‘Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming’

This "Twelfth Night" German carol combines the story of Luke 1-2 and Matthew 2 with Isaiah's prophecies about the "rose" from the "stem of Jesse." Stanzas 1 and 2 combine folklore ("amid the colds of winter" and Christological interpretation of Isaiah 11:1 and 35:1-2....

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‘Hark! the Herald Angels Sing’

In 1739, Charles Wesley's poem beginning "Hark! how all the welkin rings/Glory to the King of Kings" appeared in Hymns and Sacred Poems. Initially the words were paired with a slow, solemn tune. A co-worker changed the opening to "Hark! the herald angels sing..." A...

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‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’

This should be familiar, and it’s such a gentle, encouraging, confidence-inspiring carol. Emmanuel…God with us. "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" by John Mason Neale. O come, O come, Emmanuel And ransom captive Israel That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God...

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‘Silent Night’

I cannot get enough of CHRISTmas songs. They instantly cheer me and inspire me to sing. So, if you don’t mind, I’m going to spend the remainder of 2017 focusing on CHRISTmas songs and the beautiful meaning behind them. Let’s start with the most familiar CHRISTmas...

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Spiritual gifts

Have you ever taken a spiritual gifts test? They can be enlightening. God gives gifts to each of His children, abilities beyond the “norm,” and He has a purpose in the gift. He knows that when we utilize the gift to benefit others, we will experience satisfaction....

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The ultimate gift

Salvation…the ultimate gift. With salvation comes forgiveness of every wrongdoing regardless of how heinous or reprehensible. With salvation comes the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, God’s very presence within us. With salvation comes a promise: eternal life with God...

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Hymn day: ‘Joy to the World!’

HYMN DAY! “Joy to the World!” by Isaac Watts. There is no greater gift than Emmanuel, God With us! Sing this in praise and adoration. Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing, And...

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Behind the gift

One of the things I greatly appreciate about God is His ability to look on the heart. It might seem intimidating to think that He sees our secret motives—we can’t hide anything from Him!—but it’s mostly comforting. When we give things that seem to have little value in...

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A forever gift

In front of my living room window, a decorated CHRISTmas tree stands proud. Beneath its branches are an array of brightly wrapped packages. I love giving gifts (a practice I learned from my dad, who is the ultimate gift-giver), and it’s particularly fun to give the...

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Always there

Choosing to live for God is not an insurance policy against unhappiness or heartache. As a matter of fact, choosing to live for God opens us to a host of ill-treatment, misunderstanding, and difficulty. This world rejected Christ; as His followers, we should expect...

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Faithfulness beyond description

I bet each of us can think of someone who got angry with us about something, held onto the grudge, and forever changed the relationship. Even apologies aren’t enough for some who seem to enjoy harboring anger and resentment. Thank goodness God is not like that! When...

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