when people try to take matters into their own hands to make things happen instead of waiting for God to answer but we will discuss that another time. Tonight, we are talking about the very long wait Abraham and Sarah had to wait for the son God had promised to them. Oh, they were so happy to hold that sweet baby in their arms! Every day he grew bigger and stronger making their parents proud to be chosen by God for such a blessing! They laughed as he smiled in his sleep, watched him try to fit his tiny fist in his mouth – just like you did when you were babies.

He became his Papa’s helper when he learned to walk and then run.”
“Did they have sheep to sheer?” Eugene asked excitedly.
“Oh, yes. Abraham had many fine animals and many workers helping him but I am sure he taught Isaac all about the animals.”
Mama smiled and continued with the story. “One day, God spoke to Abraham and asked him to do something very hard. Something Abraham could never imagine doing but he trusted God.
“What did he ask Abraham to do, Mama?”
Mama began to read. “God said, ‘Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you. So Abraham arose early in the morning and saddled his donkey and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship and we will come back to you.’ So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘here I am, my son.’ Then he said, ‘Look to the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide Himself the lamb for the burnt offering.”
Mama hesitated and then looked at Papa and then at the children. “Abraham obeyed God and made the altar just as he was supposed to. He put the wood on the altar and then he lifted up his son, Isaac and laid him on the altar where he would normally put a perfect lamb.”
“But why, Mama?” Eugene stood and looked over her shoulder to see the Word of God.
“Because God asked him too,” Mama said softly. You see, before Jesus was born, a perfect lamb or a ram had to be sacrificed to cover their sin. It was an act of faith to show that they believed God would forgive them – to lay the blame for their sin – and remember anything that displeases God is sin – on the sacrificial lamb.”
“They kill the fluffy lamb like Papa has to shoot animals for food?” Isabel felt a tear run down her cheek as she remembered seeing Papa bringing home a deer and a turkey earlier in the week.
“Something like that dear,” Mama said softly, “however, this was an offering to God and not for dinner. The animal used for the sacrifice was very special.”
“So what happened to Isaac?” Curtis asked impatiently.
Mama scooted closer to the lamp and continued reading. “Lets see now, where did we leave off? Oh, verse ten.”
“And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of The LORD called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ So he said, “Here I am.”
And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
“Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.
And Abraham called the name of the place The-LORD-Will-Provide.”
“Phew!” Eugene exclaimed, “I thought he was going to kill Isaac!”
Mama nodded in agreement and looked at Papa before continuing with tears in her eyes.
“The Angel of the LORD spoke to Abraham a second time and told him: ‘By Myself I have sworn, said the LORD because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son- blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed (children) all the nations of the earth shall be blessed because you have obeyed My voice.”
“Abraham and his son, Isaac went home,” Mama said softly as she pulled out a hankie, blew her nose and placed the hankie in her apron pocket. “In the New Testament book of Hebrews, chapter eleven, it said that because Abraham believed God, it was counted to him for righteousness. It also says that because Abraham obeyed God and offered up his only begotten son believing that God would raise him up from the dead. Boys, what was the Bible verse you learned in Sunday School class last week?”
Eugene and Curtis stood up and began to quote together:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3: 16
“Thank you, boys,” Mama said as she closed the Bible. You see, God gave us a picture of what He planned to do for you and for me. He planned to send His only begotten Son – Jesus to be our sacrifice so that by believing in Him, we will have everlasting life with Him in Heaven.
