Wednesday, December 16, 2009

O Holy Night

O Holy Night Lyrics

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! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
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 he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

The line that really gets me in this song is the part about the soul feeling its worth. How awesome is it that our value is clearly seen by the sacrifice of God or better put the rescue of God. I feel like that whole first stanza does a great job of summing up life and the response to God.
Sometimes at look at the Church and where we are at and my heart falls. How far have we come from love, peace, freedom, thankfulness, forgiveness. I listen to preachers, congregates, media outlets all speaking from the voice of Christianity and it seems like all they want is more. And I don't mean more glory for God.
spend Less, give More, love All, Worship Fully

Monday, December 14, 2009

O come, O come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

This originally grabbed my heart as I was studying Hebrew a few years ago. During that time I began to see, enjoy, love and come to embrace the foundations of Christianity found in The Old Testament. I started to see this New Testament faith through the eyes of the ancient Hebrew faith in a fresh new way, namely a fuller understanding of a Messiah. This song makes me at once stand in awe of the ancient advent we celebrate and long with all my being for the future advent to come. Just read it's robust lyrics. It begins with the hope of returning home from the exile then includes themes of freedom for the oppressed and ends with the rejoicing of light and truth. Its basically the summation of all the promises of the future reign of the King. It is the longing of advent put into words.

Monday, December 07, 2009

I heard the Bells on Christmas Day

This is the first of the song post. This song kills me with its gently reminder that in a dark world all is not lost. That is watching and there will come a time when all wil be made right.

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.

I 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.

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."

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!

I get caught off guard.

During the holiday season I love listening to Christmas music like everyone else. I just turn it on and sing along. As I go about my day doing what ever it is I need to do I find myself singing along in the expectation of a white Christmas and the coming of Santa. I enjoy the childhood memories of Frosty and Rudolph with his glowing nose and dentist elf friend.
But some times I hear a song and it stops me dead in my tracks. Sometimes I hear a song so deep and profound that my heart is moved toward the truths it speaks of God and Jesus. And every once and a while I'm forced to wipe a tear from my eye as the truth of the advent season pierces my heart and for a moment I truly long for the return of the Messiah in a way that is missing from any other time of year. So over the next few weeks my goal is to share some of these songs with you.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I'm so thankful

So I know that this post seems a but late being a week after thanksgiving but I was a little to busy enjoying the holiday to bother writing this. I love Thanksgiving. It might be one of the best holidays I can think of. Every year I'm around seems to bring a little more understanding of the thankfulness to me. Last year because I had the opportunity to be in a place where the idea of Thanksgiving was foreign, I had the chance to really look at it anew. How awesome is a day that is dedicated to enjoying all the good things in life? By that I mean family, food and fun. It a celebration of all the good things. I'm a firm believer in the necessity that ever culture needs a Thanksgiving. Its really hard to explain how truly great the day is when some one has no concept of it. My Czech friend Lucka has inspired me to think that we need to convert the poorly celebrated Velvet Revolution day aka Nov. 17 into just that type of day. What better way to celebrate the down fall of tyranny and oppression that by feasting and enjoying the company of those you love basically the years best party.

This year I was struck by two other thoughts that both have to do with the timing of Thanksgiving. The first is that its a Thursday, the middle of the week. it effectively renders Wednesday and Friday useless on thanksgiving week its like we end up with a five day weekend. How sweet is that in the middle of the work week in this very busy culture we have this holiday that is simple designed to step back take a breath and be thankful for life. Its the much needed time out we deserve to give ourselves. The second thought was how funny and ironic it is that Thanksgiving kicks of what is the busiest shopping time of the year. Thanksgiving a holiday the celebrates contentment a thanks for the things money can't by is followed by the supper indulgence of desire and materialism. Yeah that's you Black Friday and your 3am store openings. Its like we say I'm so thankful for everything I have my friends, my family and my life...NOW GIVE ME MORE STUFF!! (More about this to come with a Christmas themed post.) This weird ironic timing makes me laugh and cry but mainly I just eat leftovers and enjoy the coming Yuletide season. This truly is the best time of well second best, I do love me some Easter.