Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

…or is it?

We celebrated Christmas Day last Sunday, but what were we actually celebrating? Giving and receiving gifts from family and friends, holidays, time of work?

We probably all enjoyed those things over the last week as we’ve celebrated Christmas, but did we stop to remember Christ in amongst out celebrations?

christmas-presenceChristmas only happens because Christ came to earth over 2000 years ago. However although we celebrate Christ’s birth on Christmas Day, He is looking for us to give our life to Him and then serve Him every day of the year, not just on Christmas Day.

Christ is there for us 365 days a year, so while Christmas Day may be over, don’t forget about Christ until Christmas Day 2017, as He wants you every day!

What better way to describe Christmas night than as a Holy Night. Maybe that’s why O Holy Night is another of my favourite carols, as it simply reminds us of the wonder that is Christmas:

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!

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!

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!

We do live in ‘a weary world’ these days don’t we, so did you ‘fall on your knees’ before God this Christmas, and promise to help tell the world of God’s love in this coming year?

I pray that we can help remind this world that we can share in a ‘new and glorious morn‘ where ‘all oppression shall cease‘ and we ‘love one another‘ if we put our trust in God.

I have a few favourite Christmas Carols, some because of the music, some because of the words and some because of the combination of the music and words.

One carol that I’ve always really liked is In the Bleak Midwinter which I know some have told me is a bit of a strange carol to choose as a favourite as the music seems quite sad and dismal…a bit like the first line of the carol.

For me the sadness of the music was probably what drew me to this carol in the first place, as most carols have a happier sounding tune if not a more lively melody, so this made me look at the words of the carol more closely.

It is the last verse of this carol in particular that I love:

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him: give my heart.

Isn’t that what Christmas and Christ’s life is all about? Have you given Christ your heart this Christmas?

It’s Christmas

Posted: December 27, 2016 in Christmas, life, music, religion
Tags: ,

So we’re now a couple of days after Christmas…has the spirit and excitement of Christmas worn off you yet?

Maybe you’ve received some excellent presents, eaten too much, and celebrated for too long, and so are still catching up on sleep and relaxation? Whether it’s two days, three days or two hundred days since Christmas Day, we really should be celebrating Christmas! Why? Because Christ is our Saviour and as such we worship Him every day, so doesn’t that make Christmas part of every day of the year?

this-is-christmas

This picture really sums up what Christmas is about. I hope you had a lovely Christmas with your family and received lots of lovely gifts, however I hope that in amongst the gifts you took time to remember Christ, and celebrate his birth.

Let’s celebrate His birth and listen to Hallelujah by Darlene Zschech.

He is here
The Savior has been born
The one we’ve waited for
Surrounded by our praises

He is here
The promise of the king
To You our lives we bring
Let your glory be revealed

Joy to the World
Peace to all who love Him
The savior has been born
And all the heavens smile

Glory to God
We bring an offering to You
Join with all the angels
Singing Hallelujah

 

 

Lo, he comes, with clouds descending,
once for our salvation slain;
thousand thousand saints attending
swell the triumph of his train:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Christ the Lord returns to reign.

So Christmas has arrived!

Today we celebrate the triumphant arrival of Christ to earth all those years ago.

The Kingdom Triumphant by Eric Ball celebrates Christ triumphant arrival. The music has three main sections entitled: ‘Vision of Judgment’, ‘Remembrance of the First Advent’ and ‘Vision of the Second Advent’.

So as you celebrate Christmas Day with your family and friends, today, please remember the first advent and that birth of our Lord and Saviour, and look forward to the second advent!

Merry Christmas!

Tomorrow is Christmas, so I hope you’re all organised?

Over the last few weeks I’ve been reminded that over the years I, like many of you, will have heard the Christmas story many times, and many times every year and, if I’m honest, I have probably taken the message of Christmas for granted because of that. So I decided to take a fresh look at Christmas this year, to try to get that feeling of excitement back about all the festivities.

Children are always very excited about Christmas, so I started by looking at what some of them have to say…

In answer to why do we celebrate Christmas, here’s a couple of answers given by children:

  • “I am not really a Christian. I believe in unicorns and pixies.”
  • “We celebrate Christmas because Santa comes and gives us lots and lots of presents.”

When asked who Jesus is:

  • “Jesus was a king and he wore a crown even though he was a baby. It was a really small crown.”
  • “Jesus is really old and his birthday was on Christmas over 2000 years ago.”

What gifts did the wise men bring?

  • “The wise men brought gold, Frankenstein , and myrrh.”
  • “The three wise men brought Jesus presents of gold, frankincense, smurr  and silver. But I think he would have preferred wrestling toys.”

And when asked where Jesus was born, one child gave the following answer:

  • “He was born in a stable a long way away from here in another country. Bethlehem – it’s in England.”

