The Christmas Blessing – Book Review

Is there something special you do that until you’ve done it the Christmas Season isn’t quite what you need it to be?  Perhaps a movie that you watch? A kind of cookie you bake? A special ornament on the tree? I just finished reading a book that is going to be on my Christmas list for years to come.

The Christmas Blessing wraps its arms around you and draws you into a world that has snowy sprinkles all over it. It grabs your attention and gives all the awesome emotions that are present at Christmas.  The setting is World War 2.  The mores and morals of that era are really evident in this story.  It’s a story of life decisions, sometimes good, sometimes not so good.  It’s a story of relationships, friendships, and family.  To tell you more would be to give away the story.  BTW – it would make a great movie.

 

I highly recommend this book.  It’s a great read!!!

(See FTC disclosure at the bottom right.)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

Red and Green

The Holly and the Ivy - Olde English Carole

The Holly and the Ivy – Olde English Carole

It is not entirely happenstance that Red and Green are the colors of Christmas. They are often mentioned in the Bible.  Red is often used to refer to blood and can be interpreted as both life and death (i.e., Jesus blood gives life, Leviticus 17:14 tells us the life of a creature is in the blood).

Red is often used to refer to blood and can be interpreted as both life and death (i.e., Jesus blood gives life, Leviticus 17:14 tells us the life of a creature is in the blood).

Red and scarlet most often symbolize sin.  For instance, check out Isaiah 1:18 and Joshua 2:18. Notice that in both of these scriptures the use of red also points to grace.  In Isaiah sin will be washed whiter than snow and in Joshua the red cord keeps Rahab and her family safe, forgiven of her sin.  Exodus 12:7 tells us that God told the Israelites to spread the blood of a lamb on the doorpost so that when the Angel of Death came by they would safe.

In the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, the blood was a large part of the ceremony.  Offering the blood of the animal stood in the place of the sins of the person.  This was a temporary solution to the sin problem.  Jesus’ blood (life) was required for the final sacrifice.  At that point in time, the sacrificial system was no longer needed.  Red now is a symbol for life through the blood of the Lamb.

Green often describes life and rest.  Psalm 23:2  tells us He gives us rest in green pastures.   Psalm 52:8 says, “But I am like a green olive-tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever.”

Green trees often refer to nations. “And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish; I, the LORD, have spoken and have done it.” Ezek 17:24.  All nations and peoples will recognize God.

A green tree is also used in Jeremiah 17:8 to describe a righteous man.  “For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, that spreads out roots by the river, and is withered by heat or draught.” 

Green as it is first used in Genesis, is the Hebrew word ‘yer eq’ and is used in verse 30.  God is telling us that He provides all that we need for life by giving us the food we need.

As you ponder these words in your heart I wish you love, joy, and peace during this beautiful, meaningful season.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

 

 

Everything I Need To Know About Christmas

Christmas1This is what I think is most important about celebrating this Season.  If you would like to add please comment below.

Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.  Matthew 2:14

My prayer for you:

Heavenly Father, help us keep Jesus as the focus this Season.  Let us keep others in our minds and hearts, forgetting ourselves and giving our best.  Bless us with the inner peace of the knowledge that Jesus is, was and will be.  Make it so Lord!

In Dolce Jubilo

 I love the sound, the feel, the smoothness of ancient songs.  Good Christian Men Rejoice appears in a manuscript housed in Leipsic, Germany c. 1400.  From that time on many of the early composers, Buxtehude and Bach included, used the tune in organ and vocal music settings.  The Latin words were interspersed with German to create the song we know today.  In my most recent arrangement the words are still interspersed with English of course.

In Dolce Jubilo

There is an interesting story about how this Carol came to be…

“Now this same angel came up to the Servant (Suso) brightly, and said that God had sent him down to him, to bring him heavenly joys amid his sufferings; adding that he must cast off all his sorrows from his mind and bear them company, and that he must also dance with them in heavenly fashion. Then they drew the Servant by the hand into the dance, and the youth began a joyous song about the infant Jesus…”

www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/Notes_On_Carols/in_dulci_jubilo.htm. Retrieved 24 July 2008. (Click for more information on the carol)

And so we have Good Christian Men Rejoice/In Dolce Jubilo. (Click and sing along.)

