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, 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 25 A Thorny Topic

Day 25 A Thorny Topic

“And to Adam he said,

‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,’
‘You shall not eat of it,’
‘cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.’”  (Genesis 3:17)

 Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s one command and so brought His curse upon the world that he had created.  Humanity and all of creation would be altered from this time forward.  But that was not the end of the story.  God had a plan even from the beginning. God says, speaking to Satan,

“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”  (Genesis 3:15)

One would come who was the offspring of woman.  Satan would rise to bruise his heel but in the end the One born would bruise the head of Satan.  This prophecy is of the Savior whose birth we celebrate.  The enemy has been defeated.  The curse is receding.  “No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground.” “Joy to the world! The Lord is come.”  Join your voice with mine in praise to our God.  He has made the way.  Jesus is born!


 Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room

And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing

 Joy to the earth! the Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy

 No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make
His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as the curse is found

 He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders and wonders of His love




DAY 24 Be Still and Know

DAY 24 Be Still and Know

 “’Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!’
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.”  
(Psalm 46:10-11)

At this moment, what we usually need is a little quiet, but more than some alone time, we need some God time.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  We often fail to see God or hear his voice because of our busyness.  Take time on this day before Christmas to quiet yourself before the Lord.  We celebrate our Savior’s birth.  It was “the dawn of redeeming grace.”  Now we live in the glorious light of his redeeming grace.  God promises us that if we do quiet ourselves before him, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  May your life and celebration this Christmas bear witness to the glorious birth of our Redeemer.




Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant, tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

 Silent night, Holy night
Shepherds quake, at the sight
Glories stream from heaven above
Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born.

 Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.



Day 23 On’ry People

Day 23 On’ry People

 “Look among the nations, and see;
wonder and be astounded.
For I am doing a work in your days
that you would not believe if told.”  
(Habakkuk 1:5)

I like this version of the Appalachian carol I Wonder as I Wander.  I think that the passion of the carol is caught in the passion of this rendition.  As we wander through life, we sometimes feel alone.  The sky above is like a cold iron door shut in our face and the earth below is parched and uninviting.  I believe it is in these moments that God can speak to us in the deepest places of our heart if we turn to him and contemplate all that he has done for us.  He came and was born as an infant.  He grew to manhood and preached about the coming Kingdom of God.  He suffered and died for on’ry (ornery) people like you and like me so that we might enter that kingdom.  As you wander through this Christmas season, take time to stop and bask in the wonder of all that God has done for you through the birth of his Son and wonder at what his birth might me for your life.



 I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus my Savior did come for to die
For poor on’ry people like you and like I;
I wonder as I wander out under the sky

If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing
A star in the sky or a bird on the wing
Or all of God’s Angels in heaven to sing
He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King

 Oh, yes! He was the king! Hallelujah!

I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus my Savior did come for to die
For poor on’ry people like you and like I;
I wonder as I wander out under the sky

Day 22 Gloria, Hosanna in Excelsis!

Day 22 Gloria, Hosanna in Excelsis!

 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 
(Luke 2:14)

“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” 

(Mark 11:10)

Some years back, I had the opportunity to be in Munich, Germany at Christmas time.  I remember walking out of the house I was staying in on Christmas morning to the sound of the church bells ringing.  It was a glorious sound to hear.  This is a simple carol calls us to join heaven and earth in praise for our Savior’s birth.  The refrain is “Gloria, Hosanna in exelsis!”

Gloria is Latin glory (to God)

Hosanna is a Hebrew word of praise which means, “I believe.”

In exelsis is a Latin phrase which means, “in the highest.”

So, the phrase is an affirmation of giving glory to God in the highest.

Join with the highest heavens and earth this Christmas by singing, “Gloria, Hosanna in exelsis” for our Savior has come.






 Ding dong merrily on high,
In heav’n the bells are ringing:
Ding dong! verily the sky
Is riv’n with angel singing.
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!

 E’en so here below, below,
Let steeple bells be swungen,
And “Io, io, io!”
By priest and people sungen.
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!

Pray you, dutifully prime
Your matin chime, ye ringers;
May you beautifully rime
Your evetime song, ye singers.
Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!

DAY 21 Non-negotiable

DAY 21 Non-negotiable.

