~reflections~musings~inspirations~insights~and life lessons learned by one who is
whole-heartedly, steadfastly, firmly in HIS grip~

Romans 1:6 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Johnny Appleseed's Christmas Lesson

My grandson, Hunter, is in a reading contest at school. Each week the books become larger and more complicated. Every Wednesday afternoon he takes time to read a little bit to anyone who will listen. This past week he brought home Johnny Appleseed. You remember the story... old Johnny traveled across the United States planting apple trees so people would have food and shade? It’s even rumored he wore his cooking pot on his head for a hat. It is hard to separate truth from myth where this American legend is concerned.

Hunter and I looked on line and found a little factual information about the man born as John Chapman. He was a pioneer nurseryman, who planted apple trees across Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. His legend began while he was alive due to his generous spirit and leadership in conservation. Hunter thought it was so cool that Johnny Appleseed was a missionary. He said, “That’s why he was generous, huh Granna?”

We are all a bit like Johnny Appleseed, aren’t we? In our every day life our every day actions are planting seeds. Seeds of hope, trust, compassion, generosity, kindness, forgiveness, snippets of God’s Word…all seeds of the faith… sewn in words and deeds.

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas fosters the feeling of responsibility to provide for the poor, feed the hungry, and in general a heightened sense of compassion and generosity. Christians and non-Christians alike drop change into Salvation Army kettles in the front of stores and on street corners through out the country. Old coats are gathered, cleaned and made ready for redistribution. Extra canned goods and non-perishable items are purchased and dropped in boxes placed in rows by cash registers in local stores and in church lobbies. Paper Angels with a child’s name and pertinent information are plucked from trees in malls across the nation and toys are purchased, wrapped and dropped off in time for a less fortunate family to experience the Christmas they always dreamed of having.

It would be a wonderful world if everyone everywhere were about the business of sewing the seeds of faith, love, and hope but sadly, that’s not the case. Seeds of a more ominous kind are also sewn in deeds, words, and actions…or lack there of…seeds of despair, hopelessness, discouragement, anger, apathy…seeds of hate...sewn intentionally or by careless conduct…especially during this season set aside for love and generosity.

An unkind word to a cashier that doesn’t check you out fast enough, a look of disgust or revulsion to the stranger on the street who just wants enough change to buy a dollar hamburger, a grumble to the store associate who informs you that what you want is no longer available or if available, not for the sale price; the fist raised at the person who cut you off in traffic or took the parking spot you waited on for ten minutes, the beat of impatience tapped out by a foot directed toward the person who needs a price check or doesn’t have enough money in the check-out line in front of you… grumpiness, irritability, and grouchiness because there is too much to do and not enough time to do it in… the scenarios could go on forever.

It has become an American holiday tradition…this busyness of the season…running to and fro…shopping, wrapping, decorating, cooking…giving. Add to that practice for the Christmas cantata or play, the additional dinners and programs at school and church…the holiday dinner party; and even we who profess Christ can get caught up in the hustle and bustle and brush past someone who needs nothing more than a mere smile, a word of encouragement…an act of patience…a Merry Christmas.

Over the next couple of weeks I pray we keep our eyes open and our hearts prepared to see the soil God has set before us. That we plant seeds which will draw all we come in contact with into a closer relationship with Him. That if they do not know our Savior, it is in our actions, words, and deeds they get a glimpse of the One who is truly the reason for the season. May His light not only shine upon you...but through you this Christmas.

Matthew 25:40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’” KJV


  1. I pray we sow faith, hope, and love daily. Beautiful post.


  2. Beautifully written post, and oh, so true!!!

  3. I really enjoyed this post. I was born in Indiana and old Johnny came romping through our territory leaving his seeds. I love how you brought in the sowing of our seeds in life. The Lord wants us to be patient and He gives us so much. Why is it sometimes so hard to look on the other side? May God give us a loving heart and a willingness to feel for what the other person is going through. Aren't grandchildren the most wonderful creatures?

  4. Very nice lesson from the Johnny Appleseed story. I hope now we all apply this to our everyday lives and will be sensitive to divine encounters. Even a small act of Christian love and kindness can mean everything to a person in need.

  5. This is a beautifully written and thought-provoking post. A few days ago I posted "Listen" - a story about my recently deceased mother sharing a Christmas gift with a store clerk for her orphaned grandsons. As you point out, everyone is carrying a burden of some kind, if we just take the time to listen.

  6. Wonderful story and info about Johnny A. Your thoughts on the season are an important reminder to all of us!

  7. I had forgotten the history of Johnny Appleseed. It is a truly inspirational story and well worth remembering. It is important to sew seeds of goodness. *Being good* is under rated these days. This is something I fail in frequently, but am still Under Construction. My father sewed hate in me with his fists and hateful words, and I still fight those demons. [sigh]
    Blessings to y'all ~~ ♥ ∞

  8. I loved reading about Johnny Appleseed when I was a child... too bad they don't read these stories in school any more.
    Our words are powerful!
    thanks for yours!!

  9. I remember that story!! now that you reminded me that story I started to remember my other favorites back then. The spirit of aloha and giving is alive and well here in the islands. We just fed over 2000 people at our annual Salvation Army Thanksgiving Dinner. What a blessing to see tha faces of those who came that would not have been able to have a dinner of their own on Thanksgiving Day. It was so good to see you, I am always blessed when you come by.

    Hugz Lorie


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