It’s been a tough couple of weeks. Well, honestly I’ve spent much of this year riding the roller coaster from discouragement, uncertainty, anger, and pain to hope, optimism and faith and back around again. The most recent instance has just been another circumstance which brought pain and worry.
A few days ago, I’d looked up Bible verses about worry and anxiety and was punched in the gut with Philippians 4:6 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” I am always thankful for God’s grace when a verse like that lays me out flat. While I pray often, I also fail regularly to “not be anxious.”
The following day, I really didn’t want my worries and fears to consume all my thoughts as they had been doing. As I brought all of that to the Lord in prayer that morning, many things ran through my head. My need to repent and confess of my sins of worry, and control and fear was a large part of it, and it was in that time of prayer I finally realized all those were symptoms of having placed my faith in myself regarding the situation rather than placing it in God. Again, ouch.
I picked up our Christmas tree last night, so I’m in a Christmas-y mood. That might be obvious with some, but not all, of this Don’t Miss List:
Rev. Kevin DeYoung pleads with pastors: Don’t cancel Sunday services for Christmas!
I LOVE THIS! As someone who loves Christmas Eve service but usually has to miss it in order to see all my cousins at our family party, I often wish more churches still held Christmas Day services (yes — that used to be a thing). Since this year, Christmas falls on a Sunday I really want to find a service to attend.
I greatly appreciated DeYoung’s letter here and the reasons he gives for not cancelling Christmas Sunday services at your church.
Here’s one of them: “It’s Christmas for crying out loud! It’s the day we celebrate the incarnation, the birth of the Messiah, the entrance into our world of the second Person of Trinity. Don’t we want to sing? Don’t we want to celebrate? Don’t we want to preach and praise and pray?”
I do want to sing and celebrate and hear the word. Pastors, please know that some of us really do want to be in your church this Christmas!
I was scanning youtube for a version of the incredible hymn, Amazing Grace. I found this gem:
Today a friend shared this post from Our Daily Bread, about the origin of the song, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by one of my favorite poets: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Continue reading
Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” — Matthew 28 1-7 (ESV)
Today’s song was written by the prolific hymn writer and poet Fanny Crosby. Continue reading
Once again I’m just a little bit late posting this. Although we all have favorite carols that most of us know by heart there are apparently many, many more songs that we don’t get exposed to. So today I’ve chosen one of those — a song I’ve never heard before. Continue reading