While Shepherds Watched…

While shepherds watched
Their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around
And glory shone around

God decided to let the lowly know before the mighty that Good News was just around the corner in the Christmas story.

Notice the angel didn’t show up again in the Holy of Holies as He did with Zechariah, father of John, but the King of Kings was announced to a humble group of shepherds with all the fanfare of celebration you would come to expect from a statesman with might and power!

Fear not,” he said,
For mighty dread
Had seized their troubled minds
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind,
To you and all mankind.”

And like most of us, when we see something of beauteous wonder, we tremble with fear.

Those shepherds were no different than us in their immediate reaction, but the carol reminds us to focus on the message, so we don’t miss the Good News!

“To you in David’s
Town this day
Is born of David’s line
The Savior who is Christ the Lord
And this shall be the sign
And this shall be the sign.”

“The heavenly Babe
You there shall find
To human view displayed
And meanly wrapped
In swathing bands
And in a manger laid
And in a manger laid.”

Here is the best part of this carol in my opinion….

The shepherds were not only told the prophecy of Messiah was coming true, but where to find Him!

And He was in their midst, within arms reach! 

Thus spake the seraph,
And forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God, who thus
Addressed their joyful song
Addressed their joyful song

“All glory be to
God on high
And to the earth be peace;
Goodwill henceforth
From heaven to men
Begin and never cease
Begin and never cease!”

Not only have these shepherds just heard the Good News live from an angel, with directions of how to meet their Messiah, they are then treated to a wonder no one else recorded in the Word has ever enjoyed – a heavenly chorus of angels singing Gloria!

For not even the angels can keep from offering God His due for the arrival of Jesus. Emmanuel, God with us. The Messiah promised through the ages, present with His people.

May we too continue to proclaim the Good News this Christmas to a world full of people who need to see the Light in all His wonder!

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Historical Background:

This carol was written in 1703 by Nahum Tate (poet in residence to Queen Anne) and Nicholas Brady. This was one of the first paraphrased pieces from Scripture outside of the psalms to be sung in the Church of England.

Angels from the Realms of Glory

One of my all time favorite carols, this classic proclamation of the Good News beautifully covers the main players in the Christmas story.

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story,
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth:
Come and worship, come and worship, Worship Christ, the newborn King!

God knew that the world might miss out on His timing, so He sent the angels to proclaim the Good News. The Creator came to His creation!!

Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing,
Yonder shines the infant Light;
Come and worship, come and worship, Worship Christ, the newborn King!

The first people the angels spoke to were those who were the loneliest and who needed to know they weren’t forgotten: the shepherds, living on the outskirts with their flocks.  The Good News had arrived!

Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great desire of nations,
Ye have seen His natal star;
Come and worship, come and worship, Worship Christ, the newborn King!

Not only did the angels proclaim the Good News to the shepherds, but the star over Bethlehem attracted the attention of several wise men in a far off land, who had studied the prophecies and understood the King was being born.

His timing is such that He not only sent an angel to Mary to let her know she would bear the Messiah, but set a star alignment in the sky which would draw seekers outside of the Jewish faith to come to Him.

God was already letting us know He was coming for all:

Those who were in the family, those who were on the outskirts, and those seeking from afar.

Saints before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear:
Come and worship, come and worship, Worship Christ, the newborn King!

I love this Carol in part because of the fourth verse. We are part of the Christmas story, saints. 

All of Christmas was done with us in mind.

To draw attention to the reality that God had always had us on His mind, and was always willing to pour out His heart of love for His Beloved.

What a carol to proclaim to the world, indeed!

All of us have one song to sing, this Christmas and every day: Come and worship Him!

May His song arise within you, and pour out in His praise again today!

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He is the Song we are to sing, always!

Historical Background:
Irishman James Montgomery penned the words, and Henry Smart composed the music for “Angels from the Realms of Glory” in 1816.

Fun Fact: In the UK, “Angels we have Heard on High” is also sung to this tune!

when it’s time to rest

I have decided not to write today.

I am still trying to process a whole boatload of changes headed my way, and I am literally all thumbs this morning.

I am taking some time to rest, recharge and reboot despite this being my busiest work day of the week.

