Wednesday, December 13, 2017

ADVENT, Dec 13

"A Little Carol"

"Welcome, little Brother!
Lowly, holy One!
Hail thee, Virgin Mother,
More than any other
Blessed in thy Son!

Child, since the poor manger
Once Thou didst not scorn,
Rest Thee, little Stranger,
Folded from all danger,
In our hearts newborn!

Nestle thus, we pray Thee,
In our love's caress;
Fain we are to pay Thee,
Worship, and obey Thee,
Babe, and Prince no less!

Evaleen Stein

In His fully-God and fully-manhood, He is our brother, kind and good.  But His full purpose was to live in our hearts, the pitter patter where love resides.  He makes His abode with us, whether we are of royal descent or beggar lowly homeless on the street, whether we are one of the beautiful or humbling homely in appearance, whether we are healthy and robust in body or breathing our last, whether we are a free person or a captive held behind bars, forgiven though paying our dues to society.

We do not need cathedral grand or stained glass lit windows.  But we do need a clean heart, cleansed from sin for Him to enter in.  Why a manger full of hay in a stable steaming from beasts?
It is to show how the only thing that matters is to offer a welcome to come in.

But beyond this, to eternity and back, He is waiting for us to enter into His home He has prepared for us.  It is our  standing invitation to rest in His very presence.  It is as topsy-turvy as a snow globe shaken to float the glitter down: it will be a beautifully encased scene suddenly made more attractive by being turned upside down.  Someday, the center of our worship in our heart will be shaken allowing us to float to a glittering heaven.

Have you read "My Heart-Christ's Home" by Robert Boyd Munger?  He uses the verse from Ephesians 3:16-17, "That God may grant you to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith," or as another translated, "That Christ may settle down and be at home in your hearts by faith." (Weymouth.)

Open your heart's door.

The question is, will we bend the knee to worship Him? Will we invite Him in?
There is a throne in each of our hearts.  Will we usurp the place of rule
or bow before the true King of our heart?  That is the ultimate question.

Angels sang.
Shepherds came.
They knelt in the hay
to worship Him.
Will we humble ourselves?

"Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men,
I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven."
Matthew 10:32

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

ADVENT, Dec. 14

"A Christmas Lullaby"

"Sleep, baby sleep!  The Mother sings:
Heaven's angels kneel and fold their wings.
Sleep, baby, sleep!

With swathes of scented hay Thy bed
 By Mary's hand at eve was spread.
Sleep, baby, sleep!

And three kings from the East afar,
Ere dawn  came, guided by the star.
Sleep, baby, sleep!

They brought Thee gifts of gold and gems,
Pure orient pearls, rich diadems,
Sleep, baby sleep!

Thou who liest slumbering there, 
Art King of Kings, earth, ocean, air.
Sleep, baby, sleep!

Sleep, baby, sleep!  The shepherds sing:
Through heaven, through earth, hosannas ring.
Sleep, baby, sleep!

John Addington Symonds

"King of King, earth, ocean, air"

When God came down at Christmas, it was impossible to descend without pulling in His wake,
angels with their heavenly host hosannas ringing; gold and gems, pure orient pearls, rich diadems from wisest of men; down, down, down, to shepherds brushed off their barren fields; down, down, to a stirring of hay:
Where the profound babe was found to lay.

The world has been swept in burrowing the season with all the beauty that can be scraped together.  Gasp.  Not only have I found myself caught in the down-sweeping. 

ADVENT, Dec. 12

Cradle Hymn by Isaac Watts

"Hush, my dear, lie still and slumber,
Holy angels guard thy bed;
Heavenly blessings without number
Gently falling on thy head.

Sleep, my babe, thy food and raiment,
House and home, thy friends provide;
All without thy care, or payment,
All thy wants are well supplied.

How much better thou art attended
Than the Son of God could be,
When from heaven He descended,
And became a child like thee!

Soft and easy is thy cradle'
Coarse and hard thy Saviour lay,
When His birthplace was a stable,
And His softest bed was hay

See the kindly shepherds round Him,
Telling wonders from the sky,
When they sought Him, there they found Him,
With His Virgin-mother by.

See the lovely babe a-dressing;
Lovely infant, how He smiled!
When He wept, the mother's blessing
Soothed and hushed the holy Child.

Lo, He slumbers in His manger,
Where the honest oxen fed,
Peace, my darling!  Here's no danger!
Here's no ox-near thy bed!

May'st thou live to know and fear Him,
Trust and love Him all thy days;
Then so dwell forever near Him,
See His face, sing His praise!

I could give thee thousand kisses,
Hoping what I most desire;
Not a mother's fondest wishes
Can to greater joy aspire.

This reminds me of "O, Mary Did You know," with the line,
"O, Mary did you know when you kissed your little baby, 
you kissed the face of God?"

Have you ever thought of heaven as the place where this Divine Child lives?
Of course, most imagine it with Jesus in His white robes and scars in His hands
open wide welcoming us into His presence.  But in the eyes of His Father,
He will always be that precious baby that was a twinkle in His eyes.
That will be the heavenly breath of heaven, the atmosphere of the hereafter.

God loves babies.
Babies were His idea.
His angels attend them,
and stand before the face of God...

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually
see the face of My Father who is in heaven."
Matthew 18:10

Get that?  Jesus, the only begotten of the Father,
speaks of the face of His Father
where angels continually appear
to be given orders over each of little ones

So do you get the picture of God's face adoring His Son in the manger
surrounding by a heavenly host.

Since Jesus was fully God, fully man--He was born in the way of all men, through the womb of a woman--but did He, in His fully God formation, have a sense of well-being under His heavenly Father's adoring face? 

At least, this gives us a glimpse of the heart of heaven, from the child sent to redeem us from our sin to the great value of each and every infant who is born.