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Eyes & Ears of Moreno Valley

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As we get closer to that blessed day, a day that God decided he needed to send His only Begotten Son to save the world. And as I was studying one of my lessons, I read that each year it seems that Christ’s birth is acknowledged less and less during the Christmas season. It was stated that a British newspaper said, “Christ has been detached from Christmas and the season is now apparently just a time for being kind and ensuring that no one is lonely.” We have the opportunity to spread the good news that Jesus is the reason for the season. We could share with others the true meaning of Christmas. (1) Christmas is a birthday celebration, honoring Jesus. God’s son took on human flesh and “dwelt among us (John 1:14). (2) Jesus came for our sake. He was born to die on a cross for our sins, and He was resurrected to give us forgiveness and eternal life (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Read your Bible and Pray.

“Where Dreams Soar”

CITY OFFICES CLOSED FOR HOLIDAY - Most City of Moreno Valley offices will be closed from Monday, December 24, 2012 through Tuesday, January 1, 2013 and re-open Wednesday, January 2, 2013. For more information contact the City of Moreno Valley at (951) 413—3000 or www.moval.org.

Back to “Where the Music Lived:” Ron left St. Helena Island, the next morning and drove six and a half hours to Murphy, North Carolina in the great Smoky Mountains. In 1933, He had read the renowned folklorist and folksinger John Jacob Niles happened to be visiting the tiny Appalachian village, intent on collecting and recording traditional songs. In his unpublished autobiography he wrote of a revivalist preacher’s daughter. She was unbelievably dirty and ragged, she could sing but she would sing only a single line of the song. Niles, enthralled, asked her to repeat the song and lyric. She sang it seven times and Niles paid her 25 cents each time. After the seventh take, he wrote, he had “three lines of verse, a garbled fragment of melodic material and a magnificent idea.” From that he composed the haunting carol, “I Wonder as I Wander.” Niles’s carol is one of Ron’s favorites. Ron met the Mayor of Murphy, North Carolina. Mayor Bill Hughes led Ron down the street where Niles stood when he first heard the girl sing it was a spot by a fountain. Ron thought of Niles’s lyrics, so simple yet so profound. His next place was Wayland, Massachusetts and the carol “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. The first Parish in Wayland, a Unitarian Universalist Church is a scenic town outside of Boston, was his next stop. It was there Edmund Hamilton Sears, authored “It came Upon a Midnight Clear.” He served as a Minister. What I loved so much about the carol is that Sears wrote it as a prayer for peace more than as a carol. The Mexican War had just ended and the Civil War was on the horizon when he penned it Christmas Eve 1849. A year later, his friend the soon-to-be New York Tribune music critic Richard Storrs Willis set Sears poem to music. While in Edmund, Ron visited the Edmund Hamilton Sears Chapel. He then left for Cambridge, Massachusetts. He had an appointment to see Dr. Jameson Marvin, director of choral activities at Harvard. “Did you know?” he asked, “that a number of Harvard professors wrote carols?” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “Christmas Bells,” the basis for “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, 1863, he was grieving over the death of his wife in a home fire, and of his son, who had been wounded in battle. The professor was awake late, in a desperate mood, when he heard the peal of church bells.

Christmas had come. He sat down and penned his now-famous poem. Its last line, famously were, “With peace on earth, goodwill to men.” Longfellow’s mood had changed. Next week I will finish Ron’s story. The next stop will be Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” Then New York, New York and “Do You Here What I Hear and White Christmas.”

This has been a powerful journey for me, even though I have traveled to some of these cities with my late husband while stationed with the Military. This journey has been the best for me. My favorite holidays are Christmas and Easter. Christmas is such a loving and giving time. But we must learn to “love and give,” all year long from our heart the Lord loves and gives to us all year long. Sit and think of what God does for us, all year long. He is never fake with us -- he is for REAL.

Be Blessed!

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