Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the town,
St. Joseph was searching, walking up roads and down; Our Lady was waiting, so meek and so mild,
While Joseph was seeking a place for the Child. The children were nestled, each snug in their beds,
The grown-ups wouldn’t bother, there’s no room they said;
When even the innkeeper sent them away, Joseph was wondering, where they would stay. He thought of the caves in the side of the hills,
Lets go there said Mary, it’s silent and still; The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow, Made pathways of light for their tired feet to go. And there in a cave, in a cradle of hay, Our Savior was born on that first Christmas Day!
The Father was watching in heaven above, He sent for His angels, His couriers of love. More rapid than eagles God’s bright angels came;
Rejoicing and eager as each heard his name; Come Power, Come Cherubs, Come Virtues, Come Raphael, Come Thrones and Dominions, come Michael and Gabriel.
Now fly to the Earth, where My poor people live, Announce the glad tiding My Son comes to give;
The Shepherds were watching their flocks on this night, And saw in the heavens and unearthly light. The Angels assured them, they’d nothing to fear, It’s Christmas they said, the Savior is here!
They hastened to find Him, and stood at the door, Till Mary invited them in to adore. He was swaddled in bands from His head to His feet,
Never did the Shepherds see a baby so sweet! He spoke not a word, but the shepherds all knew, He was telling them secrets and blessing them too.
Then softly they left Him, The Babe in the hay, And rejoiced with great joy on that first Christmas Day; Mary heard them exclaim as they walked up the hill,
Glory to God in the Highest, Peace to men of good will!
JOY To The World….
“Joy to the World, the Lord has come let earth receive her King.”
For there is a joy, a deep, divine joy that beckons our souls…and seeks to break forth at this time of year. So often this great joy can find itself clouded by the complexity of all our activity. I can think of the card sending, and the unfortunate women who in a last minute rush…brought a box of 50 identical cards with our bothering to read the verse, she quickly signed and addressed all but one. Several days after they had been mailed, she came across the one leftover card and to her dismay discovered that inside it read… “This card is just to say, a special gift is on the way.”
Or the process of getting all the decorations up and the tree picked out. Leah and I…within a minutes time had a wonderful tree we both like…. a Christmas miracle….only to then end up inside the store in a battle over which color bulbs to put on the tree.
Then of course there’s the gift shopping. The cartoon by Guindon that showed a weary lady shopper resting for a moment with her arms filled with packages. She is in the middle of a very busy department store filled with other Christmas shoppers and she is explaining the whole Christmas scene to her small son as follows: “No one is quite sure how Christmas worked out like this, dear. Theologians are working very, very hard on that question right now.”
…and finally there are all the relational tensions that sometimes rise up in all the busyness. I heard of one young girl, upon hearing about that first Christmas night and there being no room at the inn, simply muttered “It’s Josephs fault, he should have made reservations.”
So it is that the mayhem of activity and the memories of the past can compete with the joy at hand.
YET STILL OUR SOULS ARE STIRRED BY A DIVINE JOY THAT CANNOT BE SILENCED BY TIME, TRADITIONS, OR TROUBLES….AND AS THAT FIRST Christmas unwrapped this great joy, so we discover how to unwrap our own.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to the, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with an angel, praising God and saying “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and see, which were just as they had been told.
At the heart of this eternal event was “GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY”…And if we reflect on this first encounter with Christmas, we find the essence of capturing that joy ourselves. 1 key in particular have stood out to me as the key to the joy of Christmas…the JOY THAT IS IN THE BIRTH OF CHRIST JESUS.
RECOGNIZE THE NEED THAT SENT HIM…
v.11 What did the angels bring as good news? “Today in the town of David a SAVIOR has been born to you.”…a SAVIOR How often our modern joy has been reduced, substituting a sentiment for a savior. (Wanting to rewrite heavens great work “Today a sentiment has been born to you.”)…but these SHEPHERDS could not miss it. For they were more than simply lowly, poor shepherds;
Shepherds were despised by the orthodox good people of the day. They were quite unable to keep the details of the ceremonial law; they could not observe all the meticulous hand-washings and rules and regulations. Their flocks made far too constant demands on them; and so the orthodox looked down on them. It was to simple men of the fields that God’s message first came. They were sinners who had no doubt of their need; no opportunity for self righteousness. But these were in all likelihood very special shepherds. We have already seen how in the Temple, morning and evening, an unblemished lamb was offered as a sacrifice to God. To see that the supply of perfect offerings was always available the Temple authorities had their own private sheep flocks; and we know that these flocks were pastured near Bethlehem. It is most likely that these shepherds were in charge of the flocks from which the Temple offerings were chosen. They had birthed, raised, and cared for countless lambs taken for constant sacrifice. It is a lovely thought that the shepherds who looked after the Temple lambs were the first to see the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. (Barclay)
How sober these shepherds must have been to the great cost of sin …by the great cost of sacrifice.
GOD HAD BROUGHT THE JOY OF CHRISTMAS TO THOSE WHO RECOGNIZED ITS NEED MOST; AND UNDERSTOOD ITS COST….and clearly such sobriety, such recognition of need would be essential for every recipient of His Son, for all who would encounter Him. And so it was that God was raising another heralder of the Savior John the Baptist…one who came as a voice crying out in the wilderness saying “prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight your paths Repent…Reckon…”Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” It’s hardly a figure we associate with joy; but John was sent to prepare for the receiving of Christ not by condemning sinners (for we are already condemned); but by awakening the self righteous to their need. The self-righteous religious and sentimentalist alike miss the joy that is at hand.
As the world stops to capture the joy that surround this season, what it covers up …our sin and shame… is what it misses…our forgiveness of sins, and freedom from shame.
RECOGNIZE THE NEED…THAT SENT CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD, AS A SACRIFICE FOR US.
As you See this month news Letter is Done by Pastor Miller
I have been Super Busy doing Goodies Bags this Year we may get up to 35000 Bags & on Christmas Eve & Day we will be taking over 4000 Gifts to Hospital’s
I will return to the news letter in January with News about where Heart to Heart is Going in 2013 As you know we are in Michigan & Ohio Kentucky and in February we are going to be in Alabama
You will see more information in next Months news letter
If you want to Help with Candy or Donations its not to late Please email me or Pastor miller
The one thing i want to encourage to the readers is stay Strong this month some of you are lonely lost or depressed as a police chaplain i seen a lot take there lives You can always Reach out we here at Heart to Heart are there if you Just want to Talk
Do what we do we Take Joy out to others in December you can do the Same it will be a blessing i know we see it every year when we take thousands Thousand’s of Good Cheer to others
From my Heart to all the Web-sight Viewer’s and news letter Readers i wish you a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
See you Next Month & Next Year
Yours Truly in Christ
Rev Jerry L Williams
Sr. Pastor of Heart to Heart