December 01, 2021

Fictional Stories of the First Christmas by Sandi Somers

Several years ago, our InScribe bloggers wrote compelling fictional stories of a person involved in Jesus’ death and resurrection. These stories became the core of our 2021 anthology Easter Stories and More.

Judging by the popularity of that concept, we’re reintroducing the fictional theme for Christmas, each of us writing part of the story of Jesus’ birth from the perspective of one of the characters.

~ ~ ~

The Governor’s Dream

Palestine is in chaos. Judea lies heavy under the foot of Rome. Caesar Augustus has required a census, and everyone had to register in their ancestral city. My Jews, these troublesome people, complained that this was just another tax grab for the Emperor. Violent uprisings and revolts exploded all over the province. They grumbled that they’d have to walk for days through this bitter winter to reach their far-away cities.

Was there ever a governor as troubled as I? I Quirinius, Governor of the Jews—and all of Syria. I, too, was in chaos as I trained census takers, managed all the paperwork and tried to quell the violence in the most unexpected places. Why couldn't Rome have asked them to register in their own towns? It would have been so much easier.

~ ~ ~

And now I sleep, a troubled sleep. 

I see masses of people crisscrossing the country like ants disturbed from their ant hill. Donkeys. People loaded with food and provisions. Even a pregnant woman full term! In the darkness of night, cities are congested. Towns are crowded. Bethlehem is overflowing.

Watch dogs bark. The travellers jostle for rooms. People with short tempers shout and swear. Doors slam. “No room. No room! No room!!” Someone shakes me and demands I give them room.

“Wake up, Quirinius!” My wife is shaking me. “You’re having a bad dream. Why are you shouting, ‘No room! I can’t give them room!’?”

My thoughts begin to clear, and I try to understand what this dream means. Who is this pregnant woman? Why are so many people heading to Bethlehem - a small nondescript city? Why can no one give her a room? Even I would have let her sleep in my winter home.

“Go back to sleep,” my wife urges. “The census will soon be over and you can get back to governing in peace.”

~ ~ ~

I toss and turn and eventually fall asleep. 

I see a dark stable, but a holy light begins to glow. Cows moo and an infant sleeps. What indignity that this infant was born in a stable, of all places!

The night begins to grow bright. A messenger in flight hovers over shepherds outside Bethlehem. The shepherds fall to the ground, terrified. I hear them exclaim, “An angel! An angel! We're dead!”

The messenger touches me and his command reverberates in my ears. “Fear not! Rise up! Rise up! For he is come!”

My wife is standing over me. “Quirinius! Quirinius! You’re shouting again, ‘Why should I rise up? Come out! Come out!’”

My body is shuddering. I'm dripping with perspiration. My bed covers lie all twisted on the floor. As my wife picks them up and straightens them out, she laments, “This census is really getting to you like nothing else has. I’ll bring you tea so you can go back to sleep—peacefully this time."

I change my clothes. As the tea and my wife's presence soothe me, I ask, “Why did my dream continue? What can all of this mean?”

~ ~ ~

I fall asleep again. I dream. 

A bright star lights up the sky, brighter than any star I’ve ever seen. I see a Temple. A cross. An empty tomb. A melodic harp. A great choir sings, “Glory to God in the highest!” It’s a most beautiful song. “Good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people!” The voices continue towards a crescendo, joined by millions of singers, “He is Holy. He has come. Rise up! Rise up!”

I awaken. Early morning sunlight streams into my room. My wife is no longer beside me. She has gone to sleep in another room. 

Something has changed. The God of this Judea has told me to rise up. Peace floods me. Although I don’t understand what it all means, I know the Holy One has come to me. 

~ ~ ~

This story was inspired by the song, “A Governor’s Dream,” by Roger Whittaker (1936- ), and is based on Luke’s reference to Jesus’ birth during the time of Quirinius, Governor of Syria. I first heard “A Governor’s Dream” at a Roger Whittaker concert when he was at the height of his popularity in the 1970s. It still brings emotion as I replay it during the Christmas season. Listen to the song here

November 29, 2021

Get the Inscribe App!


InScribe has a new way to connect and keep up to date on all of our events and activities! We have our own "InScribe App"!

If you haven't uploaded the App on your phone yet, here is the link:

 https://shelby.ministryone.com/landing/N3ke

We rolled out the app at our Fall Conference in October but there will be lots more communication coming about how to use it, its advantages, and more! Watch this VERY HELPFUL (and short!) video to get you started. 

November 28, 2021

Spanky and Our Gang: "Like to Get To Know You" - Bruce Atchison

This popular group had a few charting hits in the late sixties. This particular one was about the tentative nature of starting a relationship with a stranger. Hear it here:

On the face of it, Philippians 3:10 (Bible in Basic English) doesn't seem to make sense. Why did Paul write, "That I may have knowledge of him, and of the power of his coming back from the dead, and a part with him in his pains, becoming like him in his death;"

Paul meant that he wanted to be as close to Christ as he could be, even in suffering persecution. His sole aim in life became to become what Jesus wanted him to be. Now that's dedication!

