Nov 272014
 

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

The glory of the Lord: the visible token of the presence of the God. A white shining cloud of intolerable brightness, known among the Jews as the Shechinah. It was observed in Moses’ burning bush, in the pillar of fire and cloud which guided the Israelites out of Egypt and as they wandered in the desert, and also witnessed in the tabernacle in the Temple in Jerusalem. It shone round Jesus during the Transfiguration. It robed Him when, risen, He appeared to the Pharisee Saul outside Damascus. The occasional presence of this visible glory was exceedingly precious to the Jews. The terror felt by the shepherds was the natural awe felt by man when brought into visible communion with heavenly beings.

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.” 15 

It should be considered significant this message was announced to shepherds. Historical evidence indicates they were social outcasts, rough characters on the fringe of Jewish society, and considered among the lowest class. (That they were not allowed to give testimony in court is one indication of their low cultural status.) As a group, they have no discernible qualifications for the distinction of being the first to hear of the Savior’s birth —especially when delivered in such a manner. But this could be the very reason they were selected: as a practical illustration of what Christianity often exemplifies: “the exaltation of the humble and meek” as opposed to the further exaltation of persons held in high regard or power. This seems to reflect Mary‘s words in the Magnificat: “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.”[15]

May you, too, be lifted up with joy and uncountable blessings throughout this Christmas and holiday season. Go forth and make merry!

Passages and commentary excerpted from:

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/pulpit/luke/2.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annunciation_to_the_shepherds

http://www.aleteia.org/en/religion/news/why-did-angels-appear-to-the-shepherds-42031

http://www.whychristmas.com/story/birth.shtml

Apr 162013
 

Thank you to the fabulous and talented Shanyn Hosier for inviting me to participate in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop. The blog hop serves to highlight new releases and introduce other authors. The blog consists of a series of questions about the author and his or her book. Here goes:

1. What is the working title of your book?

I currently have two in progress, Through the Darkness and The Ruins. (Or From the Ruins – I’m flip-flopping on that one. What do you think?)

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

The concept of From the Ruins sprang from some of my own personal experiences and challenges – although not nearly as intense, nor including any threat of death, mind you. That one will be a lot more personal on some levels than my previous books. Through the Darkness developed as a result of a very bizarre and disturbing incident I had one night when awakened from sleep. Puzzling over it afterward (now, even years later) elicited other questions/puzzles I suppose I need to pursue perhaps for my own edification.  

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Both are romantic suspense with Christian elements.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmmm. I’m not much of a movie watcher. Although I might recognize the face of many actors, I can’t remember their names for the most part. Despite that, definitely Sandra Bullock could play the role of Alyssa in Through the Darkness. Alyssa is much like many characters Ms. Bullock has played: sassy, joke-cracking, and kick-ass when she needs to be.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

One sentence? Sorry, can’t do it.

Through the Darkness: Murder. Spirits. Love & Faith. Can Alyssa’s love lead Judd through it?

From the Ruins: When everything falls apart…to the point where life is on the line. Colin’s love has proven insufficient. Can newfound faith win Kristen back? Or will either of them survive?

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I expect to self-publish both, primarily due to the difficulty placing a romantic suspense with Christian theme/elements in any particular genre or category. A little tough to market, it seems. Nonetheless, I hope readers will like my work and tell their friends.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? 

Still in process and incomplete. No telling. Although I do have my spurts, I am not a fast writer.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I haven’t read anything like what I write, so can’t think of anything to which to compare them.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

While hoping I don’t come off as obscenely full of myself, I do believe that my drive/compulsion to write is prompted by God’s plan for me.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

The fact they are inspirational but also include suspenseful romance and what I believe are real-life challenges and situations faced by fallible Christians co-existing in a world filled with non-Christians and those who are still on the fence. Ultimately, the message is that love is profoundly and universally powerful. My hope is to encourage and hearten readers of any faith.