Joy in the Midst

Today is December 17th. 10 years ago, my church-family had just eaten a Christmas dinner. I came back home, but that light-and-fluffy Christmas feeling was the last thing on my mind. I was thinking about Christmas 2004 – a special one because my uncle and his family came for lunch. 6 months later, after a battle with cancer, my uncle was gone. 17 December was exactly 6 months after he died, and I sat there wondering what comfort I could offer his family. That was the day I wrote this song:
Last thing at night, Christmas Eve;
Excited children unable to sleep,
But she is rememb’ring Christmas last year,
Spent with an uncle no longer here:
She’s filled with love and compassion,
As she thinks of a card with a missing name –
A boy fatherless, a new widow,
And what can she find to give them?
The words of her pastor ring in her ears, spoken in these last weeks,
About joy in the midst of unhappiness; that’s what she wants them to know:
A joy that comes from peace with God, and peace with God only because
In the small town of Bethlehem, a Saviour was born to us.

Peace on earth, peace on earth!
Goodwill to men, on whom His favour rests:
Peace on earth, peace on earth!
Hope to the weary, bereaved, and distressed
.

You may be sat, listening,
Wond’ring why someone would write such a song,
But someday you may be in the same place,
Pond’ring a loved one you cannot embrace:
I hope – with love and compassion –
That even though things can’t be the same,
The truth of Christmas – the baby in the manger –
Will take on a sweeter meaning:
The words of the Bible will ring in your ears; tell you afresh of God’s love,
Healer of hearts and the Bread of Life; that’s who I want you to know:
The One who brings us peace with God, and peace with God only because
In the small town of Bethlehem, a Saviour was born to us.

Peace on earth, peace on earth!
Goodwill to men, on whom His favour rests:
Peace on earth, peace on earth!
Hope to the weary, bereaved, and distressed
.

Jesus is the Saviour,
And I would encourage you – while you have time –
To meet Him, love Him, cling to Him;
Don’t be robbed of your joy.

* * *

Bonnie’s OneWordAdvent focus for this week is joy, and that’s what I want to pass on to you: That you can be going through the most awful of circumstances, you can be in the most unhappy place, but you can still have the joy of knowing you’re right with God – of knowing that this Jesus, whose birth we celebrate on Christmas Day, came into the world to bridge the gap between you and a holy God, so that you could know Him personally. That’s something to be joyful about (whether it’s a loud celebratory kind of joy or a quieter, more reflective one), so I wish you a joyful, Christ-filled Christmas.

Link

Can you believe it’s the end of January already?  I just wanted to share some things from this month with you.

 

Blog

 

I was reading Torch Trust’s Facebook page and unexpectedly came across a link to this post by someone unknown to me.  To be honest, I hardly read blogs about blindness, but this is so well-written.  It was interesting (and sad at the same time) to read about the run-up to Philippa’s wedding, its challenges, and the lack of respect shown to her by some.

 

Book

 

Ok, I must tell you all, I’m in the twenty-first century!  I’ve just (about a week ago) bought an iPhone – my first touch-screen phone, so I can read Kindle books again.  Finally, after over a year, I bought the book I had looked forward to and it didn’t disappoint.  Jeremy Camp shares about his upbringing, the loss of his first wife, and how many of his songs were given to him by God at a time when some would have turned their backs on Him.  It made me think about my own walk with God, and of course made me cry.  I haven’t heard much of Jeremy’s music, but reading “I Still Believe” has made me curious to hear more, and did you know he’s a Compassion-sponsor?

 

What are some of the good things you’ve come across this month?

31 Days of Song: “Jesus Saves”

Today I wanted to include a song by Jeremy Camp, so I could tell you about his book “I Still Believe”.  It came out on Kindle in January and if my Kindle software still worked (which it hasn’t for over a year), I’d buy it straightaway and start reading.

It talks about his first wife (Melissa) and how, after their honeymoon, they found out she had just a few months to live.  I don’t know how I would have coped with that in my early 20s, but here’s what impressed me.  Jeremy was sitting with Melissa after she died and felt God saying:  “I want you to worship Me”, so he picked up his guitar and worshipped.  It reminds me so much of Job in the Bible the day he lost his ten children (Job 1:20-21) – how he praised his God who gave and took away.  He worshipped too.

I think anyone who chooses to do that is someone with real integrity, who deserves respect.  I haven’t heard many of Jeremy’s songs, but I do like this one.  Jesus saves!  He’s there to save us from a life of bitterness and bring us into God’s good plan for us.  Will you be a part of letting the whole world know His name?