Archive for the ‘ Birth of Jesus ’ Category

Preparing Your Heart – Third Week of Advent

We are continuing the series originally posted three years ago!

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It is now the third week of Advent! (See the last two weeks’ devotional thought here and here.)

Again, Advent is a time to remember our Lord’s first coming as we look forward to His imminent return.

So, let us prepare hearts for encountering the Lord!

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old

. . .

“for my eyes have seen your salvation
    that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”
Luke 1:68-70, 2:30-32, ESV

The first part of the quote is from Zechariah, John the Baptist’s dad, at John’s birth. The second part of the quote was said by Simeon, an old and devout man, when he saw the baby Jesus at the Temple.

These two men knew that the Lord’s salvation was at hand. If you read all of chapters one and two of Luke, you can see that even they did not understand His plan of salvation. They were on the right track, but they were not aware of how things would unfold.

The Lord had come, Emmanuel, God with us, and he brought salvation. It was first brought to Israel, the Jews in Jerusalem in particular, and then it spread to “all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8) over the past 2,000 years.

What most everyone then did not know was that first the Lord would bring spiritual salvation, the forgiveness of sins and the repairing of the relationship with God and humanity; the physical redemption from all enemies is still to come.

Let us remember that salvation has come, but we await our salvation from the pain and evil of this world (see Romans 8). We do not understand fully how it will all happen, but we know Jesus will return!

May we not get caught up in the knowledge we have and miss the signs of His coming. May we remember that we are not home yet, and we await our coming Savior. May we bring as many as we can to all of this knowledge of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father!

Preparing Your Heart – First Week of Advent

This originally posted three years ago, but sometimes it is good remembering some things!

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It is the first week of Advent!

Advent is a time to remember our Lord’s first coming as we look forward to His imminent return.

So, let us prepare hearts for encountering the Lord!

“If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward him. If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents. Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear. You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security. You will lie down, and none will make you afraid; many will court your favor. But the eyes of the wicked will fail; all way of escape will be lost to them, and their hope is to breathe their last.”
Job 11:13-20, ESV

In the passage today, Job’s friend Zophar is offering his friendly advice. May we remember that the only way these words are true is if we turn to the Lord and let Him make us clean and righteous!

Prepare Your Heart – Advent Week 3

Continue preparing your heart for wisdom by reading the thoughts over at Proverbial Thought!

It is now the second week of Advent! (See the last two weeks’ devotional thought here and here.)

Again, Advent is a time to remember our Lord’s first coming as we look forward to His imminent return.

So, let us prepare hearts for encountering the Lord!

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old

. . .

“for my eyes have seen your salvation
    that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”
Luke 1:68-70, 2:30-32, ESV

The first part of the quote is from Zechariah, John the Baptist’s dad, at John’s birth. The second part of the quote was said by Simeon, an old and devout man, when he saw the baby Jesus at the Temple.

These two men knew that the Lord’s salvation was at hand. If you read all of chapters one and two of Luke, you can see that even they did not understand His plan of salvation. They were on the right track, but they were not aware of how things would unfold.

The Lord had come, Emmanuel, God with us, and he brought salvation. It was first brought to Israel, the Jews in Jerusalem in particular, and then it spread to “all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8) over the past 2,000 years.

What most everyone then did not know was that first the Lord would bring spiritual salvation, the forgiveness of sins and the repairing of the relationship with God and humanity; the physical redemption from all enemies is still to come.

Let us remember that salvation has come, but we await our salvation from the pain and evil of this world (see Romans 8). We do not understand fully how it will all happen, but we know Jesus will return!

May we not get caught up in the knowledge we have and miss the signs of His coming. May we remember that we are not home yet, and we await our coming Savior. May we bring as many as we can to all of this knowledge of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of the Father!

Comfort and Joy in the King – God Rest You Merry Gentlemen

Keep your joy strong with wisdom from Proverbial Thought!

It is Christmas Eve! Tomorrow we celebrate God stepping into the time to redeem His Creation. There is no better explanation of that act than today’s song.

It is at least 300 years old and may be older than that. I have not been able to find verifiable information, but I have heard that it was written by a priest who was concerned with how much of the gospel message the average person actually knew. Therefore, he put the lyrics to a tune that could be heard in many pubs.

