Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas Carol

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus, is one of my favorite hymns. It only seemed proper to post it after attending a Christmas Concert all about Advent Season.

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.

Advent Thoughts, Part 1

I am not alone at all, I thought.  I was never alone at all.  And that, of course, is the message of Christmas.  We are never alone.  Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent.  For this is still the time God chooses." - Taylor Caldwell (1900-85)

After attending SPU's Sacred Sounds of Christmas concert this year, I am reminded of God's birth even more, and am giddy with anticipation for what that birth means.  There were even themes in the last two Sunday services I listened to that neatly tied into Advent.

First - God knows us and sees us.  He knows where we've been, where we are and where we are going.  Even when we're at our lowest or worst, He still meets us and intervenes.  This ties into the "The Word Proclaimed" and "The Promise Made."  Hence the quote above.

Second - is a reason to rejoice!  In "The Message" translation in Romans 5: 6-11 we find many interesting points:
Christ arrives right on time to make this happen.  He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready.  He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready.  And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway.  We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice   But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.  Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way.  If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we're at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life!  Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose.  WE SING AND SHOUT OUR PRAISES TO GOD THROUGH JESUS, THE MESSIAH.
This promise made through his birth was fulfilled and therefore the world transformed.  Which means that we should rejoice!  It is a great thing that has happened.

I'm grateful for this season and am grateful for the reminders lately, that tell me that even in my darkest days and when I'm doubting my faith that I'm not alone.  That God has been with me and met me in every high and low situation.  And even in those low periods where I don't think I have what it takes...or when I'm berating myself for stupid decisions and sins, that God still meets me and invites me into His story.  I do rejoice and I am thankful this Advent Season.