That’s how some excited children have described Christmas, but what about you, what gets you excited about Christmas?

In the busyness of this time of year, in amongst preparing for Christmas, how much time have you spent thinking about the true meaning of Christmas, and the birth of Jesus?

Jesus birth was foretold many years beforehand in Isaiah 7:14 where Isaiah says “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel”.  What an exciting prospect that must have been even then, knowing that the Saviour of the world would be born into this world at some point, as one of us.
We read in Luke about the angel Gabriel visiting Mary to tell her she would give birth to the son of God. Although Mary would have been scared and filled with trepidation about what lay ahead, I’m sure she would also have been excited about the prospect of becoming a mother.

A new child in any family is a magical event, so it’s not surprising we get excited when someone we know is expecting a child. This Christmas in amongst the busyness of the season, I encourage you not to forget about Jesus, but instead get excited about the birth of Jesus again, just as you would if a friend or family member tells you they are expecting a baby.

I came across a poem which reminds us of this.

dont-forget-christmas-is-about-jesus-2Don’t Forget Jesus

Christmas is a special time

To reflect on Jesus Christ,

The wonder of His lowly birth

Brings meaning to our lives

There really is no other reason,

We celebrate this day,

The birth of God’s precious son

And the life, He willingly gave

But so much seems to distract us

In the busyness of our lives,

We lose our focus in all the happenings,

Not knowing, we leave out Christ

 

We lose sight of the true meaning

As we endlessly rush about,

Trying to find that perfect gift,

Seems to cloud our Saviour out

 

We need to stop and reflect awhile,

Remembering our precious Lord,

His birth, His life and sacrifice

And all that He stands for

 

For though the world may celebrate,

It seems, though, for other reasons,

Let’s keep in mind that Jesus Christ

Is the true meaning of the season.

© By M.S.Lowndes

 

As I mentioned earlier I decided to take a fresh look at Christmas this year, so whether this year is the first or the 51st time you’ve heard the Christmas story, I ask you to do the same, and in doing so consider remember the birth of Jesus and Who Is He? to you this Christmas.

Mary and Joseph tried to find somewhere to stay in Bethlehem so Mary could give birth to Jesus, but it was so busy they couldn’t find anywhere to stay. That was, until one of the innkeepers offered them the one place they had left, a stable, where they would need to rest amongst the animals. At least that innkeeper let them in or the Christmas story may have been so different!

Just as the innkeeper let Mary and Joseph in to his stable, so Christ wants us to open our hearts and let Him into our lives. This Christmas let’s remember that Christ is Lord, and the Prince of Peace, so let Him into your life today.

 

What does your Christmas look like?

Lots of parties and nights out?

Spending time with your family?

A chance to help others, by providing gifts for those less fortunate?

A time to celebrate the birth of Christ?

 

I must admit to being disappointed by a number of conversations about Christmas that I’ve heard, as Christ hasn’t been mentioned. More than that, it seems for most, that Christmas is only “good” if, one, “the kids get everything they want for Christmas”, and two, they have a great night out where they get really drunk and can’t remember anything about it the next day.

Yes, it’s nice to be able to give and receive presents, and it’s great to see the joy on a child’s face when they get that gift they really wanted, but is this really what Christmas is about? Is this really what we want others to think this is what Christmas is all about?

It’s also great to “let your hair down” and have a good night out, but is there any need to drink to excess? What’s the point of drinking so much that you can’t remember anything about the night and have a hangover the next day? Personally I don’t get that, as isn’t it better to have a great fun night out that you can remember, rather than a night you can’t remember so have no idea whether it was good or bad?

no christ no christmasSo where is Christ in your Christmas? Is He centre of your festivities, or has He been given a bit part role meaning we attend a Christmas service at church out of habit or duty, just because that’s what we’ve always done at Christmas?

Christ should be the centre of our Christmas celebrations, and He should be at the centre of our every day lives, each day of the year.

Therefore this Christmas, don’t get too caught up in partying and presents that you forget that if it hadn’t been for Christ, we would not have CHRISTmas!

I’m sure we all have one carol which we consider to be our favourite. What is your favourite?

I’m not sure I have a single favourite as there are a few carols which I really like, some because of the music, other just for their words, and then there are those where the marriage of music and words is a perfect match.

This year I’ve been trying to look at Christmas from a new or different perspective, to try to get that excitement back about the magic of Christmas. In doing so I’ve found myself listening to some different versions of some popular carols, some carols I don’t remember hearing before, as well as some I wish I’d never heard!

There are a few carols which many call their favourite, and one of those is Silent Night. So today I’m sharing with you a version of this carol I found by Pentatonix – It’s both beautiful and challenging.