Day 7: Peace on Earth

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” (Luke 2:13-14)

“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” remains one of my favorite Christmas songs.  It holds no nostalgia for me though because I was well into adulthood before I met this song.  It was written in America at a time when our country was being torn apart by hatred.  It seemed to the poet that the message of peace brought by Christ’s birth was mocked by the strong hatred which marched through the land.  In our day hatred again seems to be winning the day.  Never in human history have we been more divided.   Hate is like brazen harlot in the face of mankind mocking the message of peace.  But “God is not dead nor doth he sleep.  The wrong shall fail, the right prevail.  With peace on earth, good will to man.”  The days of hate are numbered.  The peace of Christ will win the day.  First his peace must reign in the heart of man before it can reign in the world that we live in.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of peace on earth good will to men

And the bells are ringing
Like a choir they’re singing
In my heart I hear them
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

But the bells are ringing
Like a choir singing
Does anybody hear them?
Peace on earth, good will to men

Then rang 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

Then 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

And the bells they’re ringing
Like a choir they’re singing
And with our hearts we’ll hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men

Do you hear the bells they’re ringing?
The like the angels singing
Open up your heart and hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men

Peace on earth, Peace on earth
Peace on earth, Good will to men

Day 6: I am the Light of the World

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:12)

It was fitting that one of the heralds of the birth of Jesus was a radiant star in the night’s sky.  For Jesus Christ is the light of the world.  The fallen world we live in is darkened by sin.  Left to ourselves, we stumble about in the darkness.  The light of the world has appeared and dispels the darkness.  We rejoice in the light for we no longer walk in darkness.  “Listen to what I say!  He will bring us goodness and light.”

DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?

Said the night wind to the little lamb,
“Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite,
With a tail as big as a kite.”

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy,
“Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy,
Do you hear what I hear?
A song, a song high above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea,
With a voice as big as the sea.”

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
“Do you know what I know?
In your palace warm, mighty king,
Do you know what I know?
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold–
Let us bring him silver and gold,
Let us bring him silver and gold.

“Said the king to the people everywhere,
“Listen to what I say!
Pray for peace, people, everywhere,
Listen to what I say!
The Child, the Child sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light,
He will bring us goodness and light.

Day 5: The Great I AM

“And Mary said, ‘How will this be since I am a virgin?’”  (Luke 1:34)

“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’  And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:38)

“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’” (John 8:58)

I like the modern Christmas song, “Mary Did You Know.”  For me it captures the profundity of the Christmas story which is lost many times in our yearly Christmas traditions.  Phrases like, “This child that you’ve delivered will soon deliver you,” “And when you kiss your little baby you’ve kissed the face of God,” and “This sleeping child you’re holding is the Great I AM,” begin to touch on the depths of what happen in the incarnation of Christ.  Jesus was no ordinary child.   He is the Great I AM!  Mary’s story reminds me that we do not have to understand “Why” or “How” to be used by the Living God.  We must only be his willing vessel in the hands of our Master.

MARY DID YOU KNOW

Mary did you know
That your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know
That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
That your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered
Will soon deliver you

Mary did you know
That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know
That your baby boy will calm a storm with His hand?
Did you know
That your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby
You’ve kissed the face of God

The blind will see
The deaf will hear
And the dead will live again
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb


Mary did you know
That your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know
That your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know
That your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding
Is the Great I Am

Day 4: Mighty Redeemer

“God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”  (Acts 5:31)

This is an English carol that is set to the old Gaelic tune known as Bunessan.  The tune is probably more familiar to you from the hymn, “Morning has Broken.”

The second verse recall Christ first advent as “Once the most holy Child of salvation gently and lowly.” But “Now as our glorious Mighty Redeemer, see him victorious over each foe.” He came in humility.  He died in shame.  He was raised victoriously.  Now he reigns in glory.  Upon his second advent he will be revealed not as a lowly child but as our Mighty Redeemer in all power and majesty.  As we celebrate your first advent, Lord Jesus, we expectantly wait for your second.

CHILD IN THE MANGER

Child in the manger, infant of Mary
Outcast and stranger, Lord of us all
Child who inherits all our transgressions
All our demerits upon Him fall

Once the most holy Child of salvation
Gently and lowly lived low
Now as our glorious Mighty Redeemer
See Him victorious over each foe

Prophets foretold Him, infant of wonder
Angels behold Him on His throne
Worthy our Savior of all their praises
Happy forever are His own
Worthy our Savior of all their praises
Happy forever are His own

Day 3: Where Meek Souls Will Receive Him Still

“Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21)

The problems of the world we live in are abundantly visible to all who have eyes to see.  But the solution to those problems are often elusive.  It seems to simple of an answer to say that Christ is the solution.  It may be simple, but it is not simplistic.   We compound the problems in ourselves and in the world when we seek a solution outside of Christ.  We must forsake our pride and humbly accept the word planted in us.  That word is both his written word and Christ himself who is the Word of God.  “Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.”

O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep,
The silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous Gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sins and enter in,
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell:
Oh, come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!

Day 2: Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love cast out fear.  For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18)

2020 has been the year of fear for countless individuals.  Much of this fear has been heaped upon us by fear mongers.  God does not simply love.  He is love.  Perfect Love entered into the world He had created over 2,000 years ago.  On that day, the icy grip of fear which held fast the heart of man began to melt.  A new day dawned.  A day guide by assurance rather than tyrannized by fear.  “Come, Thou long expected Jesus.”  “Let us find our rest in Thee.” 

COME, THOU LONG EXPECTED JESUS

Come, Thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

DAY 1 What Child is this

DAY 1

What Child is this?

“And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’”

(Mark 4:41)

This Advent season, the age-old question must be asked and answered again.  “What child is this?”  Is he just the babe, the son of Mary?  Or is there more to this child? The heart of this carol is found in the second verse which has been expunged from many modern renditions of this old favorite.  This child was born to die.  His cradle was overshadowed by the cross.  “Nails, spear shall pierce Him through.  The cross he borne for me, for you.” When this greatest of questions is answered, it brings new life and joy, not simply for a season of time but rather for all of our life.

WHAT CHILD IS THIS

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross he borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.