The earliest publication of the song was in 1833 by William Sandys, and one of my favorite stories, from 1843, used it: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

God rest you merry, gentlemen.
Let nothing you dismay.
Remember, Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

In Bethlehem, in Israel,
This blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn
The which His Mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came;
And unto certain Shepherds
Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name.
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

“Fear not then,” said the Angel,
“Let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Savior
Of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan’s power and might.”
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind:
And went to Bethlehem straightway
The Son of God to find.
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our dear Savior lay,
They found Him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His Mother Mary kneeling down,
Unto the Lord did pray.
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Why I like this carol …

My first liking is that it tells the birth story of Jesus. It reminds us of the hope we have in His life and death, that He came “to save us all from Satan’s power when we had gone astray.”

My second liking comes from the title, which really means “God keep/make you joyful/content/hopeful/happy, people of God”. That is some paraphrasing on my part, but it is based on literal meanings of the words “rest” and “merry”.

This song is a reminder that God did not wait for us to achieve the impossible or seek Him out. He came to us, He redeemed us with His own life and blood, and He will return to redeem all of Creation. We should be joyful and hopeful knowing that our Lord wins and has won. He came and will come again!

Merry Christmas – Almost literally, “Joy comes from Christ’s suffering.”

Remember that is what “Merry Christmas” means, for the Christ-Mass, is the remembrance that Jesus Christ was born that He may die to bring us second birth … and He will come again!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Let Us Adore The King – O Come All Ye Faithful

Adore the Wisdom of God by finding some wisdom at Proverbial Thought!

We continue looking at some of my favorite Christmas Carols and why.

I have taken us through several songs and poems which have touched my life in some way, but honestly it is most Christmas carols and many Christmas songs that impact my life by simply being about Christmas and, specifically, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

That is why there is the ever-slightest shift this week.

The carol this week did not have a dramatic impact on my life, but it certainly begins to explain some of what I feel and believe.

O Come All Ye Faithful
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

O Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing all that hear in heaven God’s holy word.
Give to our Father glory in the Highest;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

All Hail! Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
O Jesus! for evermore be Thy name adored.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Why I Like This Carol …

… is that it is a call to celebration and worship.

There is something inherently joyous and celebratory about it, many times because the music is very upbeat and celebratory. Regardless of the music, those words just draw all focus to Jesus. They are a call to sing and celebrate the Savior of the world. They are a call to worship the Lord of all.

Join with me in celebrating and worshiping our God who saves us!

Discovering the King – What Child Is This?

Discover the wisdom waiting for you at Proverbial Thought!

Here we are in the fourth week of some of my favorite Christmas carols!

The song this week was written in 1865 by William Chatterton Dix not long after he almost died of an illness. It was originally written as a poem called “The Manger Throne”, and later some of the stanzas were put to a traditional English tune called “Greensleeves” and called “What Child Is This?

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why I Like It …

The first reason I like the song is the Olde Timey sound, but that is just because!

The most important reason I like this song is the gospel message, of course!

The song sings of the newborn Jesus in Mary’s lap, but it looks forward with the hope of the cross and resurrection which brought us forgiveness of sins, salvation from death and God’s wrath, and the hope of eternal life! It reminds us that our Lord is deserving of our utmost praise.

Playing for the King – The Little Drummer Boy

Get a dose of wisdom from Proverbial Thought!

For the next several weeks, as we build to “the most wonderful time of the year,” I am going to look at some of my personal favorite Christmas carols. Why not start with my longest-running favorite?

Carol of the Drum

The Little Drummer Boy started out in 1941 as a song by Katherine Kennicott Davis and by the name Carol of the Drum.

Here are the lyrics:

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we’ll bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum
So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum
When we come

Baby Jesus, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give our King, pa rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum
Shall I play for You?, Pa rum pum pum
On my drum

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum
Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum

Why it is one of my favorites

First, I refer you to “The Parable of the Talents” from Matthew 25:14-30 (ESV):

 

 

14 For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 Well done, good and faithful servant.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.

29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Here is what I want to say, then, about the song:

We know that God has entrusted us with responsibility in this life. He has given each of us gifts, be they abilities/talents, understanding, or the fruit of the Spirit. It can come in any form and varies from person to person.

Like the Little Drummer Boy, there is something we are tasked with doing. (I am going to reveal a secret to you: no matter what, it includes sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ to increase the Kingdom of God!)

Like the Little Drummer Boy, if we do our something to the best of our ability to give glory to God and make Him happy, God will smile on us.

It does not matter if we are rich or poor, eloquent or a stutterer, well-known or easily over-looked; if our goal is to play our part for His pleasure, we will one day hear our Lord say “Well done, good and faithful servant.”