Because the time spent with Him & caring for myself are to be my priorities when the stress levels rise.

If you, like me, are feeling like you have entered the high speed Lane, take the path unexpected, and head for the pastures of His presence.

Today I proclaim a day of rest over my spirit.

May you too sink deep into the comfort of His embrace.

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Sunday Psalm: Pray Sing a New Psalm

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
Is anyone cheerful?
Let him sing psalms.
James 5:13

Lord, I am weary
of my sore muscles,
rattled head,
sensitive hearing,
restless sleep.
I invite You
to show Yourself strong
once again
and move in, through & with me
today.
May Your Presence
be tangible & evident
as I seek You.

The peace
You send
once I humble myself
in prayer
has my spirit leaping
within me,
longing to bust out in
loud, exuberant praise!

You never fail.
You will be with me,
I may stumble
but will not be shaken
when You are my Rock.
Your stronghold of refuge
is always open
to Your beloved,
to me!
Just the thought
that You are for me
brightens my eyes,
brings a glow to my reflection
and warmth to my heart.

Just as the birds joyously
begin their day
with birdsong,
may Your people
start their day with God song,
proclaiming Your praise
all the day long!

Your More-than-Enough
will always be enough for me!

#SundayPsalm
#singanewpsalm

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GREATER

This morning, I drove my eldest to the train station as she headed off to school. And again today for the third day in a row, this song came on the radio station we usually listen to.

The cool thing, we didn’t drive at the same times…so that led me to believe God was trying to get my attention. I heard You, Lord.

So, today I am going to share the overall lyrics of the song Greater by Mercy Me one paragraph at a time, and then ask God what He has to say to me about it. Note: The song lyrics are bolded, and will be credited at the bottom of the blog, along with a link to the Mercy Me video 🙂

Bring your tired, bring your shame. Bring your guilt, bring your pain.
Don’t you know that’s not your name?
You will always be much more to me.

I tend to label myself, don’t I God?
But my name is Beloved, Redeemed.

And everyone else out there
needs to hear this message too:
Stop labeling yourself
with the negative,
stick to the positive.
God does!

Every day I wrestle with the voices
that keep telling me I’m not right,
but that’s alright….

God, You know
i struggle with
staying grounded in You
instead of what I do.
But that is no surprise to You,
is it God?

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Cause I hear a voice
and He calls me redeemed,
when others say I’ll never be enough.
And greater is the One living inside of me than he who is living in the world.
In the world, in the world.
And greater is the One living inside of me than he who is living in the world

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God, You continually call to me and speak my real name.
I am enough because of You, and You are SO much greater than the one living in the world….
coz he too is Your creation,
which makes You Greater!

Bring your doubts, bring your fears.
Bring your hurt, bring your tears.
There’ll be no condemnation here
You are holy, righteous and redeemed.

It doesn’t matter what I bring to You. Not only can I safely be real before You, You continue to speak out how You see me: holy, righteous, redeemed, forgiven.

Every time I fall, there’ll be those who will call me a mistake- well that’s ok….

Long term, it doesn’t matter if other people think I am a mistake, or call me names. Because what You think of me matters for eternity!

There’ll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn’t matter
‘Cause the cross already won the war
He’s Greater, He’s Greater!

I won’t do everything right or perfectly, nor win every day.
Your grace says no big deal, because You already made everything right on the cross.
You win, every time.
You are the Greatist, Lord!

I am learning
to run freely
Understanding
just how He sees me
and it makes me
love Him more & more
He’s Greater, He’s Greater!

God, thank You to teaching me
I can run free
when I accept how You see me.
My heart & spirit
jump with gratitude.
You truly are
the GREATEST thing
to happen to me,
and to everyone
who meets you!

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Greater written by songwriters:
Bart Millard, Mike Scheuchzer, Robby Shaffer, Barry Graul,
David Arthur Garcia, Nathan Cochran, Ben Glover.

Hey, if you need a morning pick me up song to remind you who He is and how He sees you, I would recommend you watch the video below, buy the song or CD, and for an extra boost of God Greatness, watch the story behind the song.

Greater video by Mercy Me

MercyMe “Greater” Story Behind The Song – YouTube