Christmas Moments: Carol Your Way to Worship

Have you ever caroled your way to worship? I have. And one of the best ways I know to enter into sweet moments of personal worship is through singing the carols of Christmas.

As the season gets started, I urge you to find a hymnal or a songbook of classic Christmas carols and choose one to sing each day in your quiet moments with God. You probably know many of these long-time favorites by heart, but I encourage you to find the words written out somewhere so you can sing all the verses. I promise you will find treasure you have forgotten about or never knew was there.

Several years ago while singing “O Holy Night!” during one of my personal worship times, the Lord ministered such encouragement to me through the last half of the second verse—the verse that is usually left out when we sing it in groups or hear it performed. How grateful I am I didn’t leave it out as I sang privately to him that Christmas season.

Join me today, won’t you, and carol your way to worship this holiday season. Here is “O Holy Night!” to get you started (text by John S. Dwight; melody by Adolphe Adam). May the King of kings minister to your heart as you sing to him!

“O holy night! the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;
Fall on your knees, Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand;
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend;
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King, before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace;
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother,
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name;
Christ is the Lord, Oh, praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim.”

“Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness . . .” Psalm 96:9 NIV

*Which carol would you like to sing next as you carol your way to worship?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out early this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*I hope this slightly revised encore post from Nov. 2011 blessed you today!

*Flickr photo by infomasternCreative Commons License

Season of Anticipation

5387409984_a2e741f923_z*Giveaway winner announced below!

Ah, the days leading up to Christmas… Such a season of anticipation. We find ourselves looking forward to many things with excitement — visits with family and friends, giving our loved ones special gifts, indulging in our favorite holiday treats, helping make Christmas a little merrier for a hurting soul, or carrying out our well-loved traditions. We each could add our own personally anticipated events to the list, couldn’t we?

I pray that reflecting on the coming of our Savior and time spent worshiping Him will be at the very center of our season of anticipation this year. Let’s take time each day to celebrate the fact that our Savior was indeed born so many years ago. Let’s not wait until Christmas Eve to begin our Christmas worship.

One good way to do this is with music. As you sing the carols of Christmas this holiday season, truly think about the message of each verse. With songs that have become so familiar, it’s easy to merrily sing along but fail to actually hear the messages of the carols with our hearts. Let’s not miss those messages this year. Let’s sing with our hearts.

There’s no better time to start than now. Join me in hearing afresh the message of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” as we sing our worship today! (This is one of several versions of the Latin hymn, author unknown.)

“O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high,
Who ordered all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!”

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matthew 1:23 KJV

*What special things are you anticipating this Christmas season?

*The winner of the Kick Off the Holiday Giveaway is . . .  Joanna! Congrats and Merry Christmas, Joanna! I’ll put your copy of Mother of the Bride along with the Starbucks gift card in the mail today!

*Hope you enjoyed this encore presentation of one of my December 2010 blog posts!

*Flickr photo by johanneschnelldorfer, Creative Commons License

Undone by the Gift of Our Savior

4161935408_9b02a46dd9_zLast year at this time, my husband Don was enduring a season of pain like he’d never known before. On November 15, 2014, he fell roof-high from a ladder and fractured his spine in eight places. He was laid up at home for almost two months before he could attempt a return to a modified work schedule. He needed pain medication on a regular basis for a while. It was rough.

One day during December while I had a favorite Christmas cd playing and “Joy to the World” was wafting through the air, I went in to check on Don and he was crying. He was completely undone by the gift of our Savior.

He said, “He could have come down from the cross. He could have come down. But he stayed. He suffered. For me.” Because of the pain Don had been enduring, the fact that Jesus came to earth to die a painful death to pay for our sins took on a whole new level of meaning for him. Our “Joy to the World” came at a great cost. A cost Jesus was willing to pay.

As we listen to and sing the carols of Christmas this year, let’s listen and sing as if it’s the first time we’ve heard or sung them. Let’s be touched afresh by them. Let’s come undone by the gift of our Savior.

Why not start with “Joy to the World”? I’ll print the words below. Let’s glory in its message together today!

“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 heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.”
*lyrics by Isaac Watts

*Has a carol of Christmas ever taken on special meaning for you?

*Flickr photo by jeffweese, Creative Commons License