Sunday, December 22, 2013

Amahl and the Night Visitors debuted on television on December the 24th 1951- This Week in Christian History for the week of December 22th through the 28h 2013


 

Amahl and the Night Visitors is the first opera commissioned for television. Gian Carlo Menotti wrote the opera because in Italy, where he was born, there was no Santa Clause. Christmas presents were brought by the three wise men. The opera is inspired by the painting by Hieronymus Bosch’s The Adoration of the Magi.

Menotti had difficulty finishing the opera by the deadline and when he was completed the singers only had a few days to rehearse for their live performance.  Even though he wrote Ahmal and the night visitors for television, Menotti tried to make it so that it could be done on a stage as well. He specifically requested that any performances have a boy play Amahl, not a women dressed as a boy as some operas do.

An estimated five million people saw Amahl, the largest audience ever to see televised opera. The opera was televised each year from 1951-1966 and in 1978 by NBC and by the BBC in 1955 and 1959. The first three years it was presented in black and white, but then it was broadcast in color. In 1963 the opera was videotaped rather than being done live on air. Due to a dispute about the production, Menotti didn’t allow production of the opera again until 1978.

The story of Amahl and the Night Visitors starts with Amahl seeing the star outside of his home. The crippled boy has a problem with telling the truth and his mother doesn’t believe him when he tells her about it. The three kings show up and after some troubles the mother and son learn about Jesus. They have nothing to give, and Amahl decides to give Jesus his crutch, after which his legs are healed. Amahl leaves with the kings to see the baby Jesus.

My new book, would you do what they did great Christian leaders from our past is now available to order from Amazon.com here is the link: Would You Do What They Did? - Great Christian Leaders From Our Past      

It is also available to order now from anywhere that sells books. It is a collection of biographies of Martin Luther, Francis of Assisi, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, and Thomas Becket.

Come, tame a wolf, flee from the wrath of the king, feel the horror of impending doom on a ship, and the uncertainty of one’s own salvation with these great heroes of the faith.

I have excepts of the book on my website williamdeanhamilton.net,

 Thank you for reading. Subscribe if you enjoyed.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Christmas Carol was published on December the 17th 1843. This Week in Christian History for the week of December 15th through the 21h 2013.



Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on the seventh of February 1812. He had little education since he had to work in a factory after his father was thrown into a debtor’s prison, but read a great deal. His father was released from the prison after inheriting a sum of money from his grandmother. He still worked at the factory for a while after the inheritance. The terrible working conditions of the factory and his mother’s reluctance to immediately send him home influenced him throughout his life.

 Dickens obtained a position at a law office as a junior clerk and then a reporter. It was this experience along with his employment at the factory that gave him insight into the struggles of the poor in England. After the success of a few minor works, Chapman and Hall offered to publish a collaboration of engravings, provided by Robert Seymour, and Dickens’s text. This turned into the Pipwick Papers, which was the first national recognition of Dickens’s genius.

After a few successful novels Dickens thought his success was waning, and he needed money since his wife was pregnant. Because of a dispute with his former publisher, he self published A Christmas Carol, but due to several printing problems, he did not make as much money as he had hoped in the short term. The book would never go out of print, and there have been numerous adaptations of the work, being the most successful Christmas novel of all time.

Besides financial reasons, Dickens wanted to help the poor by educating the public about them. He spoke at a fundraiser while writing A Christmas Carol about helping the poor through education. Dickens uses a combination of past Christmas traditions in the book and new ones that had been recently introduced during his time. In this way he created a Christmas tale that was largely secular, although the message parallels the hope of the Gospel.

It has been speculated that Ebenezer Scrooge was based on Dickens’s father, who had left him in the factory by living beyond his means, and didn’t immediately send for him after receiving his inheritance. Scrooge was also a symbol of the rich who oppress the poor. By his redemption. Dickens’s father was redeemed, the poor were saved, the sinners were enlightened, and even the reader has hope.


My new book, would you do what they did great Christian leaders from our past is now available to order from Amazon.com here is the link: Would You Do What They Did? - Great Christian Leaders From Our Past      


It is also available to order now or shortly from anywhere that sells books. It is a collection of biographies of Martin Luther, Francis of Assisi, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, and Thomas Becket.


Come, tame a wolf, flee from the wrath of the king, feel the horror of impending doom on a ship, and the uncertainty of one’s own salvation with these great heroes of the faith.

I have excepts of the book on my website williamdeanhamilton.net,

 Thank you for reading. Subscribe if you enjoyed.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Seals were sold for the first time in the United States on December the 8rd 1907. This Week in Christian History for the week of December 8th through the 14h 2013



Einar Holboll, a Danish postal clerk, thought of the idea of adding an extra charitable stamp during Christmas to help fight tuberculosis. 4 million stamps were sold in 1904 bearing the likeness of the Danish Queen and the word Christmas. After six years enough money was raised to build the Christmas Seal Sanatorium in Kolding. Eventually it was decided to put future money into convalescent homes for children.

On December 8th, 1907 Emily Bissell introduced am American Christmas Seal after learning about the Danish stamps. She designed the stamps herself and convinced local post offices to sell them for 1 cent. Although it took a while to catch on, she raised ten times what she had originally been seeking, $300 for the Brandywine Creek sanitarium.

Howard Pyle donated the design of the second stamp. The stamps became a national program administered by the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis and the American Red Cross. Eventually the Red Cross would leave the coalition and all of the money raised went to fight TB.

