Birthdays on December 12
John Cennick was born to Quaker parents in Reading, England. Raised in the Anglican Church, he came under the influence of John Wesley and became one of the first Methodist lay preachers, facing serious violence to preach the gospel. He left the Wesleys over doctrinal differences and joined George Whitefield. In 1745 he united with the Moravian Brethren, and was ordained by them in 1749. As a Moravian preacher, Cennick spent his later years traveling and preaching in Germany and Ireland. He wrote the hymn "Be Present at Our Table, Lord."
Benjamin Disraeli was born in London. He was never ashamed of his Jewish heritage; both his parents and grandparents were highly respected in their communities. Benjamin was the oldest of four sons, and with his family renounced their Jewish background, joining the Anglican Church. Benjamin, however, did not do well in school, nor in business, and resorted to writing, with a mix of success and failure. When opportunity afforded, he ran for a seat in Parliament, and after four successive failures, was elected. His first speech in Parliament (Dec. 7, 1837) proved a disaster, and he had to shout out his last sentence against the laughter and derision of the assembled politicians: "I will sit down now, but the time will come when you will hear me." This bitter experience moderated his style. Marrying a wealthy widow, 12 years his senior, gave him the position and prestige which heretofore had evaded him. Moreover, his writings became more acceptable (although viewed controversial by those who opposed him). A born-again Jew, he saw very clearly the part Israel would have in fulfilling Bible prophecy and advocated Jewish evangelism, even after he had been elevated to Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Birth of Charlotte Diggs Moon, remembered as "Lottie" Moon, at Viewmont, Virginia. She was the fourth of seven children born to Edward and Anna Moon, of aristocratic stock, on a large plantation. Raised as a staunch Baptist in the Southern tradition, she professed faith in Christ December 22, 1858 during a revival held by Dr. John Broadus. Within ten years she knew she was to be a missionary to China -- a thing unheard of in that day, since China was closed to all foreigners. In college she gained proficiency in French, Latin, Italian, Spanish -- and Greek and Hebrew! On October 7, 1873, she landed in Shanghai, after a stormy voyage, in which even seasoned sailors thought there was no hope. In a few weeks she settled in Tengchow (now Quingdao), which was to be her home for the next 39 years. Although she had thought it best to reach the educated upper classes, it was the poor who came to her door, and out of these the Lord called His true Church. While, by Chinese custom, she was allowed only to teach women, the men always managed to be within ear-shot, though out of sight. Adopting native clothing, she made friends first, and out of these friends God called His chosen ones. Lottie Moon died Christmas Eve, 1912, on the way home for medical furlough.