Consider clicking HERE and listening to some beautiful music while reading on… [music is a combination of Dona Nobis Pacem (Give Us Peace) /Auld Lang Syne performed by Chris Botti and Yo-Yo Ma.]
As we finish off 2019 and anticipate 2020 this song combination seems perfect. We remember old times. We seek peace.
How about this for an old-time memory?
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:14
And this for what we seek to do in 2020 and forward?
In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory. ~ Ephesians 1:11-14
Do you create New Year’s resolutions?
If so, in reading the Ephesians verses, what comes to mind that could go on the list to praise God’s glory?
If not, what can go on this week’s “to do” list using the Ephesians verses for inspiration?
Check out a little more about the Scottish history of Auld Lang Syne HERE
Enjoy this last day of 2019, filled with the Spirit!
For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. ~ Isaiah 61:11
Coming off the Christmas season joy of worship and gatherings with friends and family, we sometimes hit a lull. This song – especially coupled with the Isaiah scriptures – shares the Christian message that we have the opportunity for hope, again and again and again.
ACTION: Listen to Brickman’s tune HERE and let the lyrics soak into your soul
“Were it not for a broken organ, there would not have been a Silent Night.” ~ from the book Then Sings My Soul by Robert J. Morgan
Tonight marks the 202nd year that Silent Night will be sung at Christmas Eve services. In 1818, Father Joseph Mohr was struggling with music for a worship service since the organ was not working. It resulted in his writing the words to Silent Night and asking his organist, Franz Gruber, to create a tune for guitar accompaniment.
Of all things, it was the organ repairman who may have contributed to Silent Night’s success on more than just that first Christmas. He spread the score and lyrics in the Austrian region where it came to the attention of the Strasser Family singers (sort of like the Von Trapp Family Singers a century or so later.) They sang it around the region and it gained recognition and ultimately was in print, first in a German-language songbook and ultimately in English and other languages.
May we, like that organist, share the joy of Silent Night, in song and spirit and action.
Enjoy the day – and night – filled with the Spirit!
“I recently read yet another article on the importance of religion for a child’s healthy development. I put the argument this way: Our children are being raised in a society where the dominant “religion” is not the one found in the Bible, but the competitive, consumer culture. This religion produces anxiety because it convinces us to put our trust in ourselves—our accomplishments, status and overall performance. ” ~ Roger Green HERE
As usual, Roger’s blog posting has thought-provoking commentary. With technology increasingly invading lives with social media comparisons, anonymity comments, bullying and more, is it any wonder that anxiousness follows?
POTENTIAL ACTIONS: Are there ways you can stir up yourself or others to actively engage in one or more of these ideas for the younger generations based on Roger’s discussion?
“When we bring our children to Sunday worship and invite them to rely on a God who is with us in spite of our ‘performance,’ we give our children a durable foundation for their lives.”
“When we take them to funerals and tell them that God’s love is stronger than death, we address their fear of mortality.”
“When the church community relentlessly loves them, we remind them of the Good News that their worth is God given.”
PRAYER: Creator – when we begin to feel anxious, stir in us so that we might better know your way for that moment and all our days! Amen.
“In this original anthem from Pepper Choplin, the angelic appearances and reassurances to Zechariah, Mary, and Joseph are musically chronicled in a warm and easy folk-style, that is both endearing and memorable.”
This link connects us to a recording of the 2012 Candlelight Christmas Concert with Grace Baptist Sanctuary Choir and Praise Orchestra sharing the song. Enjoy!
POTENTIAL ACTION: Peruse activity listings in your area to see if there is a carolfest, singing of Messiah or other Christmas concert/performance that you might attend in the week ahead to enjoy musical/spiritual works during this Advent season
Enjoy the day and the Christmas season, filled with the Spirit!
But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” ~ Matthew 1:20-21
Fearless? Faithful? Peaceful? Wow – it’s not clear that anyone in Joseph’s position could be any of those things, especially in those times with very different cultural norms.
Yet the reported actions later in Matthew make it appear that Joseph allayed his fears and was faithful to his marriage promise. How filled with peace he was is likely anyone’s guess, though I’m certain Biblical scholars have opinions <smile>.
Faithfulness is the word Pamela C. Hawkins chooses for this week in her Advent book Prepare the Way. As one exercise she encourages us to write a brief prayer “to help you grow in trust and love of God.” Maybe you’ll want to try out your own?
PRAYER: Emmanuel, strengthen my resolve this season and in the years ahead, that I might be peace-filled, fearless and faithful. Amen
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; ~ Isaiah 35:5-7a
May it be so. Especially with worries of Global Climate Destabilization and so many other world challenges, wouldn’t it be nice to be fearless with this perspective of Isaiah for those suffering (including our earth?)
In Prepare the Way this week, Pamela C. Hawkins focuses thinking on fearlessness. Among many topics, she encourages us to think of when we’ve helped another be fearless and when God has helped us be fearless. When given such reminders, maybe we can be even a little more fearless?
Enjoy the day, filled with the Spirit and renewed sense of fearlessness!
About two centuries ago, James Montgomery penned the words to the song Angels From the Realms of Glory. You can see much more about this song (and its author) HERE. This YouTube link has King’s College Choir of Cambridge singing this song.
The word “Angel” reminds many of us of that famous angel…. Clarence from the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” Here’s the initial meeting of Clarence and George and here’s the wonderful ending, including the lines “Please God, I want to live again” and “Every Time a Bell Rings an Angel Gets His Wings.”
Can you enjoy a little ‘wisdom of Clarence’ from someone in your life? [If you hear a bell ring maybe that person has earned their wings?]
Is there an opportunity today for you to be a little angelic by “listening for” someone who may be a little troubled or discombobulated, the way Clarence listened for George in the movie?
I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story, singing the Christmas songs, and living the Christmas spirit, we can bring joy and happiness and peace to this world. ~ Norman Vincent Peale, pastor and author
During this Advent season, Christian Playbook will be highlighting a variety of Christmas songs. May each bring some of the joy, happiness and peace that Rev. Peale mentions…
Want a song to review and/or sing today? Check the history and commentary of the song Star-Child HERE and listen to an arrangement HERE
Have time today to listen to some Christmas songs? Check out this Youtube site link – no sign up necessary – to listen to some favorite songs
If you have additional songs to suggest, please “comment” below and we’ll consider adding those