They Brought Gifts To Jesus

When from the East the wise men came,
Led by the Star of Bethlehem,
The gifts they brought to Jesus were
Of gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Bright gold of Ophir, passing fine,
Proclaims a king of royal line;
For David’s son in David’s town,
Is born the heir of David’s crown.

(John Henry Hopkins: 1820 – 1891)

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Advertisements

Why We Should Be Like Donkeys?

Are you a pet-lover? Many people own a dog, a cat or a budgie, but most of us don’t own a donkey! Yet in Bible times, donkeys were essential to daily life. They did everything from helping to grind corn, to ploughing, to carrying people, to transporting their belongings. Despite their small frame, donkeys are surprisingly tough. They are content with poor fodder like thistles, and can travel an average of 20 miles a day.

There are two occasions in the Christian calendar where donkeys walk into the picture. At Christmas, Mary travelled the 100 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem on a donkey. And although a donkey doesn’t get a
specific mention in the manger story, that same one that transported her was probably there; where else would it have been?

On Palm Sunday Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Jesus deliberately chose this animal rather than a horse. Why? In Bible times, the horse was associated with war, conquest and worldly might. But the
donkey was a symbol of peace and humility. Jesus used this animal to show that he had come with the dignity of the king of peace. His entry into the Holy City also fulfilled Zechariah’s prophecy concerning the
Messiah.

Donkeys are hardwork ing and undemanding. They wait for their master to put them to the work he has chosen for them. And, remarkably, each one bears the mark of the Cross on their backs!

Perhaps that is something we should learn—to wait for Jesus our Master, to be always obedient to him, to serve him with all our hearts, and to bear the mark of his grace in our lives.
Lester Amann

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

Your Gift of Life – at Christmas

Creaking on the staircase –
Noise outside my door –
A rustle in the chimney –
It’s ‘Santa-time’ once more.

St. Nicholas is on his way
With all his Christ-life gifts
To fire every child-light with
The loving Christ-mass kiss.

In some he’ll place the gift of gold –
In others frankincense –
While others will be given myrrh –
All signs of God’s presence.

For in each earthly crib or bed
In squalor, comfort, splendour –
The Christ child has been placed again
To call the world to wonder.

So come you kings, come one, come all,
Come shepherds to the cradle stall
And hear the angels sing anew
The heavenly song they sing for you.

Your God is in your gift of life –
The life He gives with love –
So take the gift and use it,
Use it wisely, don’t abuse it,
Let the Christ-life fire your spirit
That God in you may LIVE.

Sam Doubtfire

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Ring Out The Bells

Ring out the bells and let them tell
The wondrous news throughout the land
How Christ was born in Bethlehem
And brought salvation down to man.
God’s wisdom had confounded all
Who could have thought of such a plan
As Deity descended low
God’s Son encompassed in a span.

 

He tabernacled here with us,
As God He laid His glory by
He lived as man to bear our sin,
And though a king was crucified.
And can it be He came for us
To take our sin, not just in part?
If this be true, come celebrate
And let the bells ring in our hearts!

(Megan Carter)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With many joy-filled blessings

Geoffrey

 

Forgotten

Gifts to buy
Cards to send
Shopping lists that never end;
Times so short so much to do
There’s no room for you
Laden down with gifts galore,
As we rush from store to store.

Who’s the next one on the list,
Is there anyone we’ve missed?
In the corner half forgotten
Lies the Son of Man begotten;
Born into the worlds dark night
He offers his gift of light.
If there’s no room will we reject Him,
With hands full can we accept Him?

Corel Yates

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

HALLELUJAH CHRISTMAS

I am sure that most of you are familiar with the song ‘Hallelujah’ made famous by Leonard Cohen.

I am indebted to one of my Methodist friends, Muriel Sowden, for sending me some new, and very inspirational words, which have been written for a group known as Cloverton.

I’d like to share these words with you all:-

I’ve heard about this baby boy
Who’s come to earth to bring us joy
And I just want to sing this song to you
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
With every breath I’m singing Hallelujah
Hallelujah

A couple came to Bethlehem
Expecting child, they searched the inn
To find a place for You were coming soon
There was no room for them to stay
So in a manger filled with hay
God’s only Son was born, oh Hallelujah
Hallelujah

The shepherds left their flocks by night
To see this baby wrapped in light
A host of angels led them all to You
It was just as the angels said
You’ll find Him in a manger bed
Immanuel and Savior, Hallelujah
Hallelujah

A star shown bright up in the east
To Bethlehem, the wisemen three
Came many miles and journeyed long for You
And to the place at which You were
Their frankincense and gold and myrrh
They gave to You and cried out Hallelujah
Hallelujah

I know You came to rescue me
This baby boy would grow to be
A man and one day die for me and you
My sins would drive the nails in You
That rugged cross was my cross, too
Still every breath You drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah
I plan to use these thought provoking words at the Beaufort Hill Methodist Church this coming Sunday.

Peace be with you now and for evermore

Geoffrey

PS – You may view Cloverton’s video by going to:-

http://youtu.be/43OQi0KJC8g

 

A Christmas Message from the General Secretary of the World Methodist Council

Amidst the hustle and bustle, the trappings and wrapping of gifts, it will be good to pause and reflect on the reason for the Christmas season. Let us remember what really happened on that “silent and holy night” as well as that first Christmas morn. The trappings were a stable and manger in Bethlehem, the wrappings were swaddling clothes and the gift – Jesus Christ, the Son of God made flesh.

The night was far from “silent” or “holy” as Herod in his search for the Christ-child ordered the slaughter of the innocent. (Matthew 2:16) It was this act of genocide that caused Mary, Joseph and the child to flee and become refugees in Egypt.

As we recall the Christmas story it reminds us to practise true hospitality, to welcome strangers and exiles. The call to welcome the stranger is not optional or conditional but rather a Biblical imperative. “Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured” (Hebrews 13:1-3). When we welcome strangers, opening our hearts and our doors we will often be transformed in the process.

This year has seen millions of people throughout the world forcefully displaced because of war, human rights violations, political and religious persecution, poverty or environmental destruction. In many instances the experience of most asylum seekers/refugees is one of abuse, harassment, exploitation and marginalization which amount to a new form of slavery.

The true Christmas story is about hospitality, humility, service and hope born out of despair. If we don’t have Christmas in our hearts we will never find it in “wrappings or trappings” no matter how beautiful and valuable the gifts. The real gift is that; “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light…….A child is born to us, a son is given to us and he will be our ruler. He will be called, “Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:2, 6)

I pray that we will all make a commitment to biblical holiness, justice and peace by being the difference that we want to see in the world.

May the joy of the angels, the perseverance of the wise men, the obedience of Mary and Joseph, and the peace of the Christ-child be yours this Christmas and in the days to come.

Shalom,

Ivan M Abrahams
General Secretary of the World Methodist Council