Faith Meets World

Reflections on faith in a messed-up but beautiful world

Category: Advent (Page 3 of 7)

A light has shined

The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

— Isaiah 9:2, 6-7

Happy Christmas, everyone.

God in man

Nativity stained glassWelcome, all wonders in one sight!
Eternity shut in a span.
Summer in winter, Day in night,
Heaven in earth, and God in man.
Great little One! Whose all-embracing birth
Brings earth to heaven, stoops heaven to earth.

— Richard Crashaw (1614-1649)

The night before Christmas revisited

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the land
The people were stooped under Rome’s mighty hand;
They clung to the hope their oppression would end
As they looked for a king they believed God would send.

They read in their books what the prophets foretold:
A Messiah would save them, as promised of old;
This coming Redeemer would save them from sin
And a glorious new kingdom of God usher in.

But how could it be they had waited so long
For a Saviour to come who would right every wrong?
Where were the signs of his glorious reign
When their day-to-day lot was all suffering and pain?

Would God send a champion, a warrior bold
To make their oppressors relinquish their hold?
And if not a warrior, in what other way
Could their freedom be won and their night turned to day?

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A prayer on Christmas Eve

God of stable, stars and surprises, of light and hope and new life:
open our eyes and hearts to your presence in our world;
forgive our obsession with property and possessions;
forgive our compromises and narrowness of vision.
Open us to your grace,
that we might hear again the song of the angels,
and respond with a song in our hearts,
and in our lives.

— Gordon Nodwell

(P.S. Don’t forget to check back later for a special Christmas Eve post!)

The best carol

It’s a bold claim, I know – after all, everyone has their own favourite Christmas carol. But I challenge you to find one that’s as theologically rich as Hark, the Herald Angels Sing. And this arrangement of Mendelssohn’s rousing melody is particularly magnificent.

Enjoy, and let your heart be stirred to worship the one who came as newborn king and now reigns forever at the right hand of God.

(Be sure to check back tomorrow for a special Christmas Eve post!)

Extremely improbable

It is, in point of fact, extremely improbable, under existing conditions, that Jesus would have been permitted to be born at all. Mary’s pregnancy, in poor circumstances, and with the father unknown, would have been an obvious case for an abortion; and her talk of having conceived as a result of the intervention of the Holy Ghost would have pointed to the need for psychiatric treatment, and made the case for terminating her pregnancy even stronger. Thus our generation, needing a Savior more, perhaps, than any that has ever existed, would be too humane to allow one to be born.

— Malcolm Muggeridge, in Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew

Out of the mouths of children: Nativity

In this video, some kids from Auckland, New Zealand provide a refreshingly unique take on the Nativity. Enjoy.

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