Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Hopes and Fears of All the Years...

"And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds."~(Luke 2:16-18)

Phillips Brooks, Rector of Philadelphia, wrote the words to O Little Town of Bethlehem in 1868, following a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was inspired by the view of Bethlehem from the hills of Palestine especially at night time; hence the lyrics.

His church organist, Lewis Redner, wrote the melody for the Sunday school children's choir.

There is a line from in the first verse that almost gets lost in the bigger picture of the song. "The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight."

Hopes and Fears represent the polar ends of a wide range of feelings.

As we gaze back into that historic moment laid out before us in the Gospels, there we see a most remarkable assortment of figures gathering round about this infant boy. And unknowingly they unite to send a singular message down through the Ages.

We can come together in the presence of Christ.

This is the message of Christmas — kings and shepherds, angels and men, rich and poor, foreigner and citizen, influential and powerless — all ALIKE in one unforgettable moment of Community in the presence of the infant Christ.

Now consider — if the Babe in the Manger or bed was with such compelling influence that He could bring together those who otherwise would have nothing to do with one another, how much more so is this possible now that He is crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

The hopes and fears of all the years were once gathered and resolved in a sacred evening long ago. O Lord, do it again in our world today — for night has fallen upon us, and we need Your light to show us the way.

May the full blessings of that first Christmas be yours on this blessed day, and everyday hereafter through the remaining days of your journey!

Merry Christmas!

Culled from Daily Devotions by James Ryle

Monday, December 19, 2011

Away in a Manger?

"Away in a Manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head; the stars in the sky looked down where He lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay. The cattle are lowing the baby awakes, the little Lord Jesus no crying He makes....oh, well, you know how it goes.

There is something here that is soft, safe and sweet – the Baby Jesus. Something serene, composed, and peaceful. It's enough to make us say, "Oh, isn't that precious.”

But He is more than this. The angels said to the shepherds, "Unto you is born this day in the house of David, a Savior — who is Christ the Lord." The Baby became a Man; the Man is both Lord and Christ.

Is it possible some may prefer to keep Him away, rather than near; in a manger, rather than on a throne?

Some people say Christmas is for children, and there is a lot of truth in that. But Christ is for all ages. And while we may delight in the innocence with which our kids sing the sweet chorus, "Away in a Manger" — let's make sure that that is not where we leave Him.

~James Ryle

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Is Marriage Getting Obsolete?