 “And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’

And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.’”  (Luke 1:34-35)

 A non-negotiable of our Christian faith is the conception of Jesus in the womb of the virgin Mary.  His birth was unique.  There was never anything like it before nor will there ever be anything like it again.  He had to be born in this manner.  He was born of the Holy Spirit and of flesh and blood.  The manner in which he was born shows his two natures.  He is both God and man.  If Christ were only Spirit, he could not identify with those he came to save.  If he was only man, he could not be the perfect sacrifice needed for our atonement.  Let us rejoice in him who is the “offspring of a Virgin’s womb.”


 Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies,
With th’angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem.”
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

 Christ by highest heav’n adored,
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

 Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Day 20 The World Hated Him First

DAY 20 The World Hated Him First

 “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.” (Matthew 2:16)

The persecution of Christians around the world is not usually a topic we bring up during the advent season.  We want to have a “holly jolly Christmas” and persecution does not fit into our desire for warm fuzzy feelings.  The fact remains that in many places around the world Christians are persecuted.  Many are forbidden or highly restricted in how they can even celebrate the birth of our Savior.  It is ironic, but it makes sense too, when we stop to think about the birth narrative of Jesus.  King Herod, out of jealously and fear for his own power, attempted to kill Jesus.  Jesus said in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”  Indeed, the world did hate our Savior first and likewise for almost 2,000 has hated and persecuted his followers in many corners of the world.  Take a moment to thank Lord if you live in a place where you have the freedom to live out your faith in Christ.  Also pray for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted through out the world for their faith.  The middle east is one area of the world where Christians are highly persecuted.  Coptic Christians in Egypt are the largest remaining Christian community in the middle east.  The video attached here is a group of Coptic Christians singing a Christmas carol in their language with English subtitles.

Today the virgin gives birth to the Utmost in Essence

And the earth brings the manger closer to the Unapproachable One

Angels along with shepherds glorify

And the Magi with the star transverse the path

Because for our sake a Son was born

Lord Everlasting

The virgin birth

And spiritual contractions

Are amazing wonders

Like prophetic news

Day 19 Paradox

Day 19  Paradox

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” (Acts 17:24-25)

One of the paradoxes of the incarnation is this, how can the God who created all things step into his creation?  “Heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain.”  Yet that is exactly what happen. The Creator set aside his glory and was born into the world he had created.  Him whom “cherubim worshiped day and night” was satisfied with a “breast full of milk and a manger full of hay.”  God does not dwell in temples man by the hands of man, so how can he dwell in the human heart.  He is the Creator of you and me.  He created the human heart as a dwelling place for himself.  What gift will suffice this amazing God.  The only gift he desires is that I “give my heart” to him.  Lord Jesus, I give my heart to you.


 In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breast full of milk,
And a manger full of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man
I would do my part;
Yet what I can, I give Him –
Give my heart.


DAY 18 Let His Reign Begin

DAY 18 Let His Reign Begin

 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:14-16)

“Born to reign in us forever” This Christmas, let Christ begin to reign over the dominion of your heart.  When He is rightly seated on the throne of our heart, our lives are showered with his peace.  His peace which “passes all understanding.”  When Christians face the onslaught of the materialistic hijacking of Christmas, the chorus is sung, “Let’s put Christ back into Christmas.”  But I say, “Let’s save him from Christmas and place him on the throne of our heart.”  For this is the place he desires to be.


 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 17 Still Pining

DAY 17 Still Pining

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  (Romans 8:18-23)

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ‘till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.”  Sometimes we forget.  The very world was cursed when Adam and Eve chose to disobey the single command of God and the world still waits for its final redemption in the New Heavens and the New Earth.  But the soul felt its worth as, through Christ, it turned back to the God it had long since reject.  Through His Spirit we experience the first fruits of our redemption which will be completed when upon his second advent he transforms our mortal bodies into immortal ones.

O Holy Night

 O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;

Fall on your knees, O hear the angels voices!

O night divine! O night when Christ was born.

O night, O holy night, O night divine.

 Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming;
With glowing hearts by his cradle we stand:
So, led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land,
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our friend;

Fall on your knees, O hear the angels voices!

O night divine! O night when Christ was born.

O night, O holy night, O night divine.

 Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease,
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise his Holy name!

Christ is the Lord, O praise His name forever!

O night divine! O night when Christ was born.

O night, O holy night, O night divine.