A Dutch Carol for Christmas Morning

Here are the English lyrics of this lovely Dutch Christmas Carol.

bellsJesus, You are welcome here with us today.
You came to earth from heaven on Christmas day.
Jesus, You are welcome now to stay with us again.
In our sinful hearts, give us mercy, come and reign. Kyrieleis. (Have mercy, Lord)

“Christ have mercy on us”, we together sing.
For what You’ve done to save us our praise we bring.
You were born on Christmas, God among us here to be.
Bringing us salvation, from sin to set us free. Kyrieleis. (Have mercy, Lord)

Shepherds in the fields heard angels’ words of cheer.
They could not understand it: they shook with fear.
“Go and find your Savior,” said the angel in the skies.
“Leave your sheep to seek him: in Bethlehem he lies.” Kyrieleis. (Have mercy, Lord)

Wise men came to seek him from a distant land.
To give their richest treasure was what they planned.
Placing gold and frankincense and myrrh before their King,
Love and adoration, the best of gifts to bring. Kyrieleis. (Have mercy, Lord.)

In His Name, All Oppression Shall Cease

Here’s a rousing version of O Holy Night. My favorite verse is the last.

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

In the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, born 2000 years ago in that stable in Bethlehem, we can see  oppression cease; the oppression of a conscience held captive to sin, the oppression of fear about being right with God, the oppression of an accusing adversary who throws our sins in our faces. Our Savior breaks those chains for all who believe and by faith look to Him for salvation.

There is also healing from oppression of things in our lives that perpetually try to bring us down. Anyone who has suffered the ongoing pain of depression and anxiety knows the bondage that it is. The gift of our Savior is the most important gift we can ever receive, because in His name all oppression shall cease. Where Jesus is, there is love.

A Small Tribute

I’ve said it all before, but this hectic season, I am saying it again. Sometimes we get so enthralled with the bad stuff and bad people in the world that we forget to appreciate the good.

tomwilsoncenterWe live on a broken planet, and the truth is that the brokenness can dominate our focus while the good is right there in front of us. I wanted to write this small tribute to my husband, Tom. He has kept going through everything thrown his way over 18 and a half years of our family. This Christmas season, again, I have watched as he has kept going through a lot of exhausting things. He is currently playing a long-running musical that challenges him in many ways. The show must go on, even through a terrible cough, icy roads, and even the wrong trumpet last week, so he had to transpose the entire show’s music in his head, live. He never complains.  He still has a sense of humor. He is kind to everybody. He is the truest Christian I have ever met who lives what he claims to believe. I want to be like him.

He managed to get our Christmas tree up when it didn’t look like he’d be able to find the time. (It was up in the rafters of the garage where I couldn’t get it.) Will’s been so slammed with exams and lessons and practice, he had no time either. But the tree is up. Emily is thrilled to see the ornaments she remembers from last year and the manger scene that she set up.

It isn’t long before Christmas, can you believe it? I am mulling over what to make for Christmas dinner. For the first time in my entire life, we went out for Thanksgiving dinner. It simply worked out best for all of us. Our son Emthanksgiving2013who is recovering from broken hip and leg was able to join us thanks to the disability access at the place where we ate. There was a big fire in the fireplace at the German restaurant. Emily was so awed by the stained glass there and the high-beamed ceiling and the balcony that she leaned over and whispered, “Is this a church?” All in all, though, there’s no place like home for the holidays. Will missed green bean casserole, so he’s getting plenty of that this Christmas to make up for it!

I thought I’d share this sweet old carol I love. I think it’s my favorite. It evokes so many dear thoughts and memories in my mind, as I am sure every carol does for someone. More than anything, it reminds me of our Savior and the Incarnation. What a miracle!


The Village is Up

My Christmas village is up early this year, because due to my husband beginning a music job shortly that will take up the next seven weeks, I could see us not getting it up again this year. So this weekend, my sister-in-law, Kris and Tom helped get it set up. Emmy is enchanted, needless to say. Here’s a little video tour.

Reflections the Day After Christmas

christmasFamily Christmas time leaves many precious memories. Here are a few reflections of mine this year as I pick up the rubble left by all the happy chaos yesterday.

One of my favorite memories will be Emily’s expression on Christmas Eve as Uncle Mike and Aunt Kris, Tom and kids and I sang carols with Will accompanying us on the piano.

As we began singing the first carol, Silent Night, Emily’s face literally lit up. She had never heard all of us sing together like that, let alone a song that she knew. With her eyes shining, she joined in. She has been singing that song for weeks with some of her own lyrics thrown in for good measure. The beauty and innocence and holiness of the first Christmas night was present there in Emily’s little face, and it blessed me to watch her.

Another precious moment came when I heard one of the family members telling Emmy that we celebrated Christmas because Jesus Christ came here to earth. With the literal, trusting mind of a child, Emily looked over at the door expectantly. In great excitement, she asked me,

When is He coming?!”

The excited thoughts of every true child of God. “When is he coming?”

I hope it is soon.

We are enjoying a few days rest. Son Charlie said last night that this was the best Christmas ever. In God’s amazing kindness and providence, and thanks to the love of my sister and her husband and kids, Tom’s sister Kris and husband Mike, and the dear friends who called and emailed yesterday, it really and truly was a wonderful Christmas.

And…in another glad note, I am thrilled to write that my grandbaby, Peter, and his mother and dad are moving here to Wisconsin from Colorado Springs. Our son Sam has just taken the position of Communications Director for a wonderful pro-life organization here in the state, and my darling grandson, son and daughter-in-law, Laura, are going to live 15 minutes away! It doesn’t get any better than that for starting off the New Year!

All gratitude is to God, who is the source of all love and goodness through his beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! ~ 2 Corinthians 9:15