Joy to the world!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing.
*

Thank you, Jesus,

… for coming

… for dying

… for rising from the grave

… for making blessings flow

… for the glories of your righteousness

… for wonders of your love

… for the wonders of your love

… for the wonders, wonders of your love!

Merry Christmas!

Boldog Karácsonyt! (that’s in Hungarian!)

May the Prince of Peace flood you with His peace!

Jesus is here!
Liz

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love.

* by Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

Redeeming grace

Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth. *

In a world (and sometimes my heart) where resentment, discontent, anger, frustration, and ugly attitudes can abound, redeeming grace is an amazing gift that soothes my soul.

He redeems, renews, and refreshes …. God does it and then does it again.

and again and again.

God’s well does not run dry. He sent Jesus to restore, renew, redeem, remove, reveal, renovate, refresh, repair, reclaim, and replenish.

Some days I feel like I am a full time job for God! Of course, He is bigger than me and my flailings. He holds onto me while I argue and complain. He restores my soul. His redeeming grace is steadfast and true.

Redeeming grace.

Redeeming grace.

Redeeming grace.

Come, Lord Jesus!
Liz

*by Joseph Mohr, 1792-1848

All is calm…

Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing, Alleluia.
Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!
*

For some of us, everything is ready and the house is relatively calm. But for others, there is a lot of last minute hustle on tap for today.

It all depends on what is happening in life at the moment. And yet, it is important to press the pause button and choose calm. I prefer less hustle, but that probably has to do with how busy things have been for the last six weeks helping everyone else get their Christmas gifts in order due to our business. It is a wonderful change in pace to go from long working days to just shipping out a package or two a day and spending more time with the kids and grandkids.

Nearly all is calm here in my neck of the woods. We don’t host a huge dinner because we don’t have the space. That’s okay with me because these limitations contribute to my calm. They also limit my distraction from the true celebration here. The gifts and family time are fun and precious. But…

Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!

When I ponder these words, the what is and what isn’t in my life takes a back seat. Christ, the Savior, is born! Christ, the gift for the whole world, is here. His salvation is a gift for me. And this so very personal gift from God is an incredible treasure to me.

Christ, my Savior, is born.

Come, Lord Jesus!
Liz

*by Joseph Mohr, 1792-1848

The Prince was born to bring your peace…

All you, beneath your heavy load,
By care and guilt bent low,
Who toil along a dreary way
With painful steps and slow:
Look up, for golden is the hour,
Come swiftly on the wing,
The Prince was born to bring your peace;
Of him the angels sing. *

Wow. The imagery of this verse is so strong. I see this person trudging along, weighed down by the situations and circumstances of life. All burdens are not created equal. And a heavy burden on the backs of two different people can look very different because everyone’s ability to carry burdens is different and how people “wear their burdens” is just as various. And, we don’t always know the whole story. We only see a small portion of the whole story.

But … the Prince was born to bring your peace!

Alleluia!

The sizes of our burdens vary greatly but they are burdens nonetheless. Even a small burden can appear to loom large depending on what else is going on. Today, I thank Jesus for being the Prince of my peace. He is the one who can calm the raging sea and calm the storm in me.

This life is always full of challenges and burdens. But I look to the one who came to give me His peace.

Come, Lord Jesus!
Liz

*By: Edmund H. Sears

Over all the weary world

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
Over all the weary world.
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever over its babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

The world is weary on many fronts.

And if I am too weary myself, I am of no use to others. It is important that I pace myself so that I have the time to help provide a meal, a word of encouragement, or some kind of help to those in need. Some of those among us have heavier burdens to bear and it is a good thing — even a God thing, to share a burden. When I am feeling discouraged about any circumstance in my life, I don’t have to look very far to find others who are in a much, much more difficult situation.

Who is weary in your life? Do you have an opportunity to provide relief? Can you be more mindful of their situation and offer assistance, prayers, and/or encouragement in some way?

Come, Lord Jesus!
Liz

* By: Edmund H. Sears

Solemn Stillness

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to all,
From heaven’s all gracious king.”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.
*

It is difficult for me to carve out a chunk of time for solemn stillness, especially during the Christmas season. Our retail business is so very busy in November and December. This year was especially busy which was why I decided to do PrayerPoints for Advent. It isn’t that I needed one more thing to do, I needed to do this very particular thing.

I needed set aside time to consider the coming “all gracious king”. I needed to find some peace and calm in my day.

It works!

What I gain from “giving up” this time (I could be working on any number of business things) is a peace that extends through me all day. And I do appreciate that I wake up each morning, anticipating where God will take this devotional time. What I say in PrayerPoints may not be profound to you because I don’t always find the best words to express what God is doing in my heart.

I am so very thankful for His peace in my life. I encourage you to make time to enjoy His gift of peace today.

Come, Lord Jesus!
Liz

* By: Edmund H. Sears

Hark! The herald angels sing

Hail, the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”
*

We don’t use the word hark so much these days. But I could benefit from listening more. One of the things I love about this time of year is that there are so many reminders, mainly through song, of the Prince of Peace.

Even those who are struggling with their faith.

They hear the songs all over the radio. They might catch a line here or there that gives them something to ponder. These hymns have some great messages tucked inside.

Hark!

There are so many amazing Christmas hymns that are broadcast all over the radio and in stores. I love that it is the background music but I also need to let the messages come to the forefront and penetrate my heart. Thinking about some of these hymns, verse by verse, helps them sink in just a little more. I love to read a verse and then find one thing that strikes me in that verse and ruminate on it.

Do you have a favorite Christmas hymn?

Come, Lord Jesus!
Liz

* Words written by Charles Wesley 1707-88