December 7 – O Holy Night

Christmas is upon us again, it rolls around every year doesn’t it? It would seem a shame not to look at a Christmas Hymn as we build towards the big day, wouldn’t it? One of my favourites is O Holy Night.

Reading around O Holy Night we learn that it is a

“…well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Minuit, chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians) written by wine merchant and poet Placide Cappeau (1808–1877).

In both the French original and the English version of the carol, as well as in many other languages, the text reflects on the birth of Jesus as humanity’s redemption”.

It begins like this,

“O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,

It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.”

In the Word of God, ‘holy’ means to be set apart. Was there ever a night like this, set apart as the night of Jesus’ birth, the day that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (Luke 2.8, John 1.14)?

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining.

’Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”

As a result of the fall in Genesis 3, the world was in sin and error, but the birth of Jesus offered a way for the world and everything and everyone in it to be restored to how things should be, to be restored to right relationship with God (Genesis 3.15b, Romans 8.22, John 3.16).

“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, O night when Christ was born;

O night divine, O night, O night divine!”

The Word tells us that one day every knee will bow at the name of Jesus (Philippians 2.10-11). One day we will be confronted with the reality to which our faith and hope and trust are anchored, and we will bow before the Lord and hear the angels worshiping Him forevermore (Revelation 5.11-14).

“Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we;

His power and glory ever more proclaim!

His power and glory ever more proclaim!”

Enjoy this Christmas hymn today as we prepare to celebrate and commemorate the birth of our Lord and Saviour on that holy night!

Watch it here 

December 6 – The Simplicity Of Wonder

Often times nowadays when we want to tell a great story we embellish the details, don’t we? We don’t lie, but what is good we really emphasise, and what is not so great, we don’t spend much time on. In Luke 2.7, the simplicity of the birth of Jesus is said in just 8 words,

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son…”

There is no need for embellishment, there is no need for extra details to be overemphasised, there is no need for unneeded words. 

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son…”

The first three-quarters of the Bible have been looking forward to this date.

The fist two chapters of Luke have dealt with events leading up to this date.

The first few millennia of the earth since the promise of Genesis 3.15 have been looking forward to this date.

There is no need to add to the simplicity of the wonderful events that took place that night.

We know they changed the course of human history. 

We know this is when an all-powerful creator God pierced the space-time continuum and took up residence among us. 

We know that this moment is the beginning of a point in history from which much of the Western world would begin to orbit (whether they know or acknowledge it or not). 

We know.

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son…”

As we move into this Christmas season day by day, it is easy to fall prey to the trappings and temptations of the season; 

one more of those…

buying that extra…

hanging that additional…

eating/drinking just one more…

Really though, the simplicity of the account of Luke gives us a model for the season: truth first. 

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son…”

Truth first, she gave birth to her firstborn son…Christmas is about the birth of Jesus.

Enjoy the accompaniments to this time of year, for sure, but always keeping the simplicity of the wondrous events of that night first and foremost.

December 5 – A Material Christmas

“Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.” And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”

2 Kings 4.1-7

Christmas is a time often associated with excess;

food, drink, gifts, decorations, money…

But what if that is not you? 

What if you don’t have any of that, does that mean you don’t have a real Christmas?

Does the thought of going into a season of material excess fill you with anxiety?

In 2 Kings 4 we see a lady struggling to make material ends meet, let alone have an excess with which to feast or celebrate. Things are so bad that she is on the verge of having to give up her children to pay her debts. She is struggling to provide for her family and must have felt hopeless. She had debts and no resources with which to pay them.

She was encouraged to put her faith and trust in the faithfulness of God and in His provision.

When you think about it, this is what Christmas is all about. This season is not for material excess, but for celebrating the miraculous and world-changing provision God made for us by sending Jesus.

As the lady was encouraged to trust in God’s provision materially, I would encourage you this Christmas season to put your hope and trust in the greater provision He made for us, the answer to our anxieties, stresses, trials and tribulations, the real reason for the season, Jesus.

No matter your material resources, putting hope and trust in Jesus, not the temporal and temporary trappings of Christmas, gives us the guarantee of God’s provision, His abundant love, His forever acceptance, and His life-changing grace.


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December 4 – Joy To The World

Do you remember when you were a kid and Christmas Day rolled around? You tore into something lovingly wrapped and discovered that thing you had been wanting for so long…oh the joy you felt! You could not, at that moment, have felt any happier. The joy you felt was indescribable: that someone loved you enough to give you exactly what you wanted, exactly what you needed, and they willingly paid the price for you to have it.

The Christmas song, Joy to the World, describes this feeling.

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come

Let earth receive her King

Let every heart prepare Him room

And Heaven and nature sing”.

The whole Old Testament in your Bible points forward to the coming of the Lord (if you don’t have a Bible read it online for free here – netbible.org).

The New Testament documents the life and legacy of the Lord Jesus, and one thing constantly associated with Him is joy.

As we made room in our lives for that gift we ripped open on Christmas Day as a child, possibly discarding old things to make way for it, this year let every heart prepare Him room, discarding old things and receiving our King

Joy to the World is filled with Scripture (Isaiah 9.6, Isaiah 11.10, John 12.15,  Revelation 17.14, Revelation 19.11-16, and Psalm 98.5-9to name some!), why not read them today? 

Watch it here too!

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