Our Family Christmas Devotion

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Christmas Devotion 2017

Opening Hymn: O Tannenbaum

 

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter.
Du grünst nicht nur
zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree
How loyal are your needles.
You’re green not only
in the summertime,
No, also in winter when it snows.
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How loyal are your leaves/needles.

The Christmas Story

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for,
behold , I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

From Luke 2:8-14 KJV

Christmas In CHINA                    –  Sharon Haney

Christians in China celebrate by lighting their houses with beautiful paper lanterns and decorating their Christmas trees, which they call “Trees of Light,” with paper chains, paper flowers, and paper lanterns. Chinese Children hang muslin stockings and await a visit from Santa Claus, whom they call Dun Che Lao Ren (dwyn-chuh-lau-oh-run) which means “Christmas Old Man.”.

Since the vast majority of the Chinese people are not Christian, the main winter festival in China the Chinese New Year which takes place toward the end of January. Now officially called the “Spring Festival,” it is a time when children receive new clothing, eat luxurious meals, receive new toys, and enjoy firecracker displays. An important aspect of the New Year celebration is the worship of ancestors. Portraits and paintings of ancestors are brought out and hung in the main room of the home.

A Psalm of Thanksgiving-Ps 100                       – Jonathan Haney

1 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
3 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

A Christmas Devotion                              -Dad

 “So, Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going.” John 12:35

The Christmas season is a common time to feel like you are drifting through life.  Maybe you have been there too.  It has been a rough year, perhaps a turbulent few years. The hurts, pains, and disappointments of life have caused you just to drift; having no clear objective.  Have you lost your way?  Is your head up in a cloud and your faith in a fog?  December is the time you look at your past disappointments.  As you peak into the new year instead of a sense of anticipation, you only get stressed. The future produces doubt and worry.

To be honest, there are plenty of reasons for us to have doubt and uncertainty as we finish 2017 and begin 2018.  Will, the economy continue at these record levels or will it come crashing down around us?  Will I have a job five months from now?  Can I count on my health remaining intact? These concerns are real and things to be stressed about, to have doubts about the future.  What will my options be six months from now?  Will the options be any good?  Sometimes the options are the frying pan or the fire. I am so thankful to live in the land of freedom of choice, but sometimes both opportunities for your future are bad.  Consider the voters of my home state, Louisiana.  One year they had to vote for a new governor.  Edwin Edwards, a crook or David Duke, who had been the leader of the Ku Klux Klan.  What a choice!   I saw a bumper sticker that said, “Vote for the crook.  Better a lizard than a wizard.”

Dark days of doubt.  The one who walks in the dark doesn’t know where they are going.  Have you ever felt like that?  What does my future hold?  Where am I headed?  You’re in a fog.

God will guide me when I’m doubtful.

When I’m confused, and I don’t know which way to go.  John 8:12 “Jesus said, I am the Light f the world.  So, if you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through darkness, for living light will flood your path.'”

What are you worried about?  What has got you uptight?  What is it that is keeping you awake at night, keeping your stomach churning?  You’re going to have to make some significant decisions in 2018.  I don’t know what they are and you don’t either.  But I guarantee you; you will have to make some major decisions in the year to come.

On what basis are you going to make those major decisions?  “I thought/felt it was the right thing to do?”  Feelings are highly unreliable.  You might have just eaten a bad pizza the night before.  It’s not a good way to make decisions just on feelings. “Everybody else is doing it” is not a very good reason either. The majority is often wrong.

When you face doubts, there is a reliable source that you know will always give you the right advice and never steer you in the wrong direction.  Is there any place in the world you can get that kind of help?

Yes.  It’s called God’s word.  It won’t steer you the wrong way. “For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.” Psalm 18:28

God is the only reliable guide for life. His word is a flashlight.  It illuminates.  It keeps you from stumbling, helps you to see things.

May God show up in the midst of your doubts.  I would leave you with this poem.  It inspired me; perhaps it will you as well.

Let me meet you on the mountain, Lord,

Just once.

You wouldn’t have to burn a whole bush.

Just a few smoking branches

And I would surely be …your Moses.

 

Let me meet you on the water, Lord,

Just once.

It wouldn’t have to be on White Rock Lake.

Just on a puddle after the annual Dallas rain

 

And I would surely be…your Peter.

Let me meet you on the road, Lord,

Just once.

You wouldn’t have to blind me on North Central Expressway.

 

Just a few bright lights on the way to chapel

And I would surely be…your Paul.

Let me meet you, Lord,

Just once.

Anywhere. Anytime.

Just meeting you in the Word is so hard sometimes

Must I always be…your Thomas?

Norman Shirk, April 10, 1981, KQ (Dallas Seminary)

Prayer                                                     -Mitchell

The Gift of Gifts from The Valley of Vision

O source of all good,
What shall I render to you for the gift of gifts,
your own dear Son?

Herein is wonder of wonders:
he came below to raise me above,
was born like me that I might become like him.

Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to him he draws near on wings of grace,
to raise me to himself.

Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart,
he united them in indissoluble unity,
the uncreate and the created.

Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to him,
and no intellect to devise recovery,
he came, God-incarnate, to save me to the uttermost,
as man to die my death,
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me!

O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and enlarge my mind!

Let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father!

Place me with ox, donkey, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemer’s face,
and in him account myself delivered from sin!

 

Let me with Simeon clasp the newborn child to my heart,
embrace him with undying faith,
exulting that he is mine and I am his!

In him you have given me so much that heaven can give no more.

Closing Song Melody

  1. The first Nowell the Angel1 did say
    Was to three poor Shepherds in fields as they lay.1b
    In fields where they lay keeping2 their sheep,
    In a cold winter’s night that was so deep.3

Chorus
Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell.
Born is the King of Israel.

  1. They looked up and saw a star
    Shining in the East, beyond them far,
    And to the earth it gave great light,
    And so it continued, both day and night. Chorus
  2. And by the light of that same Star
    Three Wise Men came from country far,
    To seek for a King was their intent,
    And to follow the Star wherever it went. Chorus
  3. This Star drew nigh to the North West;
    O’er Bethlehem it took it’s rest.
    And there it did both stop and stay,
    Right4 over the place where Jesus lay. Chorus
  4. Then did they know assuredly5
    Within that house, the King did lie
    One entered in then for to see
    And found the babe in poverty. Chorus
  5. Then enter’d in those Wise Men three,
    Full reverently upon their knee,
    And offer’d there, in his presence,
    Their gold, and myrrh, and frankincense. Chorus

 

  1. Joy to the world! The Lord is come:
    Let earth receive her King,
    Let every heart prepare him room,
    And heaven and nature sing.
  2. Joy to the earth! The Saviour reigns:
    Let men their songs employ;
    While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
    Repeat the sounding joy.
  3. No more let sin and sorrow grow,
    Nor thorns infest the ground:
    He comes to make His blessings flow
    Far as the curse is found.
  4. He rules the world with truth and grace,
    And makes the nations prove
    The glories of his righteousness
    And wonders of his love.

 

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