Saturday, 24 December 2016

Season’s Greetings

A Very Happy Christmas to readers of my blog, your families and friends.

From the Bible –

Matthew 1 v 18 – 25: Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with Child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn Son: and he called His name JESUS.

Mum’s Christmas Poem 2016 –

From Heaven’s Glory

Dwelling in heav’ns glory
In perfect harmony,
Father, Son and Spirit,
Throughout eternity.

Leaving heaven’s glory,
As Man, coming to earth:
This the oft told story
Of Christ the Saviour’s birth.

Children sing of Mary,
And Child in manger laid,
Of wise men bringing gifts,
Of Herod much dismayed.

There lies behind this scene
The love of God for man;
The grace of God’s own Son;
Salvation’s costly plan.

The Father loved and gave,
The Saviour loved and came,
Not for a worthy race,
But rebels to reclaim.

This Child was born to die,
Freely His life to give,
That sinners such as I,
Might look to Him and live.

So on that cross of shame,
Thorn-crowned, the Saviour bore
Our sin, that we might know
True life for evermore.

© JHS Dec 2016

I recently came across the following about Christmas by J C Ryle back in 1878 

“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 labour 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!”

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