To many, Christmas is the season of angels, and I’m not referring to Clarence Odbody, George Bailey’s fictional guardian angel (Second Class) in the perennial holiday favorite It’s a Wonderful Life.
During Advent and Christmas we remember Gabriel’s historic appearances to Zechariah (Luke 1:11-20) and, of course, Mary (Luke 1:26-38), as well as the angel’s message to Joseph (Matthew 1:20). Then there is the angel who appeared to the shepherds (Luke 2:9-14) announcing Jesus’ birth. And finally, we remember the angel who appeared to Joseph again in a dream, warning him of Herod’s intent to kill his newborn son and advising him to escape with the family to Egypt.
To read of angels in the Scriptures is to be reminded of the unseen world, that God and His Kingdom are confined to neither human dimension nor rational logic. I find such references to be heartening and faith-affirming.
But do angels still move about at God’s pleasure here on earth?
I do not fully understand how, but I believe they most certainly do. After all, it was the apostle Paul who reminded us that we may sometimes “entertain angels unaware” (Hebrews 13:2). Indeed, it can be a rather incredible thing to fully comprehend this reality. To think that at this very moment angels might be acting on our behalf is, by human standards, rather fantastical, don’t you think?
Introducing this reality to our children in terms they can understand is sometimes challenging, which is why I want to let you know about a new and fun DVD series for children that I’ve recently become acquainted with. It’s titled “Little Angels” and has been created and produced by Roma Downey (ofTouched by an Angel fame). As promoted:
LITTLE ANGELS is an animated DVD series created exclusively for preschool-aged children to teach not only practical learning skills, like ABCs and 1,2,3s, but also to introduce them to the spiritual, moral and ethical principles of the Bible.
“Our goal in creating this,” Downey told Focus on the Family, “was to inspire children and remind them that God loves them. He is watching over them, day and night. To accomplish this, I felt called to spread the word and shine the light of my faith through this animated series.”
The Irish-born Downey, who is married to television producer Mark Burnett (Survivor), is herself a mother. No stranger to the usual Hollywood fare, she deliberately set out to create a sweet, gentle and redeeming alternative, which she has successfully done.
Incidentally, I’m delighted to share with you that Little Angels is written by Phil Lollar, a former Focus team member and Adventures in Odyssey writer.
It is a good thing when a Hollywood notable devotes his or her time to a project that helps lift up the eyes of children to biblical truth. In creating Little Angels, Ms. Downey is also providing a service to parents. That’s because in a world that puts limitations on God’s power, the reminder, to quote John Page’s letter to Thomas Jefferson, “that an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm” is not only very comforting – but also very true.
November 14, 2011
Roma Downey, of "Touched by an Angel" fame, has teamed up with writer Phil Lollar ("Adventures in Odyssey") to produce a series of animated programs targeting the pre-school market. The programs are built with solid Christian values and wonderful life lessons told in a way that young children will understand them.
'Touched by an Angel' Star Roma Downey Produces Bible Animation
October 27, 2011
A new animated DVD series produced by “Touched by an Angel” star Roma Downey will educate preschoolers on basic learning skills and biblical truths when it debuts next Tuesday.
Titled "Little Angels," the show follows the adventures of preschool twins Alex and Zoe as they learn, laugh and play. Accompanying them is a gang of eight cartoon guardian angels that guide and teach the precocious pair about life and God's love.
Its executive producer is Roma Downey, a Hollywood actress who knows a thing or two about God's celestial servants. She played the lead role in the hit CBS TV drama "Touched by an Angel," which ran from 1994 to 2003. The TV show followed an angel, played by Downey, as she served the Lord's will on Earth. Now a mother of three teenagers, Downey said she wants to share the faith beliefs she holds dear to families younger than her own.
"My Christian faith is central to my life," she said. "I've had an opportunity through my faith to share God's love. I thought wouldn't it be wonderful if I could bring the Christian message to preschoolers? With 'Little Angels,' I want to uplift and remind the little children that God loves them and teaches them valuable lessons."
