Abide in Me


Abide with me; fast falls theeventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Words:Henry Lyte (1847)



Joy to the World


Joy to the World

Joy to the world!
The Lord has come.
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world!
The Savior reigns.
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
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

Words and Music: G. F. HANDEL, ISAAC WATTS

It is a joyful time for all the world — the Lord has come! Emmanuel has come!


Silent Night


Silent Night

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

Words:  Joseph Mohr 1818
Music:  Franz Gruber, 1818

Silent night.  I wonder how silent the night really was?  Nobody really knows.    This isn’t Scripture so we cannot extend to it any protection of inerrancy or divine inspiration.  However, we might reflect on silence.  Silence may not only be possible when there are no other sounds.  There can be peace in the midst of turmoil, solitude in the midst of the crowd and silence when the world is screaming all around us.

Silent night.  Holy night.  All is calm.  All is right…and bright.


I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day


Photo credit: gleangenie from morguefile.com

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I heard the bells on Christmas Day, 
Their old familiar carols play.  
And wild and sweet the words repeat 
Of peace on earth goodwill 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 goodwill to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep; 
“God is not dead, not doth He sleep; 
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, 
With peace on earth goodwill to men.

Words:  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1864
Music: Jean Baptiste Calkin, 1872


Timely words for today’s world.  As we enter this Christmas season all of the old, familiar songs, movies, activities will come round.  It’s all very familiar.  For many, over the past few weeks, the world they live in has been filled with despair, for there is no peace on earth.  Hate is strong and flowing in all directions at the same time.  Even among those who follow Christ there seems to more and more fear and hate creeping in, wafting in and out of the the nooks and crannies of faith and family.

But God is not dead and he’s not sleeping on the world.  It may be hard to see but wrong will fail, evil will be defeated and death will die.  Right will overcome wrong; good will overcome evil; life will overcome death.

Peace is the common thread through it all.  In the midst of turmoil there can be peace.  At the same time peace is the thing for which we continually strive.


Come, Thou Long-expected Jesus


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!

Words:  Charles Wesley, 1744
Music: Rowland H. Prichard, 1830

The people had long been expecting their Messiah, this is true.  But when he came he wasn’t anything like what they expected.  In fact, they did not recognize him.  They were expecting a mighty King that leveraged his power and authority to wipe out all those that stood against God and His chosen people.  Instead, Emmanuel came as an ordinary man who leveraged compassion, mercy, grace and love to change the world.

This is an excellent book that tells the story for children (and adults)–Tabitha’s Travels by Arnold Ytreeide


Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee



Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee

Words:  Henry Van Dyke, 1907  /  Music: Ludwig Von Beethoven, 1824

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing ever blest,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother–all who live in love are Thine.
Teach us how to love each other; lift us to the joy divine.

As people who have grown up in church we are pretty comfortable with the “God our Father” language.  For some it seems a little uncomfortable, perhaps, to refer to the Pope as the “Holy Father” as we have been hearing over the past few days with Pope Francis visiting the US and other countries in the area.  By the way, I like Pope Francis and much of what he says and does.  We need some leaders in all corners of the church today who will shake us out of complacency and lethargy.

However, we don’t much talk about “Christ our Brother.”  Savior, yes.  Lord, yes.  Part of the Triune God, yes.  Rabi, yes.  Teacher, yes.  Prophet, yes.  Brother?  Not so much.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. ~Matthew 5:9

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. ~Romans 8:14

So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. ~Hebrews 2:11

But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.
~Matthew 12:48-50

In “Emmanuel” we have a brother; an older brother who has gone before us.  This is not a physical connection, but spiritual adoption into the family of God.  We are not on the same level as Jesus with regard to our spiritual nature–He is still the Messiah sent from God and I am not.  That’s clear.  But this Messiah was human and walked on this earth and understands my dilemma.

Those who follow his footsteps in doing the will of their Father in Heaven, are his brothers and sisters.  Those who make peace become sons and daughters of God.  Those who are lead by the Spirit and, we could add, show the evidence of the Spirit’s fruit, share in the inheritance as God’s children (Hebrew 9:15).

Mortals join the mighty chorus which the morning stars began.
Father-love is reigning over us; Brother-love binds man to man.
Ever singing march we onward, victors in the midst of strife.
Joyful music leads us sunward in the triumph song of life!