O God, you have caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the True Light: Grant that we, who have known the mystery of that Light on earth, may also enjoy him perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
I remember hearing the story of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and the writing of his poem, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”. I was reminded of it again as I read an article by Kristen O’Neal on the subject of the poem.
The entire article is well worth your time to read. These last few paragraphs are deeply meaningful to me as I contemplate the world in which we live right now. Personally, it’s been a blessed year. I leave this year deeply thankful. For our world, however, there is a darkness that ever creeps forward.Read more
O behold, the mystery now unfolds
See the star shine on the virgin foretold
Angels sing and light up the sky
Hope rings out in a newborn’s cry
Swing wide, you ancient gates
For Christ is born today!
Prepare Him room
Prepare Him room
Let the King of glory enter in
God with us, the promise has come to be
This, the one the prophets were longing to see
In the darkness a blazing light
To the hungry the words of life
His kingdom now is near
For those with ears to hear
Oh, our hearts, as busy as Bethlehem
Hear Him knock, don’t say there’s no room in the inn
Through the cradle, cross, and grave
See the love of God displayed
Now He’s risen and He reigns
Praise the Name above all names!
Music and words by Rebecca Elliott and Dave Fournier. © 2014 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)/Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).
Listen to this wonderful song HERE.
6 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.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this. (Isa. 9:6-7)
“We can send Christmas cards about love and peace all we want, but the human race is utterly incapable of turning itself around…Read more
Stop gathering around the name of Jesus while ignoring the ways of Jesus.
Remember the poor.
Visit the prisoner.
Feed the hungry.
Clothe the naked.
Welcome the stranger.
Deliver the oppressed.
Serve the least.
And rise for the marginalized.
He waits for us there.
— Carlos A. Rodríguez (@HappySonship) December 18, 2018
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. (1 John 4:9)
The beauty of the Incarnation of Christ sweeps me away in the Scripture reading during Advent. He has come to deal with the enemy. He has come to engage the battle. Christ’s coming set the battlefield. A baby born for battle. And as a result, WE are free.
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.” (Luke 1:68)
A Collect for Peace
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
I love Christmas. The stories. The family. The worship. All of it. It moves me deeply. Read more
As a dad, I watch all these stages of life in our kids. Our youngest just turned 21 and we are all together as a family celbrating Christmas and the coming of our first grandchild. My wife and I are with our three sons, two daughters-in-law, and one awesome grandson. (Have I mentioned I have a grandson yet?)
As a dad I have all these thoughts flow through my mind as I look at each one. I will sit in a corner of the living room at my oldest son’s home holding my new grandson and listen to the conversation going around the table a few feet away. A flood of memories come through as I remember holding each one as an infant. Remembering ball games and plays… times at church… vacations together… the highs and the lows.
As a dad I have a flood of thoughts remembering how badly I did things as a dad. So many times when my temper was too much or my focus was in the wrong direction… And how God graciously brought me back and the goodness of God overcame the faults in my life and there is joy around that table that evening as I sit holding my grandson. God’s grace overcame my bad parenting flaws to produce three amazing sons who love Jesus, two daughters-in-law who are the best to me, who also love Jesus, along with a godly wife carrying us all… and I am so thankful.
As a dad I have all these thoughts flood through me in what seems to be seconds… and then, when I finally the get the chance to actually say something to each of them, it comes out in about three words or less!
“I love you.”
“I’m proud of you.”
Words that formulated in my mind… words I might be able to craft on a page… good grief! I can formulate a SERMON!… but when I get the chance to say something directly to my kids… I choke up. I am overwhelmed. Tears come easily. And all I can choke out is, “I love you.”
As a dad, I live my life praying they all know how much I deeply love them, how proud I am of them, and how thankful I am to God for the beautiful results that came in spite of a very flawed man trying to lead them.
A few years back I mentioned to a friend that with my two youngest boys getting ready to graduate high school I would probably spend the next five years just crying all the time because I was so proud. My friend said, “Only five years? Try the rest of your life.” She was right.
As a dad, I sit back and reflect on the goodness of God in the lives of these “kids”, tears come readily, and all I can breathe out is, “Thank you, Jesus.”
Great is his faithfulness. Even if I can’t say more than three words at a time.