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Sunday

Zzzzzz ... Time for a Long Winter's Nap

Zzzzzz ... Time for a Long Winter's Nap

Merry Christmas!

The Christmas presents have been unwrapped. The festive holiday feast is over. The carols have been sung.

And the Savior has come.

Happy Birthday, Lord! We welcome You. We celebrate Your Presence. And we thank You for entering our world to save us.

Now, who’s ready for a long winter’s nap?

A brand-new set of cozy winter pajamas awaits me. I’m putting on a pot of tea and calling it a night soon.

But first, let’s recap the Advent A to Z Challenge, in case you missed any posts:
  1. Advent: An Adventure in Faith
  2. Bethlehem bummed me out a bit
  3. Cairo’s Camels and Classic Comedy
  4. Devotion, a Dream and a Donkey
  5. Everyday Exceptions and Eternity’s Expectations
  6. Frenetically Frazzled
  7. Grateful for the Gift of Guilt?
  8. Is Ho-ho-ho a No-no-no?
  9. Incarnate and In-Person
  10. Just Joyful
  11. Kickin' It with the King of Kings
  12. Looking at a Light that Led
  13. Meat-Eaters' Manger: Mockery or Merriment?
  14. Naughty or Nice?
  15. On Oppositions and Traditions
  16. Picking Out Poinsettias and Passed-Over Prizes
  17. Quirky Creches
  18. Raging Relatives
  19. Simply Santa and the Savior
  20. Telling of Treasures
  21. U-Turns and New Year's Resolutions
  22. The Value of Vast Variety
  23. Wonderful Words for the Word of Life
  24. In Excelsis Deo
  25. Yuletide - What a Ride
  26. Zzzzzz ... Time for a Long Winter's Nap
 Merry Christmas to all. God bless us every one. And to all, a good night!

Image/s:
Sleeping Santa – Public Domain Art

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Saturday

Yuletide - What a Ride

Yuletide - What a Ride

Yodel! Yell! Come sit a spell.
For Yuletide has a tale to tell.
Beginning with a pagan fest,
This fine December day is blest.

Let’s carol on for sweet Noel.
Say, strum the harp, and ring the bell.
Our Christmas trees by now are dressed,
And pretty packages we’ve guessed.

No wonder that our spirits swell.
Our God has come with us to dwell.
No longer are we sin-oppressed.
Immanuel met God’s request.

By angel chorus, all is well.
For Christ is born, death to expel.
The Infant Lord sleeps in His nest.
May all the world find peace and rest.

So burn the Yule log; dark dispel.
Cast out all melancholy smell.
Let none be downcast or distressed,
For Christmas joy is ne’er suppressed.
c2011 by Linda Ann Nickerson. All rights reserved.

 
“Therefore the Lord himself
will give you a sign:
The virgin will conceive
and give birth to a son,
and will call him Immanuel –
God with us.”
(Isaiah 7:14, NIV)
mage/s:
Carved Nativity Set
Creative Commons Licensing

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In Excelsis Deo


In Excelsis Deo

Here we go with a “X” post 
for the Advent A to Z Challenge.
(I bet you thought 
I’d go with X-mas, 
but I won’t!)

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, the skies opened with an angelic chorus, singing “Glory to God in the highest. And on earth, peace and goodwill to men.”

Gloria! In excelsis Deo! Glory to God!

I have often wondered how it might have felt for the angels to announce the Advent of the Answer to the world’s need.

Did the heavenly hosts already know that Jesus would grow into a man and suffer a ghastly death and disgrace to pay for the world’s sin? Could they have understand even then that the Messiah would miraculously triumph over death? Were they already clued in to God’s redemptive plan?

Or were the angels simply singing in joy and adoration that the Son of the Most High had come to earth as a child, born to a virgin hand-picked by Jehovah God?

I’m no angel, but I have loved singing in choirs.

When we were kids, my siblings and I took our turns in the youth choir at our church. I loved donning the bright red robes and shiny clean white v-collars, lining up with my peers and filing into the front pews of the ornate old church.

Waiting for our turn to stand and sing our painstakingly rehearsed anthems, we would count nooks and niches in the fancy wooden railings and stare in awe and the colorful stained glass windows. We would wriggle and try not to giggle in the well-worn wooden pews.

Finally, our super-serious choral director would stand and raise his baton.

We were anything but angelic.

Every Christmas Eve, the youth choir would sing the same song.

Now, decades later, my siblings and I can evoke memories of these musical moments by simply humming a few bars of this long-lost sacred Christmas carol, based on a Latin traditional hymn.

Do you remember this one?

On This Day Earth Shall Ring
(Trans. Personent Hodie)
Music: Piae Cantiones – Gustav Holst

On this day earth shall ring
with the song children sing
to the Lord, Christ our King,
born on earth to save us;
him the Father gave us.

Id-e-o-o-o, id-e-o-o-o, id-e-o,
gloria in excelsis Deo!

