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PROCLAIMING CHRIST’S BIRTH — Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

Hark! the herald angels sing,                                                                                                           “Glory to the newborn King;                                                                                                            Peace on earth and mercy mild,                                                                                                        God and sinners reconciled!”                                                                                                              Joyful all ye nations rise,                                                                                                                      Join the triumph of the skies;                                                                                                        With th’angelic host proclaim,                                                                                                          “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”                                                                                                            Hark! the herald angels sing,                                                                                                                “Glory to the newborn King.”

Christ by highest heaven adored,                                                                                                        Christ the everlasting Lord;                                                                                                                  In the manger born a king,                                                                                                                  While adoring angels sing,                                                                                                                    “Peace on earth, to men goodwill;”                                                                                                    Bid the trembling soul be still,                                                                                                            Christ on earth has come to dwell,                                                                                                      Jesus, our Immanuel!                                                                                                                            Hark! the herald angels sing,                                                                                                              “Glory to the newborn King.”

Hail! the heaven-born Prince of Peace!                                                                                              Hail! the Sun of Righteousness!                                                                                                          Life and light to all He brings,                                                                                                              Risen with healing in His wings.                                                                                                          Mild He lays His glory by,                                                                                                                      Born that man no more may die,                                                                                                        Born to raise the sons of earth,                                                                                                            Born to give them second birth.                                                                                                          Hark!  the herald angels sing,                                                                                                              “Glory to the newborn King.”

Lyrics from Luke 2:14 and                                                                                                                    Charles Wesley, 1739

 

 

A CHRISTMAS GIFT

Jesus was born to save the world

He left His Kingly throne in heaven

Was born of a virgin in Bethlehem

Angelic beings announced His birth

While shepherds tarried

To worship the Prince of Peace

God’s people slept

Heeding none of the signs

Recorded in Scripture

Held clearly in sight

Those filled with the Spirit

Anticipating a Savior

Knew Him on sight

In the temple

Simeon saw the glorious salvation

God has prepared in Christ Jesus

Anna, a prophetess, bore witness to Christ

To those in Jerusalem seeking redemption

Today we prepare to receive the Christ Child

His presence, a gift

From an all loving God

Accept Him

Embrace Him

Let love for Him blossom

Till the world seems dim

And you want only to share Him

For heaven awaits

When He comes again

As Conqueror and King

To take His own home

WINTER READS

It’s the doldrums of an Arctic-like winter here in Wisconsin this week in January. Time for me to curl up with a good book. What do I like to read? Well, suspense holds my interest the best, science fiction is a new, attractive genre for me, and non-fiction of any kind feeds my mind’s thirst for knowledge.

The book I chose today is the Bible. I somehow neglect it at times but am always drawn back to it. Why? It contains knowledge, wisdom, and guidance far above human writers’ abilities to create on their own. The Bible is God-inspired and contains truth for all humanity throughout the ages. But the Bible is not entertaining, you may counter. Actually, the Bible is chalked full of heroes and heroines whose lives are recorded not only for our spiritual development, but to show their colorful lives, linking them to our own human tendencies, thereby showing relevance to us. Look at King David’s adultery with Bathsheba and the ensuing events. The whole story reads like a soap opera. Maybe we should turn off our TVs and open the Bible for something better than entertainment — enrichment. David’s life is recorded in 1 Samuel 16 through 1 Kings 2.

Many people I’ve spoken with see nothing relevant to our lives recorded in the Old Testament. They see only the Jews whose customs are distinctly different from our own. Since God does not change, His character recorded in His handling of the Israelites in the Old Testament is the same character He has today. Knowledge of God’s character displaying mercy, justice, love, compassion, abhorrence of sin, among other attributes, is integral to our being able to come to God without fear and to abide in Christ. That trusting, loving bond with Christ is our ticket to eternity with Him. There is no other way.

Do you have thoughts on a character in the Bible you’d like to share with others? Perhaps reading about that Biblical person has affected your life in some way. Feel free to comment.

THE GIFT OF JESUS

My hollow heart extended no love
until it was filled with the Lord above.
Christ came to me one Christmas season–
a gift from a friend who had a reason.

A reason to rejoice in the baby Jesus
who’d been loved by some
But sent for all,
To become our Savior afterall.

My mind was set on fame, you see,
A quest that would have surely destroyed me.
But a friend reached out,
Showing me Christ.
And baby Jesus came to stay,
In my heart one Christmas day.

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