Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

Yes, it’s Hogmanay, or new year’s eve, and it’s at this time of year  we look back over the year that is about to end, and also look forward to a brand new year. We look back at the past year of highs and lows, commit them to the past, and move forward into a brand new year, promising to make a new start, making changes in our lives to make a better future for ourselves.

This got me thinking about how this is almost what we do when we accept Christ as our Saviour and friend – We give all our past failures and sins to Him, and as we look forward to a life with Christ, we ask Him to be at the centre of all we do by letting Him not our hearts.

So this year as you look back over your life in 2017, consider whether there have been parts of it that you kept from God. If so, make a commitment to God today to let Him be at the centre of your life from now on. Let’s make 2018 the year we truly give our all to Christ.

On Monday we celebrated the birth of Jesus. That was such great news over 2000 years ago when Jesus was born, but is it still good news today in 2017?

Most of us will have celebrated Christmas is some way over these last few weeks, whether it was spending Christmas Day with your family, going out to an office party, giving or receiving gifts, carolling or attending a church carol service, going for lunch with your work colleagues. But on Christmas Day, did you take some time to celebrate the good news that Christ is alive?

Good news, great joy for all
Melody breaks through the silence
Christ, the Saviour is born!

When a child is born, it’s the beginning of a new life, both for the child itself and also for its parents as they adapt to their new family life. But just as the knowledge and belief that Christ was born on Christmas day can allow us to find new life in Him, it can also let us start a new life, be born again, any time.

So this Christmas, as we look forward to the future and next year, why not give your heart to Him today and be born again.

O Come Be Born Again by Jennifer Martin

Baby born in Bethlehem
Come be born in me again
Since You don’t mind dirty stables
Here’s my heart not fit or able
To receive such majesty
Still, You humbly come to me

Chosen One who chose to be
Suff’ring Savior, Servant King
Since You don’t despise the broken
Here’s my life laid bare and open
To receive Your mercy
As Your Spirit calls to me

All who struggle, all who sin
Come and become born again
Come and lay your heavy burdens
At the cross where all’s forgiven
At His feet new life begins
Come, O sinner, enter in

Last Sunday in our morning worship our songsters (choir) sang a Christmas song which I hadn’t heard before. Both the music and the words really touched me as together they combined the beauty of the nativity, the promised arrival of the Son of God, and the awesome feeling we get when we experience Christ in our lives.

Please listen to this beautiful song and experience the awesomeness of Christmas once again. I hope you are blessed by the words and music.

Christmas Sanctus

See the weary pair,
nestled in a stable bare,
gazing at their baby boy,
filled with love and praise.

Earth and heaven sing,
worshipping the new born King,
who has come to change the world.
Join in songs of praise:

Holy, holy, holy is the blessed one.
Heav’n and earth are filled with your glory.
Holy, holy, holy is the promised Son.
Glory be to God in the highest!

See the shepherds run,
searching for God’s precious Son;
kneeling at his manger bed,
filled with love and praise.

Ev’ry knee will bow.
Ev’ry tongue confessing now,
Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
Join in songs of praise:

Holy, holy, holy is the blessed one,
Heav’n and earth are filled with your glory.
Holy, holy, holy is the promised Son.
Glory be to God in the highest!

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord

How are you? Have you survived your Christmas Day?

Have a look around you, is there wrapping paper everywhere, toys scattered over the house, a pile of dirty dishes stacked in the sink and the bin full to overflowing?

Yes, in the excitement and busyness of Christmas Day, we can often discard things with the intention of clearing them up later. We then get up the following day, and wish we’d cleared up the previous night don’t we!

Just because Christmas Day and the celebrations associated with this special day are over, I pray we don’t discard Christ in the same way we discard the leftover wrapping paper and food. Christmas may be the day we celebrate the birth of Christ, but it’s also the day we celebrate the start of Jesus’ life, a life which he later sacrificed for us.

So although Christmas Day is now over, don’t let Christ fall out of your life, because His legacy is not just for you at Christmas, but for all of us throughout the whole year.

If I were to ask you if in your family you have any Christmas traditions you uphold each year, what would your answers be?

  • Spending a day Christmas shopping with your friends or family
  • Putting up the Christmas tree
  • Decorating the house
  • Giving gifts to family and friends
  • Spending quality time with family on Christmas Day
  • Eating turkey and generally  over-eating!
  • Attending a carol service

In our house, we have a tradition of starting our Christmas season by sitting down and watching one of our favourite Christmas films. For the last few years it’s been the same film watched, as it has become my husband’s favourite, and that is the film Elf!

I’m sure if we went round the room we’d find we all consider a lot of different films to be our favourites and that shouldn’t surprise us as there are hundreds to choose from with new films being release each year. Never mind all the classic Christmas films which I’m sure we’ve all watched a few times.

When I was considering about what I’d share with you tonight, I got thinking about what Christmas would have been like if that very first Christmas never happened. And this turned my thoughts to my Mum’s favourite Christmas film, the classic, It’s A Wonderful Life.

James Stewart plays George Bailey who along with his uncle, has inherited the Bailey Brothers’ Building and Loan, saving it from takeover by the banker. He builds affordable housing for local residents, again annoying his local business rival. Then a few years later on Christmas Eve, George’s uncle misplaces the $8000 that was due to be paid to the bank for the building and loan, meaning George knows he will probably go to jail. So on that snowy night he heads out in desperation, uncertain what to do, and gets drunk and into a fight. Wishing he had never been born, he  comes to a bridge and considers committing suicide.