His the doom, ours the mirth;
when he came down to earth,
Bethlehem saw his birth;
ox and ass beside him
from the cold would hide him.

Id-e-o-o-o, id-e-o-o-o, id-e-o,
gloria in excelsis Deo!

God's bright star, o'er his head,
Wise Men three to him led;
kneel they low by his bed,
lay their gifts before him,
praise him and adore him.

Id-e-o-o-o, id-e-o-o-o, id-e-o,
gloria in excelsis Deo!

On this day angels sing;
with their song earth shall ring,
praising Christ, heaven's King,
born on earth to save us;
peace and love he gave us.

 .
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Gloria! In excelsis Deo! Glory to God!

And Merry Christmas.



Image/s:
Children’s Choir – ClipArt Mountain
Musical Score for “Personent Hodie”– Creative Commons Licensing


Wonderful Words for the Word of Life

Wonderful Words for the Word of Life

Hallelujah. The King has come. The Infant Divine, born in Bethlehem, transformed human history with His arrival.


What a wonderful Savior.

What words define the worthy One?

Just for fun, take a look at all these WORDS that describe the One who was and is and evermore shall be. And, since I’m sticking with the Advent A to Z Challenge, all these words start with “W.”

See how many words you can find.

Wonderful One

W R V W D N R R Z S R T W J W
Z I O W E E P Y K Q H V O R I
B Q N I D L W O R T H Y R O S
U E C N R Y L M Y W R T D S D
I K O I E R W B O L N O O O O
K W S B G R A N E Z M R F U M
P E C Y I X D W T L X K L F F
S O G B A E S P K Y O E I V Y
W A T E R W A L K E R V F Y S
D O G F O D R O W R A O E Q S
C V U R K P B M W H X O E D E
Z L D G H T C E S I W O V G N
Q H X K Z U V Q Z G J I B U T
N W X A T R D R F M I N R Z I
G U B O M I Z N B O P F Q E W

WARRIOR
WATERWALKER
WAY
WELLBELOVED
WINNER
WISDOM
WISE
WITNESS
WONDER
WONDERFUL
WORD
WORDOFGOD
WORDOFLIFE
WORTHY

What other “W” words can you suggest to describe the Christ we adore at Christmas?

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Image/s:
Nativity of Christ
Public Domain Art

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The Value of Vast Variety


The Value of Vast Variety

Glancing at an overflowing platter of Christmas cookies and confections, I am struck by the seemingly unlimited selection. From brownies and bars to gingerbread kids and sugary snowmen, these treats have appeared throughout the past week or so. We baked a few ourselves, and others have come from friends and loved ones.

It’s almost impossible to choose which pretty little pastries to sample. Maybe that’s why we find ourselves tasting so many. The assortment is appealing.

I think God, the ultimate Creator, adores variety too.

Just look what He made. 

We can’t count the creatures. The plants in the ground and the stars in the sky are innumerable. And just look around at all the amazingly unique people He created.

My Christmas treats may come from an array of different cookie cutters, but God’s children do not. And here’s the most marvelous and miraculous part of all. He knows each one of us intimately, and He adores us! He thinks about us all the time.

“For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
   How vast is the sum of them!”
(Psalm 139:13-17, NIV)

The Bible says mankind was made in God’s image. We’re not altogether sure what that might look like, although we will one day see Him face to face, and then we will know. We will likely be overwhelmed and awed at the sight!

Jesus, the Child of Christmas and Messiah of mankind, came to earth as a baby and grew into a man. He walked in our world, touching people and changing lives. Then He died and rose again, stomping sin and death forever.

But what did Jesus look like in human form?

Archaeologists and forensic scientists have tried to reconstruct images of the Lord. But these have been somewhat sketchy suggestions at best.

Those of us who grew up in Sunday schools of various sorts probably peeked up at portraits of Jesus on classroom walls. We’ve seen stained glass windows in churches and fine art depictions in museums.

Throughout history, each image of Jesus has displayed its own artist’s perception of the Prince of Peace.

A few weeks ago, I was blessed by the opportunity to tour the Holy Land, where we visited the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. This famous Roman Catholic church marks the spot where many Christians believe the Virgin Mary was met by the angel of God, announcing that she would bear a son and call Him Jesus, the Savior of the world.

One of the many lovely features of this church, along with its astounding architecture, is a collection of murals from countries around the world. Each depicts the Madonna and Child, Mary and Jesus, in the artist’s own nationality.

The variety is amazing. Here are a few examples, so you can see what I mean. The Mother and Child are shown as African, Asian, Hispanic, Scandinavian, Slavic and many other ethnicities.

I loved it!

What a wonderful way to personalize our perceptions of our intimately personal Savior. The Lover of our Souls became like us to reach out to us where we are. Christ is all about connection, reconciling man to our Maker.

I can hardly wait to see Jesus face to face. I wonder exactly how He will look.

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Image/s:
Basilica of the Annunciation – Nazareth
All photos copyrighted by Linda Ann Nickerson – Nickers and Ink

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