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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

O Come All Ye Faithful

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"Joyful And Triumphant"

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds" (Titus 2:11-14).

O Come All Ye Faithful
This last Sunday afternoon we held a service at Longwood Manor, a local Personal Care home. We are part of a rotating team that provides services each Sunday afternoon for these residents, who for the most part are no longer able to get out and attend their own church. However they sure love their church service and we are blessed to see not only the residents, but a number of family members as well.

They come out in various degrees of impairment common to the aged; walkers, wheelchairs, oxygen. Some are frail in their memory, but they sure do sing out the familiar songs of Christ's birth, many of them songs they have sung since they were youngsters.

We normally associate the Christmas story with the young; Mary, Joseph, and the baby, Jesus. But there are two older people in the Christmas story; one implicit and the other explicit. We assume Simeon is old since he had waited for the "consolation of Israel" and after seeing Christ he was ready to die. (Luke 2:25-35). The other was Anna, an old prophetess whose specific age of 84 is revealed, something not all women would appreciate! (Luke 2:36-38).

The "consolation of Israel" that Simeon looked forward to was the first advent or the first coming of the Lord, a longstanding Old Testament promise that the devout had anticipated for many generations. Many, of course, died without seeing the fulfillment of this prophesy but a select group including Simeon and Anna, were among those alive when Jesus came the first time. Not only were they alive but they, along with a description of their devotion, is included in the birth narrative of our Savior. I'm heartened by this fact; people of every age are vital to God's kingdom.

Now for 2000 years we have been among those who look back to the first advent and joyfully anticipate the second. Each generation has wondered if they might be among those who are alive at the second coming of the Lord. We look back with certainty of faith in the fulfillment of God's promise in sending the Messiah to this earth. We now look forward with anticipatory faith at the Promise of His second coming. Today's text alludes to both comings:
"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men", "looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."

As I looked out on our Longwood Manor congregation this last Sunday afternoon I saw their joy and heard the triumphant expressions of the residents. I considered that one day we will gather looking back on both comings. Our abode will not be in a nursing home or any place where we are impaired by the physical human nature. Our setting will be in heaven, a place where we will never grow old. We will have our glorified bodies "and so we shall always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

O Come All Ye Faithful Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I rejoice in the blessing that we are not still waiting for the consolation of Israel, but were born after Christ came into the world to save us. Though there are many promises in Scripture yet to be fulfilled the most important has been answered in the birth, death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. We are now among those who look "for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." We look back and give thanks for Christ's birth. We look forward and cry out, "Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus, come!"

The original Latin text consisted of four stanzas. The first calls us to visualize anew the infant Jesus in Bethlehem's stable. The second stanza is usually omitted in most hymnals, but it reminds us that the Christ child is very God Himself:

God of God and Light of Light begotten,
Lo, He abhors not the Virgin's womb;
Very God, begotten, not created-
O come, let us adore Him.

Christmas Newsletter
We welcome our daily encouragement readers to read our 2012 Weber family Christmas letter (pdf)

Cherry pie  for Christmas dinner!
We shared a delicious Christmas dinner yesterday including Brooksyne's homemade pies, something she enjoys putting together since she simply opens a quart of her homemade fruit fillings
. As she says during canning season, "It's a mess now, but the payoff comes during the winter months." Ester selected Apple Pie and I selected Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (as pictured). We have some leftover should you want to stop by. We are getting a nice snowfall as we prepare to publish our message today!

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources

"O Come All Ye Faithful"  Video  University of Mobile - Outstanding!

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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