Posts Tagged ‘ Christmas Carol ’

Preparing Your Heart – Fourth Week of Advent – Holy Christmas

It is time to finish up the series that first ran three years ago!

__________

It is now the fourth week of Advent! (See the last three weeks’ devotional thoughts herehere, 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!

There is a slight twist today in presentation as well as seeing as it is Christmas Eve!

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

At first we are reminded that sometimes life is going well.
Then we are reminded that sometimes life is hard.

Life seems perfect and flawless.
Or we are dealing with an illness, a tragedy, or the loss of a loved one.

The answer, in any circumstance good or bad, is to fall on our knees and acknowledge that we need a Savior, to seek the God who came to save us from our sin and suffering by coming to us as an infant, the weakest of all things.

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

The Light of the world calls us to Himself, and only the wise heed His call. Only the wise understand that He truly understands all of our hurts and needs and can help us because He has been through it all.
And He deserves our adoration and worship.

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

It is not only our trials and pains which he helps, but He has called us to love all other people.
We not only see our need for salvation from sin and God’s wrath, we see our need for His love to fill our hearts, to treat our friends, enemies, and strangers alike as brothers and sisters, with love and compassion.

And for ever we shall worship Him and declare His awesomeness!

For He has come to save and will come again a final time to fully redeem His own, and that is the full promise of the gospel!

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Revelation 22:20-21, ESV

Prepare Your Heart – Advent Week 4 – Holy Christmas

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

It is now the fourth week of Advent and Christmas Day! (See the last three weeks’ devotional thoughts herehere, 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!

There is a slight twist today in presentation as well as seeing as it is Christmas Day!

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

At first we are reminded that sometimes life is going well.
Then we are reminded that sometimes life is hard.

Life seems perfect and flawless.
Or we are dealing with an illness, a tragedy, or the loss of a loved one.

The answer, in any circumstance good or bad, is to fall on our knees and acknowledge that we need a Savior, to seek the God who came to save us from our sin and suffering by coming to us as an infant, the weakest of all things.

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

The Light of the world calls us to Himself, and only the wise heed His call. Only the wise understand that He truly understands all of our hurts and needs and can help us because He has been through it all.
And He deserves our adoration and worship.

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

It is not only our trials and pains which he helps, but He has called us to love all other people.
We not only see our need for salvation from sin and God’s wrath, we see our need for His love to fill our hearts, to treat our friends, enemies, and strangers alike as brothers and sisters, with love and compassion.

And for ever we shall worship Him and declare His awesomeness!

For He has come to save and will come again a final time to fully redeem His own, and that is the full promise of the gospel!

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Revelation 22:20-21, ESV

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.

Giving Thanks to the King – Jingle Bells and Over the River and Through the Woods

Be wise and give thanks by increasing your wisdom by reading the thoughts at Proverbial Thought!

So far this month we have looked at some of my favorite Christmas carols. However, this being the week of Thanksgiving here, I will take a moment to look at a couple of songs often confused as Christmas carols but in fact are Thanksgiving songs.

Both songs today were written about the same time, the mid-1850’s, and both in the area of Medford, Massachusetts!

First is “Over the River and Through the Woods”, originally written in 1844 as a poem by Lydia Maria Child as “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day”. Here are the original words:

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandfather’s house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow

Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for ’tis Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood—
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose
as over the ground we go.
Over the river, and through the wood—
and straight through the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
it is so hard to wait!
Over the river, and through the wood—
When Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, “O, dear, the children are here,
bring a pie for everyone.”

Over the river, and through the wood—
now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Here is a modern singing for your enjoyment:

Here are some updated lyrics, as well:

Over the river and through the woods
To Grandmother’s house we go.
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
Through white and drifted snow.

Over the river and through the woods,
Oh, how the wind does blow.
It stings the toes and bites the nose
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the woods
To have a full day of play.
Oh, hear the bells ringing ting-a-ling-ling,
For it is Christmas Day.

Over the river and through the woods,
Trot fast my dapple gray;
Spring o’er the ground just like a hound,
For this is Christmas Day.

Over the river and through the woods
And straight through the barnyard gate.
It seems that we go so dreadfully slow;
It is so hard to wait.

Over the river and through the woods,
Now Grandma’s cap I spy.
Hurrah for fun; the pudding’s done;
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie.

Jingle Bells was written around 1850 by James Lord Pierpont as “One Horse Open Sleigh”. It has become one of the most famous Christmas songs in the world!

Dashing through the snow
In a one-horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go
Laughing all the way
Bells on bobtail ring’
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to ride and sing
A sleighing song tonight!

[chorus]
Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way.
Oh! what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh.
Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way;
Oh! what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh

A day or two ago
I thought I’d take a ride
And soon, Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
He got into a drifted bank
And then we got upsot.