Downey said "Little Angels" took the form of an educational children's cartoon and added to it biblical themes. The series' director and writer is Phil Lollar, the co-creator of the beloved evangelical radio series "Adventures in Odyssey." The fruit of their labors is a fun children's show that educates with zany antics, upbeat sing-alongs and whimsical artistry.
"The beauty of this show is that it teaches on a few different levels," she said. "It encourages both practical life skills and traditional values. I think the kids will be really entertained."
"Little Angels" debuts with two episodes on Tuesday, the first helping children identify common animals and the second learn their ABCs. Later releases will focus on counting and other skills. Each episode follows twins Alex and Zoe as they navigate the trials and tribulations of childhood with the eight angels painted on their bedroom's mural. The cherubs come to life when needed most, and each brings a unique talent to solving an individual story’s problem.
"Every one of our angels has a special gift, just like every one of God's children has a special gift," said Downey, whose favorite angel is the creative Uriel, an angel who paints Bible tales for the twins. "The angels are a reminder that God is present in our lives and never leaves us."
That reminder, Downey added, is meant as a baby step for parents as they explain Christianity to their children. She said she hopes her show serves as a starting point for those too tiny to fully grasp God's role in their lives just yet.
"I hope at dinner mom and dad can speak with their children about how they watched 'Little Angels' that afternoon," Downey said. "It's a great kickoff point to the Bible for this age group. The lessons I learned at that age stuck with me my whole life. I'd love in ten or 20 years from now to meet young adults who shared with me that they were touched by this series."
HISTORY® ANNOUNCES "THE BIBLE"
EXECUTIVE PRODUCED BY MARK BURNETT
NEW YORK, May 23, 2011
HISTORY has greenlit production on a new epic series, THE BIBLE, to be created by renowned producer Mark Burnett (The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice, Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?, Shark Tank) The announcement was made by Nancy Dubuc, President & General Manager, HISTORY.
The five-part, 10-hour docudrama will air in 2013. The series will be shot on location and use state-of-the art visual effects.
“HISTORY has an incredible legacy delving into important subjects to which all people are connected,” said Ms. Dubuc. “There’s no question The Bible is one of the world’s most significant books. This series will bring the historical stories of The Bible to life for a new generation. We are thrilled to work with Mark, who is a rare breed in the business. He is an amazing storyteller, and on this project, has the ability to deliver what we hope will be the largest audience HISTORY has ever seen.”
Using up-to-the-minute production techniques, The Bible series promises to be landmark television programming, combining unforgettable stories with live action and state-of-the-art computer-generated imagery (CGI). From Genesis to Revelation, HISTORY will illuminate The Bible with revealing insights into the life and times of some of its most iconic characters. It will feature some of the most famous stories ever written - from Noah’s Ark and the Exodus to Daniel in the Lion’s Den to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The Bible continues to be the best-selling book in America every year and last year alone, more than 25 million copies were sold.
“The Bible is a sacred text that continues to challenge and inspire,” said Burnett. “We’ve been working on this project for the past two years and are deeply humbled to be given this once in a generation opportunity to breathe visual life into The Bible’s profound stories. The Bible gives meaning and purpose to billions of people around the world, and sparks the curiosity of millions more.”
THE BIBLE series is being produced for HISTORY by Lightworkers Media and Hearst Entertainment & Syndication. Executive Producers are Mark Burnett, Roma Downey and Richard Bedser. Executive Producers for HISTORY are Dirk Hoogstra and Julian P. Hobbs.
