Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Monday, December 30, 2013
"See, we are headed toward great things. Let us take advantage of the little things and we will become great. Do you want to reach the heights of God? Take hold first of the humility of God.
Put on the humility of God. Put on the humility of Christ. Learn to be humble; do not grow proud (Sermon 117, 17)."
"...If you should ask me what are the ways of God, I would tell you that the first is humility, the second is humility , and the third is still humility. Not that there are no other precepts to give, but if humility does not precede all that we do, our efforts are fruitless..."
"Mere human being that you are, why are you proud? God became humble for your sake! Perhaps you would be ashamed to imitate a humble man; then at least imitate a humble God. The Son of God came as a man and became humble.
Your whole humility consists in knowing yourself. Pride does its own will; humility does the will of God (Sermon on John 25, 16)."
"Alas for me, O Lord, how high You are in the heights, and how deep in the depths! Nowhere do You withdraw, yet we scarcely return to You! (Confessions 8, 3)."
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little Child.
He came down to earth from Heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior holy.
And, through all His wondrous childhood,
He would honor and obey,
Love and watch the lowly maiden,
In whose gentle arms He lay:
Christian children all must be
Mild, obedient, good as He.
For He is our childhood’s pattern;
Day by day, like us He grew;
He was little, weak and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew;
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.
And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love,
For that Child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in Heav’n above,
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone.
Not in that poor lowly stable,
With the oxen standing round,
We shall see him; but in heaven,
Set at God’s right hand on high;
When like stars his children crowned,
All in white shall wait around.
~Words: Cecil Alexander & Music: Henry Gauntlett
Friday, December 27, 2013
Rubies in the snow,
Twelve cardinals in my snowy backyard.
You are friends now, companions.
But when the snow melts,
when your colors fade a little,
when it’s nesting time?
I remember two red enemies last spring,
chasing, chasing each other through
my obstacle-course backyard.
Over the fence. Under the maple.
Around the house. Into the alley.
A two-week-long tournament to win this territory.
But when the nesting is done, the babies grown,
when leaves turn the colors of cardinals?
You are friends again,
companions for the lonely winter.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
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.
~Words & Music: Unknown – Traditional English
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
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.
~Words: John Wade & Music: John Wade, John Reading, or Simao Portogallo
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
The immense night of origins,
And nothing exists except love,
Except love which now begins.
By separating sand from water,
God has prepared the earth
Like a cradle
For His coming from above.
This is the night,
The happy night of Palestine,
And nothing exists except the Child,
Except the Child of life divine.
By taking flesh of our flesh,
God our desert did refresh
And made a land
Of boundless spring.”
~From Ancient Christmas Eve Liturgy
Monday, December 23, 2013
Sunday, December 22, 2013
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.
Dear Savior haste;
Come, come to earth,
Dispel the night and show Your face,
And bid us hail the dawn of grace.
~Words: Simon Pellegrin & Music: 16th Century French Carol
Saturday, December 21, 2013
(based on Isaiah 45:8)
“When You were born ineffably of the Virgin, the Scriptures were fulfilled. As dew upon the fleece, You came down to save mankind: we praise You, O our God.”
~from an old prayer
Friday, December 20, 2013
Too happy for a smile,
And plays through one long holiday
With balls to roll and pile;
A painted wind-mill by his side,
Runs like a merry tune,
But the sails are the four great winds of heaven,
And the balls are the sun and moon.
A staring doll's-house shows to him
Green floors and starry rafter,
And many-coloured graven dolls
Live for his lonely laughter.
The dolls have crowns and aureoles,
Helmets and horns and wings,
For they are the saints and seraphim,
The prophets and the kings.
~G. K. Chesterton
Thursday, December 19, 2013
High in the heav'ns a star shone bright,
While in a manger a wee baby lay,
Sweetly asleep on a bed of hay.
Jesus the Lord was that baby so small,
Laid down to sleep in a humble stall;
Then came the star and it stood overhead,
shedding its light 'round His little bed.
Dear baby Jesus, how tiny Thou art,
I'll make a place for Thee in my heart,
And when the stars in the heavens I see,
Ever and always I think of Thee.
~Wihla Hutson & Alfred Burt
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
To blessed Spirits, ‘Come’:
‘Come,’ to the lambs of Thine own flock,
Thy little ones, ‘Come home.’
‘Come,’ from the many-mansioned house
The gracious word is sent;
‘Come,’ from the ivory palaces
Unto the Penitent.
O Lord, restore us deaf and blind,
Unclose our lips though dumb:
Then say to us, ‘I will come with speed,’
And we will answer, ‘Come.’
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
All’s spent in keeping warm.
Has joy been frozen, too?
