Friday, December 9, 2011

I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day


We are joyously singing Christmas carols again this year. My ipod is chocked full of music and I keep it playing all day long. It has occured to me this year that God has protected the theology throughout the generations in these most beloved hymns. Delight your heart for a moment on some of these you're sure to recognize.
"Joy to the world, the Lord is come!"
"Yea Lord, we greet Thee. Born this happy morning!"
"O Come to us, Abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel."
"Thou didst leave Thy throne, and Thy kingly crown, when Thou camest to earth for me."
"Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing."
"Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see."
"Pleased as man, with men to dwell. Jesus, our Emmanuel!"

My favorite carol is "I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day". It was originally a poem with 7 stanzas bemoaning his sadness at the state of the world. America was in the midst of Civil War. Longfellow's wife Fanny had tragically died in a fire, and he felt no peace at Christmas. Of course, the best is usually the last. Don't miss the significant last stanza which places all hope in God's Sovereign control. Hallellujah!

"Christmas Bells"
(The original poem, complete with all seven stanzas)

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

In Memory

Mandy the Beloved Alaskan Husky

We just lost a little bit of our hearts with the loss of Joseph's dog Mandy May.
Mandy's Motto for Life: Play Hard, Eat Hardy, Love Everyone, When No One Is Looking Chew It Up, Go After All Animals...Especially Skunks, Run Like The Wind...

Friday, December 2, 2011

God in a Manger

As the season progresses, may we consider the life changing truth of God coming down to earth to be born, live, die, and resurrect. Oh that my heart would be joyful as I contemplate his birth. The birth of Jesus...had to happen because of an ugly thing. Sin.

“In other words, He has blessed the world...the world of sinful men with His kindness and His favor. It is God who has provided all the food the sinner eats. Every delicacy, every taste you enjoy, every beautiful scene you've ever seen, every good feeling you've ever felt God gave you that. It is God who has granted every beauty, it is God who has given wisdom to our minds, coordination to our bodies, to allow us to think and to feel and to work and to play and to rest that life might be full and useful. It is God who made love. It is God who made laughter. It is God, of course, who gives us joys in life, little children, friends. It is God who gives each man the special skill, each woman the special ability that makes him and her who they are and no one else. And by which they excel in some very special way and thus no self-respect and self-worth. It is God who made man to have a basic care for himself and each other so that life is filled with those kinds of good things that we all enjoy. It is God who preserves us from getting every disease and dying every death. God literally surrounds the ungrateful sinner with His providential care and when we continue in sin, we defy that goodness and we express ingratitude for that kindness.” John MacArthur 1984