Good Christian Men Rejoice, with heart and soul and voice! Give ye heed to what we say: Jesus Christ is born today.  Man and beast before Him bow, and He is in the manger now: Christ is born today, Christ is born today!

Give ye heed…in other words – Look up and listen, this is important.  Christ is born today!  Have we become so used to these words that  we don’t hear them or perhaps even take them for granted?  Every one bowed to worship Him them,  is still paying homage, and Revelation 15:4 tells us all people and nations will continue to do so into eternity.

Good Christian men, rejoice with heart and soul and voice!  Now ye hear of endless bliss; Jesus Christ was bon for this.  He has opened heaven’s door, and man is blest forevermore.  Christ was born for this, Christ was born for this.

Endless bliss?  Christ was born for this?  Without Christ we would have no hope, no eternity, nothing.  Praise God that the temple drape was torn so everyone could enter heaven’s door into the Holy of Holies and spend eternity with the Only One who really matters.

Good christian men, rejoice with heart and soul and voice!  Now ye need not fear the grave; Jesus Christ was born to save;  Calls you one and calls you all, to gain His everlasting hall.  Christ was born to save, Christ was born to save!

Have you felt the calling?  The something is missing feeling?  It seems to me the calling is strongest at Christmas.  I often feel this sense of longing, of restlessness, of what is missing… I know where it’s coming from, a stirring deep within to connect with my One and Only.  Even though only God knows when I say…Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Heavenly Father, You gave the Son, He gave the Spirit…what more could I need or want.  The Gift is more precious to me than life itself.  There’s a stirring deep within me that can only be You. Thank You!

12 Days of Christmas

During my years as an Elementary Music Specialist I discovered that children really like to sing songs that add content to each verse.  Of course at Christmas they especially liked to sing the 12 Days of Christmas.  (This is my favorite recording of this Carol.  Enjoy by clicking on the link.) Little did the students  realize the meaning of those 12 objects is rooted in Christian History.

Catholicism was outlawed in England from 1558 to 1829.  During this period of time those who wanted to learn of their faith gave meaning to each object in the song by attaching it to a Christian precept.  Whether there is truth to this story or not it does present a unique way to attach a secular song to basic Christianity.

  • Two Turtle Doves – The Old and New Testaments
  • Three French Hens – The three virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity
  • Four Calling/Collie Birds – Four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
  • Five Golden Rings – First five books of the Old Testament
  • Six Geese-a-Laying – Six days of creation before God’s rest on the seventh day
  • Seven Swans-a-Swimming – Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • Eight Maids-a-Milking – Eight Beatitudes
  • Nine Ladies Dancing – Nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
  • Ten Lords-a-Leaping – Ten Commandments
  • Eleven Pipers Piping – Eleven faithful disciples
  • Twelve Drummers Drumming –Twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed     (source BBC.com)

I am including the words to the Apostles’ Creed because they so resonate in my heart, having been raised in the Lutheran Church and Tradition.  (When I married Ray, a member of the Church of Christ,  my grandmother nearly disowned me.  That all disappeared when she got to know him, his belief in Jesus Christ, and his desire to create a Christian marriage and home.  By the way we are now members of ‘the holy Christian Church’ fellowshipping in the Body of Christ as Southern Baptist’s ) 

As you read through these words make them a prayer of thanksgiving for who He is and what He has done.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,thumbnailCAW5ZPKY

maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day He rose again from the dead.thCAJJS5RQ
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy Christian church,

the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,thumbnailCAG6BOYY
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
This creed was written using selected verses and concepts from the four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Holy Bible.

I Wonder As I Wander

I Wonder As I Wander is one of the most beautiful of all Christmas Hymns.  It was originally published in Songs of the Hill Folk in 1934.  It tells of the longing to understand why Jesus came to earth for each one of us.  The haunting melody speaks of that lonely longing so many Believers experience at this time of year.

