Some thoughts on “Christmas”

​The accouterments and the heathen history of “Christmas” trouble me. That they exist takes away from the soul-saving news. That Christianity has been slapped onto heathen celebrations and then peeled off by a God-hating society seems to me to be part of Satan’s scheme to further confuse people and seal their destruction.

However, as the psalmist states, which I believe applies to every day, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” 

Because Jesus lives, we have reason to anticipate that the best is yet to come, despite often dark and overwhelming circumstances.

God loves us, came to reconcile us to Him, and we will soon be with Him. Thanks, honour, and glory be to Him forever. ♡

Ephesians 2:

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

At Calvary

As I carried a cup of tea from the kitchen to my digital piano, gentle rays of sunset landed on my hymnal, beckoning me to take this photo. It seems to me that such moments are a fleeting taste of heaven, where the undying light of our Lord Jesus will illuminate all as we sing His praises so lovingly.

I began to play “At Calvary”, a hymn I have always rendered in a slow, gentle manner, but which until tonight had not worked through my fingertips in years. As I read the words I’d sung so many times, really read them, by the second verse I stopped playing, overcome by emotion. I took a sip of tea and read on, but couldn’t swallow for tears.

“It’s about me,” I thought. “Oh, how this song is about me. How did I not see this before?”

I thought about the hour I first believed, back in 1987, reliving my conversion from doomed sinner to saved saint. I finally swallowed my tea and thanked the Lord out loud. 

1. Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.

Refrain:

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

2. By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.

Refrain

3. Now I’ve given to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing of Calvary!

Refrain

4. Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!

Refrain

Writing With A Pen

For me, there is something therapeutic about picking up a ball-point pen and watching the letters form on a fresh page, especially those first words in a new notebook. The word “sacred” comes to mind.

Whether I write via ink or through the wonders of electronic transmission, getting the words out is the main thing. Still, something about pen and paper beckons to me. Perhaps it is the relative simplicity, where no electricity or electronics are involved, giving more of a sense of creating something from my mind and connecting to the result.

bursting-heart-pen

I read an article today on the subject of writing by hand. I find it to be inspiring. Here it is.

The Simple Joy of Writing by Hand

 

Please Don’t Say “Clearly”

When I am reading someone’s writing about or listening to someone talking about Scripture, and the word “clearly” is used, unless it is in the context of explaining something about 1 Corinthians 13:12, I automatically become wary of the information being offered.

They will say something like “We see clearly in God’s Word that this means such and such…”, but rarely do they explain how that clarity was achieved for them.

When “clearly” crops up like that, my thought is, “Them’s brainwashin’ words.”

If you really feel something is that clear, then show your evidence and let the recipient judge the level of clarity according to their own perception.

And Can It Be…?

Such a beautiful hymn, set to beautiful scenes of God’s creation, gently spurs me all the more onward to heaven where neither thorn, nor darkness, nor impending death can ever detract from the eternal enjoyment of fellowship as it was meant to be in all its perfection.

Watch and listen: And Can It Be?

And Can It Be?

Text: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788 

Music: Thomas Campbell 

1. And can it be that I should gain 
an interest in the Savior’s blood! 
Died he for me? who caused his pain! 
For me? who him to death pursued? 
Amazing love! How can it be 
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me? 
Amazing love! How can it be 
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me? 

2. ‘Tis mystery all: th’ Immortal dies! 
Who can explore his strange design? 
In vain the firstborn seraph tries 
to sound the depths of love divine. 
‘Tis mercy all! Let earth adore; 
let angel minds inquire no more. 
‘Tis mercy all! Let earth adore; 
let angel minds inquire no more. 

3. He left his Father’s throne above 
(so free, so infinite his grace!), 
emptied himself of all but love, 
and bled for Adam’s helpless race. 
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free, 
for O my God, it found out me! 
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free, 
for O my God, it found out me! 