After World War II Tuberculosis became curable after the discovery of streptomycin. Emily Bissell got to see a cure that she had worked for, as she supported the Christmas Seal program until she died in 1948. It took years after this until the disease was fully in control in America. The organization broadened its scope and is now known as the American Lung Association, although Tb is common in parts of the world and is making a comeback with antibiotic resistant strains appearing.

Over the world there are almost a hundred different organizations that issue Christmas Seals. The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease hold contests among these organizations for the best designs. While many different charity organization issue seals or stamps, only lung disease organizations can officially issue Christmas Seals.

My new book, would you do what they did great Christian leaders from our past is now available to order from Amazon.com here is the link: Would You Do What They Did? - Great Christian Leaders From Our Past      

 

It is also available to order now or shortly from anywhere that sells books. It is a collection of biographies of Martin Luther, Francis of Assisi, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, and Thomas Becket.



Come, tame a wolf, flee from the wrath of the king, feel the horror of impending doom on a ship, and the uncertainty of one’s own salvation with these great heroes of the faith.

I have excepts of the book on my website williamdeanhamilton.net,

 Thank you for reading. Subscribe if you enjoyed.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thomas Becket returned to England after fleeing to France On December the 3rd 1170 This Week in Christian History for the week of December 1-7





Thomas Becket was born on the 21st of December 1118 or1120. He worked his way up as clerk under Archbishop of Canterbury Theobald (the head of the Church of England) to become Archdeacon of Canterbury. He became friends with Henry II and was appointed chancellor. They went on hunting parties together and Henry entrusted Thomas with teaching manners to his son, who stayed for a while in his household.    

As chancellor Thomas went along with Henry no matter what he proposed, including some taxes which were more heavily instituted towards the clergy. Thomas was also complacent when vacancies in the church were left open longer than necessary, and the king pocketed the salaries. Thomas became very rich and generously gave away fortunes to people he wanted political favors from, and also the poor.

When Henry asked Thomas to become the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas told him it wouldn’t be a good idea, but Henry didn’t listen. On becoming the head of the Church of England Thomas changed, and championed the Church’s rights. Henry introduced the Constitutions of the Clarendon and Thomas opposed this greatly. As the pressure grew and Thomas wouldn’t fold, he was accused of false charges.

Thomas fled England and became a monk in France. After six years Henry came to see him and he agreed to come back to England. Because he had stood up to the king, crowds met him and people saw him as a hero. Meanwhile he was not restored property that was his and he was not able to fulfill his duties without money to run the church. He received threats and was offered a few guards as he travelled home.

This was exaggerated to an army as word spread. When this reached Henry, he stated that he wanted to be rid of him. Four knights who overheard this took him to mean that they should kill Thomas. They attacked him in Canterbury’s Cathedral, killing him on the altar. All of Europe was shocked and the pope made the king parade to Thomas’ tomb while being whipped by monks.
 

Thomas’ story is in my new book  Would You Do What They Did? - Great Christian Leaders From Our Past      

It is also available to order now or shortly from anywhere that sells books. It is a collection of biographies of Martin Luther, Francis of Assisi, John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, and Thomas Becket.


Come, tame a wolf, flee from the wrath of the king, feel the horror of impending doom on a ship, and the uncertainty of one’s own salvation with these great heroes of the faith.

I have excepts of the book on my website williamdeanhamilton.net,

 Thank you for reading.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Franciscan Order was officially authorized On November the 29th 1223 - This Week in Christian History for the week of November the 24th through the 30th 2013

Francis of Assisi, who is recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church, was born in either 1181 or1182, the son of a wealthy cloth merchant. When he was young he dreamed of becoming a knight and winning battles, or perhaps of becoming a poet. During a foray as a squire he had a mysterious dream and left to go back home. This helped to distance him from his father, who had invested a lot in his equipment.

He would eventually leave his rich lifestyle and try and help those in need and restore old churches that were in disrepair. He was inspired by the scriptures that speak of Jesus sending out the disciples without any money to preach the Gospel. He began to get followers, although he was only trying to be a better Christian.

Eventually the new order of monks became officially recognized through publication of Regula Bullata by Pope Honorius III. This formally authorized the Regula Prima, as the rule for the organization and administration of the Franciscan order.

Francis didn’t believe in property as all of our possessions are ultimately God’s. While other order’s practiced individual poverty, the Franciscan order was the first that also didn’t have community property. Francis was also instrumental in starting a sister organization of woman called the Poor Clares.

After Francis’ death disputes arose about what direction the order should take, especially about the lack of community property. Eventually the order split into three main groups, although there are other groups, some even outside the Catholic Church. Some have even tried to follow Francis’ ideals outside of a religious institution, and these people are known as the Third Order of Francis. The Franciscan order grew in popularity and is still an important order today.

The life of Francis of Assisi is detailed in my new book Would You Do What They Did? - Great Christian Leaders From Our Past
It is also currently available at Barnes and nobles and should be available to order now or shortly from anywhere that sells books. The book is about Thomas Becket, Martin Luther, John Wesley and Francis of Assisi and is written in creative nonfiction style, I have excepts of the book here on my website williamdeanhamilton.net
Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dawn on Lake Tiberias And Other Stories


Free ebook from the author of this blog Dawn on Lake Tiberias And Other Stories. Biographies and stories about historical Christian in creative nonfiction style.



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