HISTORY® and HISTORY HD® are the leading destinations for revealing, award-winning original non-fiction series and event specials that connect history with viewers in an informative, immersive and entertaining manner across multiple platforms. Programming covers a diverse variety of historical genres ranging from military history to contemporary history, technology to natural history, as well as science, archaeology and pop culture. Among the network's program offerings are hit series such as American Pickers, Ax Men, Brad Meltzer’s Decoded, Ice Road Truckers, Top Gear, Pawn Stars and Top Shot, as well as acclaimed specials including America the Story of Us, WWII in HD, 102 Minutes That Changed America, The President’s Book of Secrets and Life After People. HISTORY has earned four Peabody Awards, seven Primetime Emmy® Awards, 12 News & Documentary Emmy® Awards and received the prestigious Governor's Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the network's Save Our History® campaign dedicated to historic preservation and history education. Take a Veteran to School Day is the network's signature initiative connecting America's schools and communities with veterans from all wars. The HISTORY website, located at www.history.com, is the leading online resource for all things history, featuring over 20,000 videos, images, audio clips, articles and interactive features that allow visitors to dig deeper into a broad range of thousands of historical topics. For more information go to www.historypressroom.com
About Mark Burnett
Three time Emmy Award winner Mark Burnett has produced over 1,000 hours of television programming which regularly air in over 70 countries worldwide. His current network series include "The Voice" (NBC), "Survivor" (CBS), "The Celebrity Apprentice" (NBC), "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?” (FOX), “Shark Tank” (ABC) and “Expedition Impossible” (ABC). Burnett is one of very few producers to have had a renewed series on each of the four major networks. He also has a strong presence in award show franchises, producing the annual “People’s Choice Awards” and the “MTV Movie Awards" and for the first time in 2011 is producing the 63rd annual Academy of Television Arts and Sciences "Primetime Emmy Awards." In April of 2011, Burnett and media conglomerate Hearst Corporation announced their new joint media, production and events-based venture which will focus on media content, producing events around that content, and spinning off television shows and other programming based on Hearst brands. Mr. Burnett has been named one of the world's most influential people by TIME Magazine and also TV Guide’s most valuable player. He has won BRANDWEEK’S Marketer of the Year Award, The Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award, the PGA Norman Lear Award and the prestigious ROSE D’OR FRAPA Format Award. Burnett was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and was honored in 2010 with a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
About Roma Downey
A celebrated, Emmy-nominated television and stage actress, Roma Downey is most known for her decade of work as the tenderhearted angel, Monica, in over 200 episodes of "Touched by an Angel". Her work has inspired millions of people and she has garnered best actress nominations for both the Emmy’s and the Golden Globe Awards.
Roma Downey was born and raised in Northern Ireland; she has a B.A. from Brighton University and trained as an actress at the Drama Studio of London. Before moving to the United States she performed with The Abbey Theatre, Irelands National Theatre, and came to the USA with a production of “The Playboy of the Western World”. On Broadway she made her debut opposite Sir Rex Harrison in “The Circle”, and performed with the New York Shakespeare Company, in productions by Shaw and Ibsen at the Roundabout Theatre Company and the Geffen Theatre in Los Angeles. Roma also played Jackie Onassis in the Emmy award winning six-hour mini series for NBC called “A Woman Named Jackie”, and was listed as one of Peoples most beautiful people of the year and hosted Saturday Night Live.
Ms. Downey not only starred in, but executive produced seven television movies for CBS. Some of which were "Borrowed Hearts" with Eric Mc Cormack, "Second Honeymoon" with Tim Matheson and "Monday After the Miracle". She hosted a series for the Pax Network called “Its A Miracle”, has authored the children’s book, Love is a Family and released an inspirational CD called "Healing Angel".She recently starred along side John Schneider in "Come Dance at My Wedding” and will soon be seen in "Keeping Up With The Randall's" both which will be on the Hallmark Channel.
A producer, author, and philanthropist, a devoted mother and the wife of producer Mark Burnett, Ms. Downey is a recent graduate from USM with a Masters in Spiritual Psychology. Ms. Downey’s passions reach far beyond acting and producing, for many years she has been an active volunteer with the charity “Operation Smile”. Operation Smile provides free surgeries for children who suffer from cleft lips or cleft palettes. Roma has been a big supporter and an active spokesperson for 15 years. She has also travelled on many international medical missions to Vietnam, Honduras and Nicaragua and recently was accompanied by her husband Mark Burnett and their three children to a mission in Jordan.