how faint a whisper

glimpses of God in a heaven-crammed earth

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true repentance

I was reading in a book of Christian poetry this morning the words to several poems that have been set to music and become popular Christmas songs, as is the case with many hymns. And as is often also the case, one poem contained a verse I have never sung, or even heard before, and its message is beautiful. The poem, originally by James Montgomery and first published in Scotland in 1816, is called Nativity, but the hymn title is drawn from its first line, “Angels, from the realms of glory.”

I have to admit, its never been a Christmas song I’ve noticed much. Continue reading

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IMG_4227A word, and a theme, that runs its way through a number of Christmas songs is that of peace. It’s a popular word, really, and one that even those without faith in our society can latch onto, especially at Christmas-time, and proclaim as a good thing. And true peace is a good thing, undoubtedly, though what society means by proclaiming peace at this season, and what Christians mean, are two very different things. Peace is not¬†synonymous¬†with happiness. It is not having no difficulty in life. It is also not simply getting along with your neighbors and passing out cookies and speaking to long lost relatives again. The reason we as Christians talk about peace at Christmas time specifically is because it’s a promise. It’s a promise that is not yet fully realized, but which the birth of Christ was the beginning of fulfilling. Isaiah chapter nine’s familiar prophecy is one of the passages that makes this connection most clearly,

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end… Continue reading

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christmas words

I’m just starting to get involved with helping lead a youth group. It’s a pretty cool thing, one I’m excited about for a number of reasons. But more about that will have to wait for another post. Maybe. We’ll see.

But anyway…the youth leader of this group just recently began a teaching series called “Christmas words.” Now, what he means by this is taking words we hear at church around Christmastime that are not exactly in widespread circulation through the average high school hallways. Last week’s word, for example, was incarnation, and as part of pointing out where this word shows up he had us sing a couple verses of Hark the Harold Angels Sing, focusing in on the line “Hail the Incarnate Deity!” Continue reading