Abraham was just a man. Isaac was just a boy but Jesus is God’s perfect, sinless Son. He is God in the flesh. He is called Immanuel which means ‘God with us.’ We are human and sin. Some boys may have struggled to get away but Isaac trusted his father. Perhaps Isaac also trusted God to save him – and he did. He provided a ram. Jesus is our ‘ram’ isn’t He?”
“Lets see now,” Papa said slowly. God promised a son – Isaac to Abraham and Sarah but they had to wait many years before Isaac was born. Abraham’s seed or descendants had to wait hundreds or even thousands of years for Jesus to be born – right Mama?”
“That’s right, Papa. The book of Matthew starts out with the people who were born and died before Jesus was born and it is a very long list! King David is on that list too, Mama said. The Bible is filled with mention of Jesus or the Messiah all through the Bible – from beginning to the end. Last week, the preacher said that it is as if there is a red ribbon all the way through the Bible and that red ribbon is Jesus. Remember when God created everything and then he created man? He said, ‘Let us make man in our image.’ Jesus is God the Son. It is hard to understand but God The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are ‘three in one.’ We won’t truly understand it until we are in Heaven.”
“But it’s Christmas,” Curtis said, “why are we talking about Abraham and Isaac?”
“We wanted you children to understand how important Christmas is. It isn’t about the tree or the pretty decorations you made for it and it isn’t even about filled stockings.” Mama said as she leaned over and rocked baby Sylvia’s cradle. It is about the long awaited, special, miraculous baby who was born in a stable like sheep to be the Savior of the world. Did you notice that God kept calling Isaac ‘your only son or your only begotten son?’ Jesus is God’s only begotten son.
Isaac’s birth was a miracle because Abraham and Sarah’s age. Jesus’ birth was a miracle because He did not have a earthly father. God is His father. Jesus was born of a young woman who was pure. A virgin – but we will talk about that when you are older.
Abraham and Isaac had to travel to the place that God would show them. Mary and Joseph, the man God chose for Mary to marry so that he would be a good fill-in father for Jesus, had to travel to Bethlehem. They later had to travel to Egypt because of the wicked King who wanted to harm Jesus. Jesus traveled in His ministry and then, he had to walk up the hill called Calvary to become the sacrifice for our sin. After He gave His life for us, His disciples, his family and followers waited three long days when Jesus arose from the dead!
So you see, waiting so long for Jesus to come is very much a part of the Christmas story. Sometimes, we forget that because we focus on gifts and trees.” Mama said with a smile and nodded to Papa who stood and left the room.
Papa returned to the room with a large bundle and walked slowly to the tree.
“What’s that?”
“Is it a gift?”
“Who’s it for?”
Everyone seemed to speak at once while watching Papa struggle with the bundle in his arms.
“Mama,” Papa said with a chuckle. “Guess you had better help me with this before I drop it!”
Mama rushed over and removed the gunny sack to reveal a wooden structure.
“Oh,” Isabel exclaimed, “is it a doll house?”
“Of course not, silly!” Eugene said with confidence. “It’s a stable!”
“That’s right, Eugene.” Mama smiled as she helped Papa lower the structure and placed it carefully under the tree. Next, he dug into the bag and pulled out some hay to lie on the floor of the stable. Next, he pulled out a box on legs and filled it with hay.
“What’s that?” Little Maggie asked and reached out to touch it gently.
“It’s a manger!” Curtis said. “You know – the bed for baby Jesus but it’s really a food box for the animals. Right Papa?”
“That’s right, son.” Papa said as he stood and placed an arm around Mama. “Why don’t we sing just one Christmas carol before we turn in for the night? I’m afraid the chickens have beat us to bed tonight!
Mama picked up her squeeze box and played Joy to the World as the children and Papa sang along. Isabel looked once more at the stable with the empty manger.
“Papa, what about Baby Jesus? Doesn’t he sleep in the manger?”
“Well little Princess,” Papa said softly, “we have to wait.”

