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Showing posts from 2019

Christmas Eve Day - Silent Night

It’s Tuesday, and Christmas Eve. As millions of people prepare for Christmas, many of them, like us, will do so with friends in fellowship at a Christmas Eve service. Our Christmas Eve service always ends with what is the world’s most loved Christmas Song: “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 Sleep in heavenly peace
Silent night, holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight! Glories stream from heaven afar; Heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ia! Christ the Savior is born! Christ the Savior is born! Christ the Savior is born!
Silent night, holy night Son of God, oh, love's pure light Radiant beams from Thy holy face With the dawn of redeeming grace Jesus, Lord at Thy birth Jesus, Lord at Thy birth Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
In 1818, Joseph Mohr was a parish Priest in a tiny village in Austria preparing for a Christmas Eve service. As he readied for the service, panic str…

Day 18, Away in a Manger

It is Thursday in the 3rd week in Advent. Perhaps the first Christmas carol every child learns to sing is “Away in a Manger”. Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay. The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus! look down from the sky,
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh. Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And take us to heaven to live with thee there. With some new babies coming into our church this Fall, I cannot help but think about the simplicity of this song that has a place in - probably - every church Christmas program. The song historically was referred to as Martin Luther’s “Cradle Song”. The first known appearance of the song was in 1882. The song was published anonymously and refer…

Wednesday, Day 17 - The First Noel

It is Wednesday of the third week in Advent. I have made many trips to England. I began going in the early 1990’s and have continued to go for now almost 30 years. I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve made this trip, but it’s over 40. In the beginning most of these were ministry related trips; but in 2004, our daughter married a Brit (as I’m fond of saying) and her family lives - now - in Wales, so we have had a different incentive for these trips since then. We have made a number of friends over the years, and have explored a lot of the country-side. One of my favorite places in England is in the southwest, Cornwall. A lot of Wisconsinites don’t realize that Cornish miners were some of Wisconsin’s early pioneers as they opened mines in areas like Mineral Point digging for Zinc and Iron. You can still buy a “Pasty” in the Red Rooster restaurant - a very Cornish dish. Now, what does it have to do with Christmas and Carols? One of the carols of Christmas we sing is “The First Noel”: 1…

Day 13 in Advent, O Come, All Ye Faithful

It’s Friday, Day 13 in Advent. We’ve just passed the halfway point in Advent with 12 days left til Christmas. Among the songs of Christmas, one of the most famous and most loved songs is “O Come All Ye Faithful”. Yet among all the Christmas music we sing this one might have the greatest mystery as to writer and composer. The writer most often ascribed to have written this hymn was John Francis Wade, an English man who fled England during the mid-1700s, because of Catholic suppression.  Many Catholics living during these tumultuous days fled England to France.  Since many of the Catholic church records, hymns and church wares were uprooted and even lost, Wade took on the task of copying music to be preserved for the future. Wade was an accomplished calligrapher and so he copied and saved many of the historical songs the Church had sung for the Catholic churches - even over all of Europe. Somewhere around 1750, he either copied, or composed, Adeste Fideles.  There are several manuscript…

Day 12 in Advent: Angels From The Realms of Glory

It’s Thursday, the second week of Advent. Among the many Christmas carols, one of the most famous is “Angels From The Realms of Glory”. Scripture reminds us of a heavenly host of beings who serve God’s purposes, including watching over we humans. I don’t know (from Scripture) that I will meet the Angels who have watched over me. It’s a fascinating thing to ponder. I have met people who have had encounters with Angels. One thing I’ve never heard is that they looked like Clarence in “It’s a Wonderful Life”! We have more mystery than we do facts to go on with Angels. Yet one thing is clear, they played a prominent role in the birth of our Savior.
Luke’s Gospel says it this way in 2:8-14: 8. “And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring yo…