Posts Tagged ‘ Christmas ’

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

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!

Prepare Your Heart – Advent Week 2

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

It is now the second week of Advent! (See last week’s devotional thought 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!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:1-14, ESV

It is important for us to remember that God’s people, the Israelites, those who painstakingly preserved the written Word of God and pursued righteousness, failed to recognize Him when he came to them quite literally in the flesh.

Jesus said just three chapters later, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him” (John 4:23). Our culture today is largely spiritually dull, even in many churches.

Ask yourself, “Would I recognize God if He approached me today?” Seek His face in prayer, Bible reading, and the fellowship of believers. Ask God to reveal Himself to you. Too many missed Him the first time around. Seek the living Lord!

Prepare Your Heart – Advent Week 1

Prepare your heart for wisdom over at Proverbial Thought!

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. Continue reading

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!

If you look for Me at Christmas

Bless yourself with some wisdom from Proverbial Thought!

This is just a small break from my favorite Christmas carols as I share this interesting item.

I am not really sure where this came from.

This was e-mailed to me about two years ago, and I saved the picture. I share it with you now.

May we remember this Christmas season, in all of the hustle and bustle, in all of the craziness that life brings (regardless of the season), in all of the things that are wrong in this world, that Christ came into this world as a baby, but He saved this world through His death on the cross. May we remember that He rose to life again, and one day He will return to redeem us!

May we remember that He has not left us alone in the mean time!

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)

If you look for Me at Christmas