Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Are you ready for Christmas?

Sitting in the dentist chair at our local hospital the dentist, while waiting for the anaesthetic to take effect, asked the question “are you ready for Christmas?”  my reply to him was “No!”.  I explained to him that we have a large family and that our movements around the various houses over the Christmas period is determined by our family.  The giving of gifts at Christmas can be very time consuming in obtaining the perfect gift for those we love.  Shopping malls are crowded with potential customers seeking out the bargains and the most useful and attractive items available.  Little children can be more interested in the wrapping and box of a gift than the actual gift inside, but it is not long before they realise that there is a gift and the wrapping is dispensed with in haste.  Some gifts, if they are toys, perhaps do not last very long when bits of plastic break off and render the toy useless.  Often the best gifts that children receive last for years and some, like the cuddly teddy bear can continue through to adulthood.  A practice that has developed in our homes is to place Christmas gifts under the Christmas tree to be opened on Christmas morning.  Children are warned not to open the packages but cannot resist feeling the gifts and trying to determine what the package holds for them. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas 2019 - The Word

The Gospel of John presents the Lord Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God and as “the Word”.  In John ch 1 v1& 2 he said, “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God”.  He uses this title on four occasions each one directing us to a specific location.  In the verse above he directs us to heaven and the pre-incarnate existence of the Son, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. John ch 1 verse 18 says “no man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared Him.”  And John 4 v 24 “God is a Spirit”

Friday, December 20, 2019

What present will you be content with this Christmas?

I think I am quite a contented person. My Christmas present list is usually non - existent, and when asked, I struggle to think of things I really need. Maybe this is because I am so well looked after that I have very little need for anything.

If you were given the choice of any gift I wonder what it would be? The ancient king of Israel, Solomon, when given the choice asked for wisdom. Most of us would like to be wiser, to live well and to make less mistakes.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

One of the things that I really love about this time of year is the music. I mean all of it, I love all the songs but particularly the Christmas Carols.

We sing the same songs, year after year, and the words get stuck in our heads; we can often recite the words without even thinking about it. 

Many people attend Carol Services and Concerts and while a wide range of songs are sung the majority are still Carols. The words of the Carols can teach us a lot about the message of Christmas. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Without Christ, Christmas is nothing!

If there is no Christ - there is no Christmas! Which is why are Christians are so convinced that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Why you might ask, it's an excellent question.

Our belief is laid on a very solid foundation. First of all we believe in divine revelation not just human discovery. In fact to learn about something outside of our sphere of experience we all accept we need information from a trustworthy source. If you are serious about discovering the truth - check the Bible out. It is a trustworthy source. Read it, check it's sources, speak to those who believe it, look at it 's accuracy in every sphere it touches. There can only be one answer to the question of the origin of a book that was written over one thousand five hundred years by forty different authors, many of whom did not even know each other. The Bible is God's message to mankind.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Joy & Sadness - the offering of Christmas

Joy and sorrow are opposite emotional experiences that all of us know throughout our lifetime. Life is like a tapestry of bright and dark colours and often the bright parts shine the brighter when set against a dark background. 

I am reminded of Benjamin Malachi Franklin’s poem ‘Just a Weaver’, 

O holy night - Carol Lyrics

O holy night! 
The stars are brightly shining 
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth! 
Long lay the world in sin and error pining 
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth. 
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices 
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn! 

Fall on your knees 
O hear the angel voices 
O night divine 
O night when Christ was born 
O night divine 
O night, O night divine

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming 
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand 
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming 
Here come the wise men from Orient land 
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger 
In all our trials born to be our friend. 


Truly He taught us to love one another 
His law is love and His gospel is peace 
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother 
And in His name all oppression shall cease 
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, 
Let all within us praise His holy name.


I was walking through Belfast International Airport, entering   W H Smith’s when I caught the words of this Carol being played over the airwaves. For a Christian, it is great to hear the message of Christ being played in public places. At this time of the year, amidst the mixed messages of the fairytale Christmas, the message of the birth of Christ and its true meaning still gets a fair hearing. 

As I read the lyrics of this Carol and pondered them I was struck again by the clarity of the message the writer injected into the words.


Friday, December 06, 2019

No room for Jesus

I wonder if you have ever thought about how unpopular Jesus was in his day. The impression we get at times is that he was loved by everyone right up until his rejection by the Jewish authorities, his prosecution by the Roman authorities and his ultimate death of crucifixion.

From the early days of his time on earth the Lord Jesus was excluded and rejected. 

There is quite a considerable period (from age 12-30) where we have very little information about the behaviour and activities of the Lord Jesus but we do have the commentary of God, the Father, when he publicly spoke from heaven (which was a very unusual thing to do) and said the he was delighted with His Son. 
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