I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
This carol is based on a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Christmas Day in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. It was written not only during a time of darkness and strife for the country but in Longfellow’s personal life as well. Two years earlier he had lost his wife to a fire. In early 1863 his son joined the Union army against his wishes and was severely wounded in November in the Battle of Mine Run. The words of this carol reflect the hope that God brings even in troubled times. Enjoy this version by Casting Crowns.
3 Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
Each morning like clockwork, the sun comes in our kitchen window. On cloudy and rainy days, we know the sun has risen because we have faith in God's time clock. Over the last twenty years, Pauline and I have read a morning devotion from Daily Guidepost We acknowledge the power of God to guide and inspire us through the words of our faith-filled friends.
When we acknowledge the power and greatness of our God, the darkness of life is only a challenge to meet. During Advent, our faith provides us the Hope of a new world. The Son has Come!!!
Pray with us:
Creator God, hear our prayer. Our creation is Awesome. As we ponder the intricacy and power of the sun and the marvel of the rain cycle, help us get closer to a personal understanding of our faith. As we acknowledge You in worship and practice may the world see through us the real Hope of the world, Jesus Christ born and risen. Amen.
(Reflection and Prayer by Wayne Reisberg)
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel is a hymn that merges 9th-century antiphons (short chants) with a 15th-century French melody. The first verse in the linked video is the style of singing you would have heard in a 15th-century church, a few men all in unison with no harmony. It is the quintessential Advent hymn. It expresses a longing for the coming of the messiah, calling back to the scriptures as it addresses him by a different title in every verse.
7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Advent begins! Usually, in the fall season, I feel different things. While other American friends and neighbors enjoy this time of Thanksgiving with their families, I miss my families in South Korea and my sister in Toronto Canada. So, I mostly miss my people than enjoying time together with them. ‘Missing them’ sounds a more appropriate feeling to me. However, it does not mean that I am sad because I can still talk with them and give them a call, and facetime as well.
I believe during the Advent season, God teaches me the same thing. Sometimes I feel a bit disconnected and distracted due to all of the unexpected happenings in my life. From time to time, I have trusted myself, my plan, my idea, and my ability more than God’s grace. But I know, only in God, I can find eternal peace and comfort.
So, now I can testify all the generous works that God has done for me. Most of all, I speak out to the world that I trust in God, and I am so glad that God loves me and gives me eternal life. So, pray with me and speak out with me this Advent season, “Lord, thank you!”
Pray with us:
Gracious and loving God, now Advent season begins. I appreciate your gracious work and endless love. Most of all, you have never forgotten me or ignored my request. How can I, such a silly man, know and understand your eternal plan and love? But lord, I trust in you. I trust your plan and I will follow your ways. Teach me your words and let me faithfully focus on your message. Thank you, Lord, pour out your blessings to me. Amen.
(Prayer by Steven Cho)
Today’s Bible verse:
2 Corinthians 4:15-16
15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Pray with us:
God of Grace and God of Glory hear our prayer. As your believers let us give thanksgiving in our distresses and prosperity so that your Grace will shine to the World. When our spirits sink under the weight of fatigue (covid), responsibilities, sorrow, and things seem falling to pieces. Lift us with your unfailing Grace that when our body fails, our spirits will be lifted like the wings of an eagle. God of Grace we exalt and praise you with thanksgiving. Amen
(Prayer by Wayne Reisberg)