[chorus]

A day or two ago
The story I must tel
I went out on the snow
And on my back I fell
A gent was riding b
In a one-horse open sleigh
He laughed as there I sprawling lie
But quickly drove away.

[chorus]

Now the ground is white
Go it while you’re young,
Take the girls tonight
and sing this sleighing song
Just get a bobtailed bay
Two forty as his speed
Hitch him to an open sleigh
And crack! you’ll take the lead.

[chorus]

Why I Enjoy These Songs:

These songs are a reminder to be light-hearted during this season.

At this time of the year we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. And we should admit it, when we are at peace we enjoy life more.

What I like about the lyrics of Jingle Bells is evidenced in the third and fourth verses: the sleigh tips over, and someone laughs at them struggling in the snow before riding off!

Why is that so great?

The final verse brings us full-circle and reminds us to HAVE FUN!

My take on that is that things happen in this life that are out of our control. Our reaction can either be to wallow in our misery or to take things as they come and realize God is in control.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4, NIV

With “Over the River” we are reminded of the importance of loved ones, that we should do what it takes to be with them and bypass distractions to ensure our time with them.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrew 10:24-25, NIV

And of course, may we always remember this:

Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:18b-20, NIV

Sing joyfully! Give thanks to God always!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Giving for the King – Silver Bells

Get over to Proverbial Thought for Chris’s wise commentary on Proverbs 28:9!

This is the third week of my favorite Christmas carols. I started with one of my original favorites, The Little Drummer Boy, and last week I looked at a more recent favorite, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.

This week, I continue with the theme of bells, but it comes from an unlikely place.

Silver Bells

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style.
In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas.
Children laughing, People passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on every street corner you’ll hear.

Chorus:

Silver bells, silver bells
It’s Christmas time in the city.
Ring-a-ling, hear them sing.
Soon it will be Christmas day.

Strings of street lights, even stop lights
Blink a bright red and green
As the shoppers rush home with their treasures.
Hear the snow crunch, see the kids bunch.
This is Santa’s big scene.
And above all this bustle you’ll hear.

(Chorus)

The video above comes from The Lemon Drop Kid, a movie (yes, black and white) from 1951 with Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell. It is a fun little movie about a gambler and crook who decides to go straight.

There is some debate over the actual inspiration of the song, but I prefer to go with the story that it was inspired by the Santa Clauses and Salvation Army people ringing bells for donations.

It reminds me that we are to help others out of our abundance.

Now, it is all well and good to do something for goodness’ sake, but …

The real reason we should help people is out of the love and compassion given to us by our resurrected Lord and Savior.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NIV

Christmas reminds us of this, because God showed His love through the most unlikely of acts.

He was born as a human baby and laid in a feeding trough. The Creator of everything was born into squalor.

And too often we stop with the birth.

Yet the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, reminds us that He came to save us from our sin and rebellion. His birth reminds us that we must be born again. His birth reminds us that we must show the same love and compassion He shows, and we must take that love and compassion to others.

That is why Silver Bells is one of my favorite Christmas songs. Though a secular song through and through, it reminds me that God has given us all a purpose: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)

In truth, this means we care for all people whenever we are able.

Christmas Bells – I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Listen to the wisdom of proverbs at Proverbial Thought!

Last week I shared with you why “The Little Drummer Boy” is one of my favorite Christmas carols, and the one I have enjoyed the longest of my favorites.

This week I look at one of my newer favorites: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”. I fell in love with this song in 2009 when I heard Casting Crowns’ version:

In truth, I had heard the carol when I was much younger, but I had forgotten about it.

For now, you cannot go wrong with Andy Williams singing the song:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!’

This site does a great job of relating how the Bible is associated with this poem turned song.

My Thoughts

This carol relates the work of the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

The great thing about this song is that it tells us that our Lord is greater than our circumstances.

When Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote his poem “Christmas Bells” on December 25, 1864, it was over three years since his wife burned to death in a freak accident in which he was injured trying to save her, and he had recently learned that his oldest son had been shot in back (fortunately surviving his wounds) during a battle in the American Civil War. This man had many reasons to feel sad and angry.

Yet, while he was sitting in his house that cold Christmas morning, he could hear the bells ringing down at the church. It reminded him that our “God is not dead” “nor doth He sleep” and will one day bring about “peace on earth, good will to man”!

Though we may face troubles, heartbreak, and pain, our Lord is able to overcome our situations and give us peace and joy, and One Day He will restore all of Creation including our bodies to perfection!

All we must do is completely trust Him and give all of our worries, pains, heartbreak, joys, dreams, and love to Him.

And He helps us.

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.”