So how can we develop such a dedicated passion for our Lord? He gave the answer in John 14:15-17 (BBE). "If you have love for me, you will keep my laws. And I will make prayer to the Father and he will give you another Helper to be with you for ever, Even the Spirit of true knowledge. That Spirit the world is not able to take to its heart because it sees him not and has no knowledge of him: but you have knowledge of him, because he is ever with you and will be in you."

We also read in 1 John 2:4-6 (BBE) how we can know the extent of our devotion to our Master. "The man who says, 'I have knowledge of him,' and does not keep his laws, is false, and there is nothing true in him: But in every man who keeps his word, the love of God is made complete. By this we may be certain that we are in him: He who says that he is living in him, will do as he did."

In my case, the turning point came in my life back in 2002. Reading Hebrews 2:18 (BBE) showed me that Christ knows what it's like to be human. "For having been put to the test himself, he is able to give help to others when they are tested."

I felt elated when I finally comprehended that Christ understands how I felt. In my past, people gave me the impression that he, and especially the Father, were "rules is rules" types. Now I want to be as close to the one whom chose me as I can in this life. Philippians 3:10

November 27, 2021

Roads Signs and Landmarks by Lorilee Guenter

 


Jeremiah 31: 21 "Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road you take. Return, O Virgin Israel, return to your towns." (NIV)


"You follow that road for a couple of blocks and turn right. It is the first right turn, there will be a church on the corner. Then you are looking for..." These are directions I might give for someone to find my place. I would know which direction they were arriving from and could guide them based on that. When I plan a vacation, I study maps and make a plan for what I want to see and the best way to get to the landmarks, galleries and stores. Then I watch for road signs once I am there so that I don't miss what I want to see.


My life journey has a number of landmarks or highlights. There is the moment I made the personal choice to follow Jesus. There is high school graduation, my wedding, university convocation, the birth of two daughters, and more. Each of these altered the course of my life. However, if I only mark these on a map, it might be like saying "from the Empire State Building, go north to the parliament building in Ottawa, go west, stop by the Canadian Mint in Winnipeg, then head northwest to Saskatoon to the University of Saskatchewan." It points out landmarks but, unless you are flying, does not help you get from one place to another.


Put up road signs and guideposts. The more places I notice God's hand at work, the easier it is to return when I start to wander. By making notes in a journal and, at times, adding dates in my bible margins so I can go back to those journals notes about how God talked to me at that time, I have a road map that leads away from anxiety about so many things. There is the time that a job offer came the same week as a layoff notice -- a reminder of God's provision. God has shown up in our finances, our health, our relationships, and more. He always shows up because he is always here. 


But we wander.


Those road signs, those markers of his faithfulness, they point us back to God, back to a relationship with the only one who can satisfy. I want my life to be defined by a seeking to grow in that relationship.

November 25, 2021

You ARE a Writer by Sharon Heagy

 


    While contemplating writing this month’s post, my mind went madly off in a multitude of directions. Each life has so many defining moments. Some are tragic, some are sad, some overflow with joy. Every person has tales to tell of fundamentally transforming moments that create a life being lived. How do you narrow the possibilities into just one defining event?

At first, I thought about suffering. Events that involved some sort of loss or tragedy. The ones that have pounded down the clay that constitutes my heart and mind but which also enabled the Lord to reform them in a different way.

Then my thoughts went to writing and the myriad of moments that have encouraged me to continue.  One such moment happened through a writer’s workshop hosted by the Saskatchewan Writer’s guild.  It was unusual in that it wasn’t one day or weekend but a series of Saturdays, once a month for several months, culminating in a public reading.  I walked into that room for the first session a bundle of nerves, my confidence as full as a deflated balloon.  There were writers of all abilities but most had considerably more experience than I.  They were amazing folks with varied backgrounds and personalities who wrote in an abundance of genres.  It was a fascinating and educational experience and I drank it all in like a thirsty person lost in the desert who happens upon an oasis and falls face down in the water.

Week after week we reviewed and critiqued each other’s work, whether it was something we wrote on the day we met or something that we submitted to one another during the month between sessions for our consideration and feedback.

Months went by and the time finally came for our ‘public’ reading at a local art gallery.  I use the term public loosely as the audience pretty much consisted of family and friends.  A room full of encouragement. Once the readings were done, we lingered and chatted over coffee, tea and baked treasures.  The director of the Writer’s Guild was in attendance and came up to me and to my surprise handed me a cheque.  The look of bafflement on my face prompted her to say that it was payment for the reading. I paused and thanked her and said it almost made me feel like a real writer.  She locked her eyes with mine and said you ARE a writer. 

How often I return to that moment when doubt overflows and I dissolve into those ‘what makes you think you can write and who do you think you are and what could you possibly have to share that would make a difference to anyone’ moments.  It was a confirmation, for me, of God’s call on my life.

Another amazing part of that experience was that two of the people I met led me to my first Christian Writer’s Conference in Saskatoon where I also discovered Inscribe. For that I am forever grateful and I still value their friendship, experience and feedback though we don’t get to chat very often.

Now each month as I write another post I am filled with hope and with the possibility that someday I may touch a heart with laughter or tears but more than that with encouragement and hope and dare I say to be used by God. That would be amazing. And so, I write. Not to be published, though I’ve experienced a dribble of that, but because I am a writer. (And maybe someday a ‘real’ one.)