Over the years I have acquired a small library of books that interest me. Some I’ve read, many I have re-read, but there are too many I have not read at all. So I am going to try to not buy [too many] any books for a while and read some that I already have.
I thought about finishing up all the books I have started and not finished first, especially Ron Chernow’s Grant, and Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend by Robertson. But then I spied a book I gave Dad a couple of years ago. I doubt he was able to read it, but I think I will read it now. Compared to the books I just mentioned it is a short story, so I should be able to get one book read in no time. I hope it is as interesting as I think it will be. The book:
From Faith McDonnell at Juicy Ecumenism:
For many years it was the tradition for Salvation Army band members to get up at the crack of dawn on Christmas Day and wake the town with the Christmas song “Christians Awake, Salute the Happy Morn.”
Here is Salvation Army officer Major Alan Young playing it on his cornet for the village of Pill in North Somerset, England…
Christians, awake, salute the happy morn,
whereon the Savior of the world was born;
rise to adore the mystery of love,
which hosts of angels chanted from above;
with them the joyful tidings were begun
of God incarnate and the Virgin’s son. . . .
Oh, may we keep and ponder in our mind
God’s wondrous love in saving lost mankind!
Trace we the babe, who hath retrieved our loss,
from his poor manger to his bitter cross.
Tread in his steps, assisted by his grace,
Till man’s first heavenly state again takes place.
Then may we hope, th’angelic throngs among,
to sing, redeemed, a glad triumphal song;
he that was born upon this joyful day
around us all his glory shall display;
saved by his love, incessant we shall sing
eternal praise to heav’n’s almighty King.”
O Light Everlasting, O Love never failing.
Illumine our darkness and draw us to thee.
May we from thy spirit receive inspiration
As children together thy wisdom may see.
Make known to all nations thy peace and salvation,
And help us O Father, thy temple to be.
Erica Komisar recently wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal that made me really sad. It was titled “Don’t Believe in God? Lie to Your Children.”
The author is a psychoanalyst. That is her perspective and milieu. She starts:
As a therapist, I’m often asked to explain why depression and anxiety are so common among children and adolescents. One of the most important explanations– and perhaps the most neglected– is declining interest in religion. This cultural shift already has proved disastrous for millions of vulnerable young people.
She cites a Harvard study that reported teens who attended “a religious service at least once per week scored higher on psychological well-being measurements and had lower risks of mental illness.”
And then this:
I am often asked by parents, “How do I talk to my child about death if I don’t believe in God or Heaven?” My answer is always the same.’ Lie.’ The idea that you simply die and turn to dust may work for some adults, but it doesn’t help children. Belief in heaven helps them grapple with this tremendous and incomprehensible loss. In an age of broken families, distracted parents, school violence and nightmarish global-warming predictions, imagination plays a big part in children’s ability to cope.
God help us. It is also critical for adults to finally understand it is absolutely true that God is, and God is in control, and God loves us! I want to tell the author that it is never good to lie to our children. How much better to doggedly search for the truth of who we are, and what is the meaning of life. And it is revealed in the good news of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the God-man. Our Savior.
The birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus is one of the best documented facts of antiquity. Check it out.
I much prefer this hymn version to the choral arrangement that dominates the youtube offerings.
1. “Wake, awake, for night is flying,”
The watchmen on the heights are crying;
“Awake, Jerusalem, arise!”
Midnight hears the welcome voices
And at the thrilling cry rejoices:
“Oh, where are ye, ye virgins wise?
The Bridegroom comes, awake!
Your lamps with gladness take!
With bridal care Yourselves prepare
To meet the Bridegroom, who is near.”
2. Zion hears the watchmen singing,
And all her heart with joy is springing,
She wakes, she rises from her gloom;
For her Lord comes down all-glorious,
The strong in grace, in truth victorious,
Her Star is ris’n, her Light is come.
“Now come, Thou Blessed One,
Lord Jesus, God’s own Son,
The joyful call We answer all
And follow to the nuptial hall.”
3. Now let all the heav’ns adore Thee,
Let men and angels sing before Thee,
With harp and cymbal’s clearest tone.
Of one pearl each shining portal,
Where, dwelling with the choir immortal,
We gather round Thy radiant throne.
No vision ever brought,
No ear hath ever caught,
Such great glory;
Therefore will we Eternally
Sing hymns of praise and joy to Thee.
In an entry of Oswald Chambers’s My Utmost for His Highest titled “The Distraction of Contempt” my father underlined this:
Recently I have been thinking about the meaning and causes of “having a critical spirit” so this caught my attention (and it is November 23 today).
I have at least three thoughts on this. One is that Christ followers are called to take up their cross and follow Jesus. Just as he was misunderstood and maligned I can expect that too. So as much as I want to make sure I am understood and correct misconceptions, I need to accept that is not always possible, especially when there is a world view divide. Secondly, and more importantly, I think, is that ultimately it is God who convicts and corrects, not me. But I have been taught to intercede so that needs to be my primary response.
The words will be familiar to a lot of you who don’t sing Sacred Harp, or Shape Note Singing. This is the song I requested today when our Sacred Harp group in Savannah sang.
1. Blest be the tie that binds
our hearts in Christian love;
the fellowship of kindred minds
is like to that above.
2. Before our Father’s throne
we pour our ardent prayers;
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
our comforts and our cares.
4. When we asunder part,
it gives us inward pain;
but we shall still be joined in heart,
and hope to meet again.
The third verse is omitted in our book, but I like it:
3. We share our mutual woes,
our mutual burdens bear,
and often for each other flows
the sympathizing tear.