John Jacob Niles, who created the melody and penned most of the words based the song on a fragment of a song he had heard while attending an evangelistic meeting in the mountains.  In his own words…

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.                                  Pen, Ron. “I Wonder as I Wander”. A Kentucky Christmas (George Ella Lyon, editor). University Press of Kentucky (2003), p200–201. ISBN 0-8131-2279-1.

I can see the shadows and shapes of the dark Appalachian Mountains as I listen to this beautiful piece of music.  I can almost hear the Heavenly Hosts singing…Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, goodwill toward men!   –Luke 2:14

http://youtu.be/jQqp6hpBpd8

Heavenly Father, during this waiting time, the Advent of Jesus return, keep me mindful that the loneliness I sometimes feel is Your Spirit within waiting to be rejoined with You.  As I anticipate with great joy Your return not as a Baby but as my Redeemer grant me the peace that comes from knowing that You are my One and Only.  Glory be to God in the Highest!

Away In A manger

Away In A Manger is my favorite Christmas Carol.  Although many give the same message this is the one that resonates in my heart.  I have chosen an older melody for this video and love the Celtic Woman version.  Enjoy!

Away in a manger no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid 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, but Little Lord Jesus no crying He makes;  I love Thee Lord Jesus!  Look down from the sky, and stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

Verses 1 & 2 of this song first appeared in a children’s collection in 1885.  It is often attributed to Martin Luther but that is highly unlikely.  The author is unknown.

The third stanza was added by John Thomas McFarland around the turn of the century.  It is this verse that I love the most.  Think on these words:

Be near me, Lord Jesus I ask Thee to stay close by me forever, and love me, I pray;  Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care, and fit us for heaven to live with Thee there.

There is no greater desire in this Believer’s heart than to stay in His ‘tender care’ and when He is finally ready, to live with Him for all eternity.

Heavenly Father, this child is so blessed to know You and give You praise.  Forgive my sins and stay close.  Let me walk through the opportunities of this day with You.  I put all those reading this in Your ‘tender care’.  I lift this prayer before the throne in the precious name of Jesus.  Make it so!

A BIBLE’S DIARY

 

God’s word is God’s guide book for every minute, hour, day, situation, and celebration.

2 Timothy 3:16 says:

 

All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training and righteousness so that the man of God is thoroughly equipped for every good work.

English: The Bible

Psalm 119:105 says:

 

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my

Old lamp

path.

 

Psalm 119:11 says:

 

Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin

English: Cross, anchor, and heart for Faith, H...

against God.

I hope as you read the Bible Diary below that yours is marked up, ragged, used, and loved.  I pray that you are using the Word for more than a table top decoration.

 

A BIBLE’S DIARY

 

JANUARY–a busy time for me.  Most of the family decided to read me through this.  They kept me busy for two weeks.  The have forgotten me now.

 

FEBRUARY–My owner used me for a few minutes last week.  He had an argument and was looking up a reference point to prove his point.

 

MARCH–Grandpa visited us.  He kept me on his lap for an hour as he read 1 Corinthians 13.  I was used a lot by Grandpa.

 

APRIL–I had one busy day.  My owner was appointed leader of some project at church, so he used me.  Got to go to church service for the first time this year…on Easter.

 

MAY–I have a few green stains on my pages.  Some early flowers were pressed in me.

 

JUNE–I look like a scrapbook.  They have me full of clippings from the newspaper.  One of the girls got married.

 

JULY–they put me in a suitcase today.  I guess we are off on a vacation.  I wish I could stay hame because I know I’ll be in this dark thing for the whole time.

 

AUGUST–I’m still in the suitcase.

 

SEPTEMBER–Back home again in my old place.  Have lots of company.  Two romance novels and four comic books are on top of me.  I wish I could get the attention they get.

 

OCTOBER–They used me a little today.  One of them is very sick.  At this moment I’m shined up and on the middle of the coffee table.  The pastor must be coming.

 

NOVEMBER–I’m back in my old place.

 

DECEMBER–They are getting me ready for Christmas.  I’ll be cover with wrapping paper and presents.  Well, I always have the New Year to look forward to.