God truly does work in mysterious ways. Ways that are hard for us to figure out and understand. However, His ways are always the best ways and, when He reveals Himself it is always astonishing.
Before I explain what I am talking about, let me give you some background. I was first introduced to Todd Wilson and The Familyman ministries a few years ago when I was nominated for the Homeschool Dad Blog of the Year. Back then we were able to keep track of how many votes each nominated blog received. As time went by I found that there was another Homeschool Dad blog that had the audacity of giving me a run for my money! Yep! You guessed it! It was Todd Wilson's Familyman blog! I couldn't believe that another blogger would actually think that their blog was better than mine! As you can probably (and hopefully) tell, I am just joking. The Familyman blog is a fantastic blog and there really was no rivalry. I can't remember who won that year. I know I one a year or two and I think his blog did as well. It really doesn't matter. I've kept track of Todd Wilson throughout the years and have watched his ministry grow into a fantastic resource for Christian dad's. When I found out that we were going to get to review The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection. I was thrilled we received a CD of one of the stories and also were sent Digital Downloads of all of the stories.
Now, back to explaining my first paragraph. As many of you know, my wife and I are full time missionaries that work with low income families, children and youth. There is one area where I do a weekly Bible study with the adults. It is a run down trailer park that would rival the pictures of any run down trailer park that you could find. Every Tuesday I trek to "Grandma's" trailer, sit in her living room and study and pray with 5 or 6 other adults, usually relatives of hers that live in the park. Each week I pray that God would give me just the thing that those people need to hear that week but on one recent week I just couldn't get a grip on what I was to do with at the Bible study. God seemed to be silent. It was Tuesday afternoon and I still didn't have a thing. As I was praying God spoke clearly and told me that He didn't want me to say anything. I was to play one or two of Todd Wilson's Christmas Treasury stories for them. Of course, as often happens, I laughed and told God that He was obviously joking. This was the middle of October! You don't want me to play a Christmas story for them do you? However, my argument with God was to no avail. He gave me nothing else and the thought of playing a couple of the Christmas story's was stuck in my head.
As I was still pondering all of this, "Grandma" calls. She had taken the two hour trip to Nashville to a doctor's appointment and wanted to tell me the results. I asked if she still wanted me to come over that evening. Surely she was too tired. She would have none of it! Of course I was to come over! I should know better than that!. So, a little while later, I picked up my phone (on which all of the stories were downloaded) and headed over to the trailer park. When I walked into Grandma's run down trailer I was astonished! Instead of the usual five or six people there were 16 adults, children and teens crowded into her small living room! They had saved one chair for me but other than that it was standing room only. I sat down, greeted everyone, explained what I was going to do, prayed and pressed the button. I intended to play Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest but, once again, God had other plans. It was not the Harold Grubbs story that came on, although I am sure that was the link I had pressed. Instead it was Gladys Remembers Christmas.
Gladys Remembers Christmas is a story about a crotchety elderly lady who goes to clean out her even more elderly fathers house after he was put into a nursing home. Gladys hates a lot of things. She hates her name, she hates non-punctual and disorganized people, and she especially hates Christmas. She has hated Christmas ever since her mother died when she was six. After working until the evening she remembers that her father had requested that she go to the attic to find an old green box and bring it to him. Finally after much searching she finds the box, opens it, and miracles begin to happen. The house begins to smell of fresh baked cookies; the rooms are transformed back to the way that they were 60 years ago; and, Gladys hears a sweet familiar voice that she hadn't heard since she was a young girl.
I won't spoil it and tell you what happens next, but, as we all listened to the story that was expertly told by the popular story teller Jim Hodges, I looked around the room. I looked over at one dear lady who had had a very rough life. Tears were running down her cheeks. I watched a 14 year old, rough around the edges, boy's eyes begin to soften as he sat transfixed. I saw a husband put his arm around the shoulders of his wife and squeeze. The same husband and wife that argued and fussed with each other daily. I glanced at Grandma and saw her holding her face in her hands trying to hide her tears. Miracles weren't just happening in the story, but miracles were happening in that room as well. When the story was over and I was about to pray a closing prayer, they all looked at me and practically begged to listen to another story. So I sat back down and, this time, was able to play Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest. It produced equal results as the story of Gladys.
As you can tell, I was astounded at the reaction that these stories had on my little group of Bible study folks. Why? I don't know. I shouldn't have been. From the first story that I listened to - Captain Chaos and the Manger Blaster - I was hooked. It and, all of the stories that I listened to produced similar emotions in me as they did to my special friends in the trailer park. Todd Wilson is a masterful story writer who wrote these good, old-fashioned, wholesome, Christmas stories and partnered with Jim Hodges to masterfully tell the stories. I found myself in dismay with Jason as he goes in search for a Christmas that seemed to all of a sudden disappear in Captain Chaos and the Manger Blaster. I cried and cheered with Cootie McKay in Cootie McKay's Nativity. All of the stories in this collection are fantastic including the stories that I haven't talked about - The Stranger and The Bishop's Dream.
I didn't tell you that at the end of the night every family asked me if I could get them copies of all of the stories to listen to so I guess Todd Wilson and The Familyman are going to be busy packing an order for me in the next month or so.
To find out more about The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection and the rest of the products that The Familyman has to offer, just click on any one of the highlighted links above or on any of the social media links below. To find what other members of The Homeschool Crew thought just click on the banner below. Happy Listening!
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