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A User’s Guide to Singing Christmas Carols

Christmas is the only time of year that we hear Christian songs playing in shopping centres, clubs and other public places. The result is that carols become so familiar that we easily ‘tune out’ to their message. They often induce a sense of nostalgia and comfort and bring back childhood memories.
Sadly, familiarity breeds contempt and we miss the amazing truths the carols contain. I am not talking about “Jingle Bell Rock” or “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”. Good quality Christmas carols focus on the profound demonstration of the love of God in the incarnation. In Jesus, God himself takes on our nature and enters our world. This changes everything. Jesus, God’s living word, came on a rescue mission to bring light to our dark world, life to out dying world, hope to our desperate world and peace to our broken world.These are the great themes of the quality carols. When you sing them or find yourself humming along while you do your last minute shopping, try to reflect on their message.
“Come and behold him, born the king of angels”
“Dispel the long night’s lingering gloom, and pierce the shadows of the tomb.”
“God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven”
“Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings”
“He rules the world with truth and grace”
So many poetic ways to reflect on the profound truth of the incarnation.

Here is God’s own reflection in the words of John from the opening verses of his gospel:
“The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

“Silent Night” is 200 years old

A History of “Silent Night”
Joseph Mohr was born in Salzburg, Austria, the home of Mozart and, later, of the Von Trapp singers—one of the most musical towns in the world. He became the priest of the parish church of Saint Nicholas in the nearby village of Oberndorf, and there he served alongside the organist and musician Franz Gruber, who was also a local schoolmaster.
As Christmas Eve of 1818 approached, Mohr and Gruber faced a challenge. The church organ wasn’t working properly (many believe that mice had chewed through the bellows!) and the two men laboured over how to make their traditional service special.  Going through his papers, Mohr handed Gruber a poem he had written and asked him to set to music. If they couldn’t use the organ, they could at least introduce an original carol, accompanied by an acoustic guitar.
Mohr hastily composed a melody, and on a snowclad night in the Tyrolian Alps, December 24, 1818 – two hundred years ago – the population of little Oberndorf gathered in the Church of St. Nicholas to hear Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht for the first time. Later the organ repair man, Karl Mauracher, showed up and heard the story. Asking for a copy of the carol, he soon spread it through the Alpine region of Austria, where it came to the attention of families of local folk singers. Silent Night quickly gained fame across Europe. It was clear that there was something very special about this particular carol and it continues to serve as a beacon of truth for families and churches to this day.

 

Prayer

  • Pray that our Christmas outreach activities will help people to think of the real significance of the birth of Jesus as God’s chosen saviour king.
  • Tory and Jo Cayzer and their children finish up at Walgett after Christmas. Pray for ongoing ministry there and for the Cayzer’s new ministry in Moonbi/Kootingal.
  • Pray for Churches and Christian Pastors in countries where believers are persecuted for their faith.
  • Pray that the authorities in Myanmar will cease persecuting Rohingya and allow them to return safely.

Prayer for those in need
Ask God to comfort, strengthen and deepen the trust of those who are sick, grieving, or in special need at this time, especially Leslie, Jill & her mother, and Bronwyn.

 

SOAP Bible Readings

Scripture
Observation
Application
Prayer

Read Scripture daily, write a few thoughts, an application and then pray.

Week beginning 14th January
Ezekiel 28
Ezekiel 29
Ezekiel 30
Ezekiel 31
Ezekiel 32
John 5:1-15
Luke 3:21-38

Week beginning 21st January
Matthew 8
Matthew 9
Matthew 10
Matthew 11
Matthew 12:1-21
John 6:1-15
Luke 4:1-30

Week beginning 28th January
Matthew 12:22-50
Matthew 13:1-30
Matthew 13:31-58
Matthew 14
Matthew 15
Matthew 16
Matthew 17

* Sermon Reading

With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. (Psalm 119:13)