4. Long my imprisoned spirit lay, 
fast bound in sin and nature’s night; 
thine eye diffused a quickening ray; 
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; 
my chains fell off, my heart was free, 
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free, 
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

5. No condemnation now I dread; 
Jesus, and all in him, is mine; 
alive in him, my living Head, 
and clothed in righteousness divine, 
bold I approach th’ eternal throne, 
and claim the crown, through Christ my own. 
Bold I approach th’ eternal throne, 
and claim the crown, through Christ my own. 

The Lord is Near to The Brokenhearted – Hebrew study

This is from someone else’s writing. I want to park it here for my own reference, but maybe it will be of use to others who find it, too.

http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Meditations/Brokenhearted/brokenhearted.html

I wanted to copy and paste it here, in case in the future the link becomes inoperable, but it won’t let me.

Here is the verse from Scripture, Psalm 34:18:

The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

 

Scared Of It All

Robert Service says it well in his poem “I’m Scared Of It All”. For me, it is not so much a true fear, but it is more of a severe preference for avoiding the physical presence of much people while in this body on earth.

I’m scared of it all, God’s truth! so I am; 
It’s too big and brutal for me. 
My nerve’s on the raw and I don’t give a damn 
For all the “hoorah” that I see. 
I’m pinned between subway and overhead train, 
Where automobillies swoop down: 
Oh, I want to go back to the timber again — 
I’m scared of the terrible town. 

I want to go back to my lean, ashen plains; 
My rivers that flash into foam; 
My ultimate valleys where solitude reigns; 
My trail from Fort Churchill to Nome. 
My forests packed full of mysterious gloom, 
My ice-fields agrind and aglare: 
The city is deadfalled with danger and doom — 
I know that I’m safer up there. 

I watch the wan faces that flash in the street; 
All kinds and all classes I see. 
Yet never a one in the million I meet, 
Has the smile of a comrade for me. 
Just jaded and panting like dogs in a pack; 
Just tensed and intent on the goal: 
O God! but I’m lonesome — I wish I was back, 
Up there in the land of the Pole. 

I wish I was back on the Hunger Plateaus, 
And seeking the lost caribou; 
I wish I was up where the Coppermine flows 
To the kick of my little canoe. 
I’d like to be far on some weariful shore, 
In the Land of the Blizzard and Bear; 
Oh, I wish I was snug in the Arctic once more, 
For I know I am safer up there! 

I prowl in the canyons of dismal unrest; 
I cringe — I’m so weak and so small. 
I can’t get my bearings, I’m crushed and oppressed 
With the haste and the waste of it all. 
The slaves and the madman, the lust and the sweat, 
The fear in the faces I see; 
The getting, the spending, the fever, the fret — 
It’s too bleeding cruel for me. 

I feel it’s all wrong, but I can’t tell you why — 
The palace, the hovel next door; 
The insolent towers that sprawl to the sky, 
The crush and the rush and the roar. 
I’m trapped like a fox and I fear for my pelt; 
I cower in the crash and the glare; 
Oh, I want to be back in the avalanche belt, 
For I know that it’s safer up there! 

I’m scared of it all: Oh, afar I can hear 
The voice of my solitudes call! 
We’re nothing but brute with a little veneer, 
And nature is best after all. 
There’s tumult and terror abroad in the street; 
There’s menace and doom in the air; 
I’ve got to get back to my thousand-mile beat; 
The trail where the cougar and silver-tip meet; 
The snows and the camp-fire, with wolves at my feet;
Good-bye, for it’s safer up there. 

To be forming good habits up there; 
To be starving on rabbits up there; 
In your hunger and woe, 
Though it’s sixty below, 
Oh, I know that it’s safer up there!

by Robert William Service

http://m.poemhunter.com/poem/i-m-scared-of-it-all/

Frustration With Facebook

One of the most frustrating things about Facebook is the way so many people on my contact list go to it for a quick read and a quick click of the “like” button, but very few offer any written feedback and there is little to no communication.

When I deactivate my Facebook account, the absence of its accessibility is refreshing. I am then not tempted to click to open it and see if anyone is initiating conversation. I can’t be disappointed if it’s not there for people to ignore.

I am better off writing here in WordPress, where it is already expected, at least for me, that there will be little to no communication.