But then, instead of committing suicide he finds himself ‘rescuing’ Clarence Oddbody from the water. We discover Clarence is an angel, and so when George tells him he wishes he’d never been born, Clarence grants his wish to see what the world would have looked like if he never been born.

Through the rest of the film we discover that George’s life has had a significant impact on his family, friends and community, and had he never been born, other people’s lives would have been worse.

So what would life be like if Jesus had never been born? What if the first Christmas never happened? No baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger; No shepherds being told by an angel that Christ had been born; No wise men following a star to a stable to give their gifts to baby Jesus.

I found this quote from Frederick Buechner which describes the impact the birth of Jesus has had on this world:

It is impossible to conceive how different things would have turned out if that birth had not happened whenever, wherever, however it did … for millions of people who have lived since, the birth of Jesus made possible not just a new way of understanding life but a new way of living it. It is a truth that, for twenty centuries, there have been untold numbers of men and women who, in untold numbers of ways, have been so grasped by the child who was born, so caught up in the message he taught and the life he lived, that they have found themselves profoundly changed by their relationship with him.

Have you considered the impact Jesus has had on your life? Would your life have been different is Jesus had not been born?

John 1:1-2 (Living Bible)

Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is himself God. He created everything there is—nothing exists that he didn’t make. Eternal life is in him, and this life gives light to all mankind. His life is the light that shines through the darkness—and the darkness can never extinguish it.

At this time of year it can be so easy to get caught up in our Christmas traditions, and forget why we actually celebrate Christmas. But we need to remember who Christmas is about:

Who is he in yonder stall at whose feet the shepherds fall?

I pray that this year as you celebrate Christmas, you not only continue your Christmas traditions, but you remember the impact Jesus has had on your life, as you celebrate the birth of Jesus:

‘Tis the Lord, O wondrous story!

‘Tis the Lord, the King of glory;

at his feet, we humbly fall,

crown him, crown him Lord of all!

Christmas is a time for family

Christmas is a time for celebrating

Christmas is a time for giving

Christmas is a time for parties

Christmas is a time for loving one another

Christmas is time for Christ

Is Christmas a time for Christ, for you?

I’ve heard a few conversations recently about Christmas, and have been disappointed that just about all these conversations have been about the commercial side of Christmas rather than about Christ. These conversations have been about buying gifts, partying and drinking to excess then suffering hangovers as a result, eating to excess, spending time with family – some complaining about the stress involved with this, time off work, to name a few of the things that were discussed.

What I personally don’t get is why, particularly at this time of year, people want to drink to excess and become so drunk that they can’t remember much, if anything, about their night out, and then feel really ill the next day or two!

no christ no christmasWhere is Christ in all of this, and all these conversations?

Even when someone in the discussion mentioned church or chapel, it was talked about as if it is a chore as going to church/chapel at Christmas is only done out of duty, not because they want to celebrate the reason for the season.

Please don’t get too caught up in partying and presents this Christmas, that you forget that if Christ hadn’t been born, there would be no CHRISTmas!

Last week I read a survey where they asked a number of school children who was the person behind Christmas. If I’m honest I was not only surprised but disappointed in the results as the majority of those asked, said Christmas was all about Santa!

As part of the survey, they also asked the children if they knew who Jesus was. Sadly many of them said they had never heard of Christ.

It’s a said indictment on today’s world when so few children have even heard of Jesus, let alone recognise that He is the reason we celebrate Christmas.

Christmas is not only a time for having fun with our family and friends, giving and receiving gifts, but more importantly it is about the birth of Jesus.

We must remind the world the real reason for the season, otherwise Christ will be taken out of Christmas forever.

A couple of weeks ago I was out with a couple of friends and we got talking Salvation Army Christmas carolling. This in turn brought the conversation onto what our favourite and least favourite carols are.

This got me thinking about the number of times each Christmas we in a Salvation Army band, must play or be requested to play, the same carols over and over again. So much so that I’m sure everyone in an SA band must have specific carols that we hope we don’t need to play over and over again!

For some people though, Christmas carols is the only bit of God they hear or even know about – For example:

  • Silent Night teaches that Mary was a virgin when she became pregnant with Jesus and that jesus is the holy child
  • The shepherd’s came to the stable because The angel of the Lord came down and told them to head to the stable
  • We were told to Come All Ye Faithful because Born This Happy Morning was Christ The Lord

The True Meaning Of Christmas By M.S.Lowndes

Jesus Christ was born this day

So many years before

He came a servant to the lost,

Though he was Lord of Lords

We celebrate this joyous time,

Reflecting on His birth

Not born in a mansion, but a stable

As if He had no worth

He came so He could identify

With the human heart of man

And gave His life as a sacrifice,

Offering a better plan

A plan that reconciles us back

To our loving Father God,

Bringing hope and redemption from

Sins ruling, iron rod

For this is the only reason that we

Should celebrate this day,

To become focused on anything else,

Would take the meaning away

So let’s arise with joy in our hearts

And share it with everyone

The meaning of Christmas will always be

The birth of Jesus – God’s son

Can someone share a prayer with us please.

Are you a ‘real’ Christian or are you just going through the motions?

If you hold back any part of your life from God, you haven’t given Him your all. So give God your all, your hurts, your heartaches, your memories and dreams, your plans and your desires, but most of all, give Him your heart.