Twas the night before Christmas

Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house.

Not a creature was praying, not one in the house

Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care

In hope that Jesus would not come there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed

Not once ever knelling or bowing a head.

And Mum in her rocker with baby on her lap

Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.

When out of the East there arose such a clatter.

I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open  the shutters and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear

But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.

With a light like the sun sending forth a ray

I knew in a moment this must  be THE DAY!

The light of His face made me cover my head

It was Jesus returning just like He had said.

And though I possessed wisdom and wealth,

I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His Hand

Was written the name of every saved man,

He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;

When He said “Its not here” my head hung in shame.

The people whose names had been written with love

He gathered to take to His Father above.

With those who were ready He rose without a sound.

While all the rest were left standing around.

I feel to my knees but it was too late;

I had waited too long and this sealed my fate,

I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;

Oh! If only I had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;

The coming of Jesus is drawing near.

There’s only one way life and when comes the call

We’ll find that the Bible was true after all!

CHALLENGE: Since there are approximately 300 prophecies about His first coming and over 1500 prophesying He will come again, His second advent is imminent. In the middle of all the hustle and bustle in preparing to celebrate His Birth do we even give it a thought to prepare for His second coming?

Never Judge a Gift By It’s Wrapping

It has been said that we should never judge a book by its cover. During this gift giving season I want to remind us that we should never judge a gift by its wrappings! The most expensive, the most planned and thoughtful gift ever offered to this world was placed in an old manger for a box and wrapped in lowly swaddling clothes but as we start to unwrap this precious gift we find it is tied with red ribbons dipped in the blood of the greatest love mankind has ever known.

Unknown

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life

As Isaac Newton writes

“Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were a present far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

Unraveling the Stress of the Christmas Season

As we head into heat of the Christmas season with the frustrating lines in the stores, the tangled lights that don’t work after hours of decorating, the strained relationships especially within families, the baking that was a flop, the stress to fit all the activities into your calendar are only examples of  the pressure cooker we make of the season as we blow our tops and lose the joy of the season, I am cautioned by this word my heavenly Papa dropped into my heart.

Dear Child,

The pressure and stress that robs you of the joy of this season has been manufactured by man and led man into slavery when this season was to set man free from the bondage of this world. The angels cry “Joy to the world” not “Stress to the world”.

Do not try to package my gift in wrapping paper of stress tied up with a bow of pressure!

My gift came wrapped in joy and tied with love.

May the joy of the season overflow from your hearts as you extend your arms as ribbons of love to others.

Thus saith Papa

Luke 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 

CHALLENGE: Do not let the world pour you into its mold of stress during this season of joy.

 

 

Make Your Centerpiece a Fresh Bouquet of Appreciation

As I was busy preparing a beautiful table for a feast for my family on Thanksgiving, the Lord reminded me to also take the quiet time to prepare my heart to offer Him a feast of thanks. In the busyness of the season I needed to be reminded to prepare a table for Him decorated with a bouquet of fresh appreciation, a heart full of gratitude and mouthful of praise as I reflected on His faithfulness during the past year.
We should always be thankful but it is also good at this holiday of Thanksgiving to stop and meditate on what we are truly thankful for lest we start to take His blessings for granted and find our beautiful tables lacking the luster of the joy of the Lord!

Harvest Thanksgiving UK Traditions

When we immigrated to the U.S.A. we brought many of our U.K. traditions with us. We obviously don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but we do have harvest thanksgiving services in our churches where we decorate the church with such things as fruits, vegetables, breads, wheat, grain, autumn flowers and plants to represent His abundant provisions.
The windowsills are lined with a variety of fruits,
We tie tall husks of wheat at the end of the pews,
The altar area is covered with many reminders of God’s provision.
The church doesn’t only look warm and inviting but I remember it smelling so good.
We would praise the Lord for His many provision with grateful harvest hymns
such as:
“ We plough the fields and scatter
The good seed on the land
But it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand:
The seed time and the harvest
Our life, our health, our food.
Accept the gifts we offer for all thy love imparts,
And what thou most desirest,
Our humble, thankful hearts.”

After the service the food and displays are distributed to the needy and less fortunate.
While attending Hawthorne Gospel church in New Jersey in the 1970’s we offered to provide and decorate the first ever display they had in the church of God’s provision. We are told that forty years later this U.K.tradition is still alive and has become a tradition of Hawthorne Gospel Church. Perhaps an idea for your local church this coming Sunday as you prepare to celebrate not only Thanksgiving but also God’s faithful harvest.