Thursday, 25 December 2014
A Very Happy Christmas to readers to my blog, your families and friends.
From the Bible - Luke chapter 2 v 8-20
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”
Mum’s Christmas poem 2014 –
Have you heard
Have you heard the news the angels brought
To shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem?
Do you know the One the shepherds sought
When Son of God came down to world of men?
Have you heard of how the wise men came
Each bringing gifts and worshipping the Child?
Have you come to love the wondrous name
Of Him who walked this earth all undefiled?
Have you heard of how the Saviour died
And took sin’s punishment upon the cross?
How the Son of God was crucified
To save His people from eternal loss?
Have you heard of how the God of grace
So willingly forgives His people’s sin?
Have you heard, He freely will efface
Each blot and stain of those who trust in Him?
Have you thought about eternal days
When life’s short chapter in this world is o’er?
Have you thought of what the Bible says,
And through God’s Son sought life for evermore?
© Jean Stapleton December 2014
The Great Gathering – J C Ryle -
For example, Christmas is peculiarly a time when English people "gather together." It is the season when family meetings have become almost a national institution. In town and in country, among rich and among poor, from the palace to the workhouse — Christmas cheer and Christmas gatherings are proverbial things. It is the one time in the year with many, for seeing their friends at all. Sons snatch a few days from London business to run down and see their parents; brothers get leave of absence from the desk to spend a week with their sisters; friends accept long-standing invitations, and contrive to pay a visit to their friends; boys rush home from school, and glory in the warmth and comfort of the old house. Business for a little space comes to a standstill — the weary wheels of incessant labor seem almost to cease revolving for a few hours. In short, there is a general spirit of "gathering together."
Happy is the land where such a state of things exists! Long may it last in England, and never may it end! Poor and shallow is that philosophy which sneers at Christmas gatherings. Cold and hard is that religion which pretends to frown at them, and denounces them as wicked. Family affection lies at the very roots of well-ordered society. It is one of the few good things which have survived the fall, and prevent men and women from being mere devils! It is the secret oil on the wheels of our social system which keeps the whole machine going, and without which neither steam nor fire would avail. Anything which helps to keep up family affection and brotherly love is a positive good to a country. May the Christmas day never arrive in England when there are no family meetings and no gatherings together!
“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” (John 3 v 16).