I blow upon my hands
Stiff from the biting wind.
My heart beats slow, beats slow.
What has become of joy?
If joy’s gone from my heart
Then it is closed to You
Who made it, gave it life.
If I protect myself
I’m hiding, Lord, from you.
How we defend ourselves
In ancient suits of mail!
Protected from the sword,
Shrinking from the wound,
We look for happiness,
Small, safety-seeking, dulled,
Selfish, exclusive, in-turned.
Elusive, evasive, peace comes
Only when it’s not sought.
Help me forget the cold
That grips the grasping world.
Let me stretch out my hands
To purifying fire,
Clutching fingers uncurled.
Look! Here is the melting joy.
My heart beats once again.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Christ, the true, the only Light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise,
Triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high, be near;
Day-star, in my heart appear.
Dark and cheerless is the morn
Unaccompanied by Thee;
Joyless is the day’s return
Till Thy mercy’s beams I see;
Till they inward light impart,
Glad my eyes, and warm my heart.
Visit then this soul of mine,
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
Fill me, Radiancy divine,
Scatter all my unbelief;
More and more Thyself display,
Shining to the perfect day.
~Words: Charles Wesley & Music: Johann Werner
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Friday, December 13, 2013
And the explanation was that a certain being whom people called Santa Claus was benevolently disposed toward me. . . . What we believed was that a certain benevolent agency did give us those toys for nothing. And, as I say, I believe it still. I have merely extended the idea.
...[As a child] I only wondered who put the toys in the stocking; now I wonder who put the stocking by the bed, and the bed in the room, and the room in the house, and the house on the planet, and the great planet in the void.
...Once I thought it delightful and astonishing to find a present so big that it only went halfway into the stocking. Now I am delighted and astonished every morning to find a present so big that it takes two stockings to hold it, and then leaves a great deal outside; it is the large and preposterous present of myself...”
~G. K. Chesterton
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
|(Picture found here)|
They all were looking for a king
To slay their foes and lift them high;
Thou cam’st, a little baby thing
That made a woman cry.
O Son of Man, to right my lot
Naught but Thy presence can avail;
Yet on the road Thy wheels are not,
Nor on the sea Thy sail!
My how or when Thou wilt not heed,
But come down Thine own secret stair,
That Thou may’st answer all my need-
Yea, every bygone prayer.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Monday, December 9, 2013
~John Henry Newman
Sunday, December 8, 2013
And light triumphant breaks;
When beauty gilds the eastern hills,
And life to joy awakes.
Not as of old a little child
To bear, and fight, and die,
But crowned with glory like the sun
That lights the morning sky.
The King shall come when morning dawns,
And earth’s dark night is past;
O haste the rising of that morn,
The day that aye shall last.
And let the endless bliss begin,
By weary saints foretold,
When right shall triumph over wrong,
And truth shall be extolled.
The King shall come when morning dawns,
And light and beauty brings:
Hail, Christ the Lord! Thy people pray,
Come quickly, King of kings.
~Words: Unknown Author (translated from Greek to English by John Brownlie) & Music: William Jones
Thursday, December 5, 2013
|Abraham Journeying Into the Land of Canaan by Gustave Doré - found here|
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on'ry people like you and like I...
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.
When Mary birthed Jesus 'twas in a cow's stall,
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all.
But high from God's heaven a star's light did fall,
And the promise of ages it then did recall.
If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing,
Or all of God's angels in heav'n for to sing,
He surely could have it, 'cause he was the King.
~Written by folklorist and singer John Jacob Niles. The hymn has its origins in a song fragment collected by Niles on July 16, 1933.
Story behind the song:
While in the town of Murphy in Appalachian North Carolina, Niles attended a fundraising meeting held by traveling evangelicals who had been ordered out of town by the police. In his unpublished autobiography, he wrote of hearing the song:
“A girl had stepped out to the edge of the little platform attached to the automobile. She began to sing. Her clothes were unbelievable dirty and ragged, and she, too, was unwashed. Her ash-blond hair hung down in long skeins.... But, best of all, she was beautiful, and in her untutored way, she could sing. She smiled as she sang, smiled rather sadly, and sang only a single line of a song.”
The girl, named Annie Morgan, repeated the fragment seven times in exchange for a quarter per performance, and Niles left with “three lines of verse, a garbled fragment of melodic material—and a magnificent idea”. (In various accounts of this story, Niles hears between one and three lines of the song.) Based on this fragment, Niles composed the version of “I Wonder as I Wander” that is known today, extending the melody to four lines and the lyrics to three stanzas. His composition was completed on October 4, 1933. It was originally published in Songs of the Hill Folk in 1934.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013