December 2016 eNewsletter
December - 2016 NEWSLETTER
Greetings from the President’s desk,
With Thanksgiving Day in our rear view mirror, I hope your thankfulness remains. So much preparation and focus for one day. While a lot of American households couldn’t see more than the food on their plates to be thankful for, many of the essential things were ignored. The mere act of going around the table and saying what you are thankful for, as is the tradition of many homes, can be very humbling. Thankfulness and gratefulness go hand in hand. Being grateful means to admit that we are not self-sufficient, or the proverbial masters of our own destinies. The scriptures remind us in I Thes 5:18 “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you”. By being more thankful to God, and expressing that thankfulness to others, we take steps to walking in the true Joy of the Lord. A “Grateful Heart Is Happy Heart”. Even in the midst of life’s occasional turmoil, your joy will prevail if you consistently practice thankfulness.
My encouragement this month is to seek out opportunities to be more thankful. May God grant us His Grace to live a thankful life all year round, that we may fulfill Matt 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”. Thank God for your homeschooling journey, especially if you are currently having a tough time.
Please continue to pray for the planning of ENOCH’s 2017 Homeschool Conference (Saturday April 22 2017 @ Brookdale Community College, Lincroft NJ), and stay tuned as we inform you of our Featured speakers, and vendors that will be in at the 2017 conference. With a thankful heart to God for where he has brought us thus far, and continued thanks to you, in advance for your part in making the 2017 Conference SPECTACULAR!
From my family to yours – we would like to wish you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Please feel free to contact us!
Serving in God’s Kingdom,
David A. West
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A Gift of Peace and Hope
-- Author unknown
The story behind the carol, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"
Tragedy struck the home of America's most popular poet. On July 9, 1861, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's wife, Fanny, was near an open window sealing locks of her daughter's hair in a packet, using hot sealing wax. It was never known whether a spark from a match or the sealing wax was the cause, but suddenly her dress caught fire and engulfed her with flames. Her husband, sleeping in the next room, was awakened by her screams. He desperately tried to put out the fire and save his wife. He was severely burned on his face and hands.
She, tragically burned, slipped into a coma the next day and died. His grievous burns would not even allow him to attend her funeral. He seemed to lock the anguish within his soul. Because he continued to work at his craft, only his family knew of his personal suffering. They could see it in his eyes and observe his long periods of silence. His white beard, so identified with him, was one of the results of the tragedy - the burn scars on his face made shaving almost impossible.
Although a legend in his own time, he still needed the peace that God gives to His children. On Christmas Day, three years following the horrible accident - at age 57 - he sat down to try to capture, if possible, the joys of the season. He began:
"I heard the bells on Christmas day.
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men."
As he came to the third stanza he was stopped by the thought of the condition of his beloved country. The Civil War was in full swing. The Battle of Gettysburg was not long past. Days looked dark, and he probably asked himself the question, "How can I write about 'peace on earth, good will to men' in this war-torn country, where brother fights against brother and father against son?" But he kept writing - and what did he write?
"And in despair I bowed my head:
'There is no peace on earth,' I said,
'For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men!"
It seems as if he could have been writing for our kind of a day. Then as all of us should do, he turned his thoughts to the One who solves all problems - the One who can give true and perfect peace, and continued writing:
"Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."
And so we have the marvelous Christmas carol "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." A musician named John Baptiste Calkin wrote the musical setting that has helped make the carol a favorite.
Just as that Christmas in 1864 was made better for Longfellow, may we experience a Christmas that will be the greatest ever. May we actually find the peace that Longfellow wrote about in the carol - true peace with God, for this is one of His greatest gifts to us.
To read all of the lyrics of this song and see photos of the two men responsible for it, click here.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!
We believe that the Bible is the inerrant, inspired word of God—the final authority for all truth and practice. In other words, it is God’s handbook for life. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV) tells us, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
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