Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas... this weary world rejoices!

This Christmas, more than ever... I am seeing everywhere and feeling in me the lyrics of this beautiful Christmas song O Holy Night --- "A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices..."

This photo blog illustrating the Christmas story is resonating with me more than ever. Haunting. Poignant. True.

Friends, our world is weary and broken. There are wars. People are displaced and oppressed. Extreme poverty is still a reality. Children starve. Mothers cry. Fathers are absent.

This Advent, more than ever... I am understanding its meaning in the truest sense as our family, alongside our church family, await the imminent arrival of our two sponsored Syrian refugee families. Each additional day we are required to wait is another day they endure living in a refugee camp somewhere in Lebanon...

Yet, this... this is why I still dare to hope.
Gaining hope, I remember and wait for this thought:
How enduring is God’s loyal love; the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion.
Here they are, every morning, new! Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the day.
Have courage, for the Eternal is all that I will need. My soul boasts, “Hope in God; just wait.”
It is good. The Eternal One is good to those who expect Him, to those who seek Him wholeheartedly.
It is good to wait quietly for the Eternal to make things right again.
- Lamentations 3:21-26, The Voice.
O Holy Night goes on with these lyrics...
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
:: :: :: 
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.
And so we sing sweet hymns of joy, because our Jesus, He shines --- "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. (John 1:5, NLT)"

And we continue to find ways to be His hands and His feet in this broken and weary world.
How shall I come before Yahweh, and bow myself before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
Will Yahweh be pleased with thousands of rams? With tens of thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my first-born for my disobedience? The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has shown you, O man, what is good. What does Yahweh require of you, but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
- Micah 6:6-8, World English Bible (emphasis mine).
Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year from our family to yours! {Our year-end family update can be found here.}

May you sense God's peace and His love, more than ever, this Christmas and throughout this coming New Year.

Click here to read our Christmas letter.

Friends, will you sing this beautiful Christmas carol with us?
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining; it is the night of the dear Saviour's birth!
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we; let all within us praise His holy name.

Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

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