The Angels’ Song for 2020

 

Searching His Word, Seeking His Heart

Before we put away the decorations and “de-ornament” the tree, let’s take a last look at a carol that we don’t sing as often—”It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”. 

My first thought was, What came at midnight? I discovered that it was the song. What song? The angel’s song, of course. Now we don’t know that Jesus’ birth was at midnight, but it was at night.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Luke 2:8

The carol pictures these angels coming close to the earth from their heavenly reign to sing this song, accompanied by their harps. Small harps were quite common for accompanying the psalms. Remember, David was a harp player!

We read in Revelation about John’s vision of the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders falling down before the Lamb (Jesus).

Each one had a harp…. Revelation 5:8

             

It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old, from angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold.

“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men from heavens all gracious King!” The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing.

Of all the music in the world, I can’t imagine that any other would be more glorious than this very one with all the heavenly host of angels joining in. Their exact text was….

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14

          

The song is two-fold—our praise to God and His peace to us. What a song to carry with us!

In another verse, the author, Edmund H. Sears, wrote of the crushing loads, toil, and pain we bear in this life. Each of us have experienced our unique share of loads this year, but the carol compels us to look for the the ways the Lord has lifted us and carried us during the hard times and to remember the peace, the rest that He brought us in spite of those difficult times.

Look at your year. Think of the angels’ song.

O ye beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low, who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow;

Look now, for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing; oh rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing.  

As we look toward a new year, let us carry the two-fold angels’ song with us—our praise to God, His peace to us; to us on whom His favor rests. Not to everyone, only those who call upon Him and believe in Him.

Inhale His peace, exhale anxiety. Inhale His peace, exhale worry. Inhale His peace, exhale confusion. Inhale His peace, exhale ______ . You fill in the blank. Stopping to literally do this exercise about four times brings amazing calm and causes our focus to be on Him, not self.

Carry the angels’ song with you all year. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’

Blessings to you as you move into 2020.

~ Joyce ~

 

 

 

 

 

Prince of Peace

          

     Searching His Word, Seeking His Heart

We found last week that Matthew gives the lineage of Jesus from Abraham to the father of Joseph, “the husband of Mary.” (See Son of David

This week, we look at the lineage by Luke, given in reverse order, and all the way back to Adam. Likely Luke, a Gentile, would find identity in that Adam is the father of us all. But there is a discrepancy in this list. David back to Abraham, is the same in both accounts, but from Jesus to David, nothing is the same.

So what do we do with that? Luke states that Jesus was…

…the son, so it was thought, of Joseph. Luke 3:23

Many scholars believe that Luke gave the lineage from Mary’s side. It still goes back to David but through David’s son, Nathan, rather than Solomon. Either way, Jesus was the Son of David as was prophesied in the Old Testament.

In addition, he was born in the town of David—Bethlehem. It is interesting to think that those hills around Bethlehem, where David watched his sheep and spent time praying, were the very same hills where future shepherds would see an angel with the brilliant glory of the Lord shining around them. Remember, the angel said,

“I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths [swaddled up tight] and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12

Could it be any more thrilling to these lowly shepherds?

Oh, but there’s more! Suddenly the angel is joined by a whole host of heavenly angels. Imagine a sky full. That, my friends, is the great welcoming of the Savior. How glorious! They joyfully sing their text together.

“Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14

Two ideas—praise to God and peace for people, people who have found their way to God.

Fast forward to 2019. We’re still reading these glorious words. We’re still celebrating and rejoicing over His blessed coming. The world jumps on the band wagon with us but tries to dilute its impact with frivolous, mushy, secular influences, yet we cling to the heart of these powerful words.

We must praise God our Father and God His Son with all our hearts for therein we find our peace.

Peace, even with the extras at Christmas. For me personally, that means finding peace in the midst of selling a house, packing up, and moving to our new house. Yes, in the middle of December! With seven grandchildren and their parents coming. You have your set of distractions as well, but may we intentionally make time to be still, hear the angel voices, and give praise for the God-man’s birth.

… he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

~ Joyce ~

Christmas – Praise from the Heavenly Host

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

Before we come to the main event, let’s not forget poor Joseph who seems lost in all of the comings and goings. He’s heard that Mary is “to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:18), a story he can’t quite buy into. Joseph is left to ponder these things during the three months Mary is away at Elizabeth’s house.

What are we told about Joseph? 

1. Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph (Matt. 1:18), which means they were legally bound but not yet living together. 

2. Joseph was a righteous man. Matt. 1:19

3. He did not want to expose her to public disgrace and had in mind to divorce her quietly. (Matt. 1:19) He could have signed the papers to have her judged publicly and stoned.

4. He patiently spent some time considering this. (Matt. 1:20)

At last, God graciously sends an angel to Joseph in a dream. The angel says,

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matt. 1:20-21

We can add “obedient” to our list of things we know about Joseph. When Mary returns to Nazareth,

Joseph did what the angel of the Lord commanded him and took her home to be his wife. Matt. 1:24

So we see that angelic activity comes to Joseph as well as Mary and Zechariah. (Previous blogs.)

The heavenly host of angels now wait in the wings(smile) for their turn.

Mary and Joseph make their way to Bethlehem, the town of David. By Roman decree each person must go to the town of his heritage to be registered for the census. While there (in the town where prophecy said the Messiah would be born), Mary gives birth and swaddles him up tight as we still do for our babies today. There is no room for them in the inn so she lays him in a manger which indicates they are in a stable for the night.

Meanwhile, shepherds tend their sheep on the hills outside the little town of Bethlehem. In the late hour, perhaps one or two shepherds are resting while the other does guard duty.

Suddenly, an angel appears to them and (don’t miss this) the glory of the Lord shines around them. What does the “glory of the Lord” look like? I’m imagining unbelievable brilliance! Result? They are “sore afraid”—terrified. Of course the first thing we hear is,

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. (That’s you and me and everybody then and now—all people.) 

Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. (The promised Messiah.)

This will be a sign to you: (Just so you can check it out.) You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Note that the sign is not a star (the star led the wise men), but a swaddled baby in a manger. Luke 2:10-12

As if that isn’t enough to knock their sandals off, it is now time for the whole host of heavenly angels to finally make their appearance. They burst forth in praise.

“GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, AND ON EARTH PEACE TO MEN ON WHOM HIS FAVOR RESTS.” Luke 2:14

It had to have been absolutely glorious. Praise His name, our redemption has come! Blessed Christmas to you.

~ Joyce ~