Christmas Tree Gospel

Hello, friends. It is hard to believe it’s Christmas time again. As we trim our Christmas tree, I like to remember the lesson I taught children through the years with a Christmas tree, lights, ornaments and my Bible. The Christmas Tree Gospel. I am reposting the post from last year.

How do you share the Gospel at Christmas?The light of Christmas

Christmas Tree Gospel

Christmas Ornaments 2012 005

Have you ever considered using your Christmas tree as a witnessing tool? I used to love using a small Christmas tree to present the Gospel to children.

  • First, we discussed the evergreen tree which reminds us of eternal life. It is ever green with sap running through it (before it is cut down)
  •  The shape of the tree points to God.
  • Of course, the tree must be in a stand to remain upright, as we need The Lord Jesus as our firm foundation.

Next, I would do (especially in Awana at night)  is to have someone turn out the lights so that the room would be dark – just as the darkness of sin. The world was in darkness until the Savior came.  I would then turn on the tree lights. White lights because they shine brighter than red, blue, green or even yellow lights.

  • The lights on the tree remind us that Jesus is the Light of the world. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
  • The lights also remind us that we are to let Him shine through us ”Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
  • The lights also remind me that there will be no need of sun or moon in Heaven; for Jesus is the light. “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it; and the Lamb is the light thereof.” (Revelation 21:23)
  • Gold decorations & tinsel remind me of the streets of gold in Heaven. (Rev. 21:21)
  • Red decorations remind us that Jesus was born to die.  He shed His blood that we may be saved.  He paid the penalty for my sin. (John 3:16)
  • White on the tree reminds me that he washed me white as snow.
  • The star reminds us of the Bethlehem star which signified the birth of the King of Kings and was a guide for the wise men to follow that they may find Him, and worship Him.
  • Angels remind us of the Heavenly Host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on the earth peace, goodwill toward men.” (Luke 2)

(In the Bible, Angels appear as men.  They are not portrayed as beautiful women in slinky or fancy dresses with wings and a halo. They are messengers of God.  They came to announce His birth and to Worship Him! We are to worship Him and not the angels.)

  • Ice-cycles hung on the tree reflect the light – just as we are to let The Light of the world reflect through us. When I was a child, the Ice-cycles were silver tinsel cut into long strands. Granddaddy always insisted on hanging them on the tree one by one so that they would hang perfectly. (I must admit to giving into the urge to take a hand full and fling them on the tree and allowed them to fall where they may. They often landed on the floor!) Today I use crystal or clear plastic. When the light shines on the crystal ones, we can almost see a rainbow reflected on the wall!
  • The tree skirt reminds me that He has clothed me with HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
  • The gifts under the tree remind me of the greatest gift of all. Salvation wrapped in love. The perfect gift from God – His only begotten Son; the lamb of God who was born to die for us. Our virgin-born Savior, wrapped in swaddling clothes was the best gift ever given!

When doing the Christmas Tree Gospel presentation, sometimes I gave each child a card with a verse to read as we came to the appropriate moment/decoration. Of course, each was given the gift of a candy cane to take as a reminder of God’s wonderful gift to us.

Please excuse the family pictures as I haven’t decorated our tree yet this year and didn’t have a suitable photo of a Christmas tree to use.   I would love to hear how you share the Gospel at Christmas. Please feel free to give us your stories in the comment section. Have a blessed Christmas season this year!

Kathy on Christmas Eve 1964

Love,

Kathy

Order Missy Cat Today!

Missy Cat in the Heart of the Tree is finally available in print! This arrived yesterday. Be sure to get your order in today!

Missy Cat in the Heart of the Tree is finally available in print. Be sure to get your order in today!

You may order directly from the publisher, Amazon.com, B&N.com or through me. Click below to order directly from the publisher.  =-)

https://www.createspace.com/3887036

Missy Cat in the Heart of the Tree

A Christmas story for your little ones!

Introducing Missy Cat in the Heart of The Tree

Now available through Amazon.com and will be available soon for Nook, I-book, Sony and other digital books. It will also be available as a paper book as well! Check it out and please feel free to leave a comment.  Kathy

A Birthday Surprise Conclusion

 

A Birthday Surprise Conclusion

Isabel joined her family in Papa’s car just as the sun was
beginning to set upon the day. “Thank you, Papa, for such a
beautiful day. I’ll never forget it.”
Isabel cuddled Raymond in her arms and sat back in her seat to remember her first birthday
without Mama, and yet, Mama’s presence seemed to permeate
the day. She breathed a prayer of thanksgiving for Mama, for
Papa, and for a loving family and friends, asking a special blessing
upon each person.