the Legacy

When you long to cultivate a Christian home.

Month: January 2018

Jonah and the Giant Fish

As promised, the resources here are teacher-approved and will breathe life into the hearts of both you and your littles. Many are created to fit perfectly into the things you do already: dinner, driving, and bedtime routines. Real relief. So take a breath and use what best fits your family. Because this legacy we’re cultivating requires more than an hour with a Sunday school teacher. You are tailor-made for this, momma. It’s the absolute icing on the cake. And yes, it can be just as sweet.

The inspirations below connect with the book of Jonah.

I am a Fish

I am a fish the Lord God made.
I swallowed Jonah one faithful day.

I took him down to the bottom of the sea
where God could talk to him personally.

He tickled in my tonsils and wasn’t real yummy,
but I kept him safe in the dark of my tummy.

I took him to the beach where people could see,
and I plopped him out as nice as could be.

The people listened wherever he went.
They did what he said when he said, “REPENT!”

This poem offers the story from the fish’s perspective. What would the story look like if one of the others on the boat were telling it? Or a bystander on the beach when Jonah was spat out? This is offered as a dinner table question (below), and it could also be written as another story or poem if any creatives in the house feel inspired.

For the artists:

Fold a sheet of blank paper into several sections (up to four times both vertically and horizontally). Draw the story sequentially within the boxes. If you prefer design work, create a symbol for each step of the story.

Movie connection:

God uses animals such as a big fish and a talking donkey in some of his adventures. This reminds me of C.S. Lewis bringing both “dumb” and “tame” animals into his. (Editors and publishers told him this would never sell, btw). Need a movie night? The Narnia series never gets old.

Dinner table questions: (these are most fun when folded up and dropped into a cup)

Have you ever eagerly waited for someone to get the punishment he or she deserved? Tell us the story.

How might the Jonah story sound if someone else from the boat was telling it?

How might the Jonah story sound if told by an eyewitness to Jonah being spat out?

Trivia: In which body of water did Jonah get swallowed up? Was it salt water or fresh water?

(Answer: No peeking! The Mediterranean Sea. And the salt content is higher than that of the Atlantic. If you really want to float, go there!)

3 Freeing Things you Never Knew about the Nativity

The forest is still with snow. Rabbit tracks lead between the trees.
There’s a unique smell to fresh cut wood- unique even to each kind of wood. There are marks unique to the cutting tool: axe or saw? Powered or hand?
I run bare fingers over its marrow. Hand saw.
I breathe in. Pine.
With time and sun and rain, the sap no longer seeps, and the splinters no longer pierce. The textures and smells fade.
Add paint, and all is lost. Not that it can’t be decorative or even beautiful. It’s just not the true thing it once was.
This year I’m stripping away the counterfeit.

The nativity story has been long-told by the commercial industry.
Did she ride a donkey? It never says.
Did they stay in a barn? Probably not.
3 wise men or 30? No answer.
When did they arrive? Perhaps around the time Jesus turned two.

It’s amazing what can be imagined when the windows of the mind let in fresh light.

Mary’s windows didn’t show barns dotting the countryside. Imagine instead one-room homes divided by a trough. One lamp on a lampstand would light the entire house. At night, animals were brought inside for safety and warmth. They slept on one side while the family slept on the other.

It makes a dramatic story to think Mary gave birth in a barn on a bed of hay. But what if the story was even better? What if they were surrounded by love? By wide eyes behind an opening door? By open arms pulling them inside? By a family giving up their blankets? By women heating wet towels, patting the sweat on her forehead, and holding her hand?

No self-respecting Jewish woman would have let another woman deliver alone. Mary probably had a midwife- maybe several.

What if they were swallowed up by love from complete strangers and sent on their way with full bellies and bags overflowing with warm bread?

Shepherds. They were the tired, the dirty, the lowly, the untrusted- the unwanted yet necessary for the multitude of sheep facing slaughter over the sins of the righteous.

On that particular night, did fire flicker in tired eyes? Did wounds of loneliness run deep? Or was there laughter and drinks and something turning on a spit?

The angel appears. After wide eyes and dropped jaws, it speaks. “Do not be afraid.” The news of Jesus is offered, and a multitude of heavenly hosts sing.

He comes to the unwanted. He steps right between, wraps his arms around their shoulders, pulls them to his side, and says, “Wanna know a secret?” Then he blows the doors off with a show-stopping scene as big as his smile and is gone.

Wise Men, Kings, or Magi? How about “astrologers” and “alchemists”? Whatever title you put on them, think: magicians coveting power by means ranging from science to trickery to the occult.

And I could never reconcile it. How did this group take such an interest in the newborn king they decided to travel such a long distance on such an expensive journey with such expensive gifts which probably required a very large caravan and many more people than three? How did they even know he was coming? From the stars? From their magic? From the occult??

Could this mean God reaches out to the scoundrels?

He does.

Could it mean no one is so far gone they can’t return?

It could.

Could it mean he desires that not one would be lost?

He says it.

It’s never told how they knew. But what if God was planting seeds generations before?

What if Daniel taught the prophecies to the wise men back during his charge under Nebuchadnezzar- back when he saved all their skins? And as those stories were passed on with wide eyes, the wise men shifted from the “occult” toward the “science”? They would’ve known of the time frame and of the star. They would’ve heard legends of a “magic” a hundred times greater than anything they aspired to.

And the Source was credited.

They brought gifts fit for a king- their new King.

And on this Epiphany, I put the ornaments in their boxes, inhale the pine, and imagine.

I imagine the infinite possibilities,

the vastness of a God uncontained by time,

and the hand of God wrapping around my shoulder asking,

“Wanna know a secret?”

Once upon a time, the world, it was mine;
nothing but sunshine and daisies.

Now I am grown, with mistakes that I own;
thank God for the grace that saves me.

2018 Kindra Silk