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

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. 

Scrawling About God

Sometimes I feel like going out to my incomplete writing shed, taking a pen and notebook, and writing in big scrawling letters about how much I love God, obliterating the thoughts of how frustrated I am with everything else in the world.

Yes, focusing on my love for Him, and what I know from His Word about His love for me, throwing in some imagination and inferences about how heaven is going to be, is what I need to do, and perhaps I will find that for those few moments, nothing else will matter.

If I could do it in crayon on large sheets of newsprint, all the better.

But then…

“Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.” *

*Taken from Frederick M. Lehman’s “The Love Of God”
(Of note, “scrawling” is not considered a proper word. Right now, I do not care.)

Not Made for This World

CS Lewis wrote in “Mere Christianity” about the desires we have that cannot be satisfied, which led him to conclude we are not made for this world.

How science has discovered that our brains only function on a small percentage of their full capacity is a mystery to me, but if that science is correct, I wonder if the remaining potential is symbolic of something new and far superior that will be formed after we are dust scattered throughout more dust, becoming nothing so we may be recreated from scratch as a new home for the spirit that has experienced so much frustration and imperfection, and because of that experience, we will rejoice endlessly in that which is perfect.

I believe the Bible. Science, via the brains of man, has proven in various ways what was written millennia ago in it – things that were once mocked have now become evident by studies, as progress has permitted. The world is, after all, truly round.

Oh, to have all the answers in plain view, wherein I can look and see that my heartaches, doubts, and questions have full and satisfying solutions.

Meanwhile, until I see plainly and not through a glass darkly, platitudes, guesses, and excuses will be poured upon me. Sometimes they burn, sometimes they soothe, but never do they consume nor fulfill.

Acclaim, accomplishments, riches, plans, material, dreams, losses, condolences – none of it matters. If you find something that makes you happy, if it is in this world, it will end, except for one thing: love.

But love is better than anything merely of this world. Love is of GOD.

“Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”

All is vanity, but only without God is there no hope.

Love lasts forever. And it is to note that the Bible tells us God is love. That which exists in God is that which is not vain.

What I see in this life is meaningless compared to that which I will see in the presence of my Lord, when everything is viewed in the literal light of His love. To see His face and be endlessly with those who love Him as I do, for that do I now breathe.

If not for the pain that too often overwhelms me, I might have no desire for that better place.

Still, I do not want the pain.

I was not made for this world.

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