Hark! The Angels Sing... Why Wouldn’t We?

Angelic Announcement

My favorite Christmas carol is Charles Wesley’s Hark! The Herald Angelsl Sing. It’s a carol rich with truth and powerful images of Christ’s glory as the Prince of Peace, and a moving declaration of His divine humility – “Mild He lays His glory by; Born that man no more may die.”

 First titled Hymn for Christmas Day, Wesley’s original lyrics for the opening couplet were “Hark how all the welkin rings…” I know, it was my question too. What is “welkin”? Welkin is olde English for heavens, or sky. The lyrics we know so well today were penned by Charles Wesley’s good friend, George Whitefield, renowned evangelist in the mid-eighteenth century. Whitefield made a few other minor revisions in the verses Wesley wrote, but only three of Wesley’s original five stanzas have remained in this classic hymn-carol sung today.

 As I read the forgotten stanzas of Wesley’s powerful carol, it seemed to me this is a lost jewel that needs to be returned to its rightful place in the old hymn setting.

Four Kinds of Christian Grandparents - Part One

AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE 

The first ever national Grandparenting Summit (conference) in Frisco, Texas is history. What an amazing experience being part of a movement of God to call an army of godly grandparents to a life of intentionality that matters for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Larry Fowler, CEO of the Legacy Coalition, and the man behind the vision for the movement, gave a stirring challenge to all of us from the very first session to stand up and declare our commitment to this cause. At the end of this blog I will share that Declaration written by Larry, but embraced by hundreds of attendees at this conference.

Before we look at that declaration, I thought it would be valuable to share some of Larry’s thoughts about four different kinds of Christian grandparents. I would urge you to consider them and ask yourself which one best describes you. Here we go…

Is Advent Part of Your Family’s Traditions?

Unqiue Advent Wreath copy

Traditions for the sake of tradition tend toward irrelevance. However, traditions rooted in meaning and purpose, when observed with intentionality and some measure of creativity, can be transformational. Advent is one of those traditions. It is also one often neglected or ignored.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent on the Church calendar. Historically it was a time set aside to help believers prepare to receive the fullness of Jesus’ coming. This time of preparation stands in stark contrast to the chaotic and greed-centric practices of Americans today rushing to snatch the best deals offered by equally greedy merchants as soon as the Thanksgiving meal is done. In the Advent season we find a time to pause and reflect on something so profound and remarkable as the coming of Messiah to redeem those who receive Him, and the coming again of Messiah to claim His redeemed.

Preparation for Advent is more than lighting the candles of the Advent wreath and quoting some scriptures.

The Tattoo Principle

 Tattooing

I will make every effort to see that after my departure
you will always be able to remember these things.  2 Peter 1:15

What do tattoos and intentional grandparents have in common?

Valerie Bell, CEO of Awana, addressed 800 grandparents last week at the National Legacy Grandparenting Summit in Frisco, Texas, explains the common thread.

“It is important that grandparents tattoo the truth of God’s love and grace on their hearts because there is a battle for the heart of a child in the world.” She shared a vivid illustration of how making an impression upon a child’s heart is much like a tattoo artist’s needle. His needle pricks the skin repeatedly—up to 3000 times per minute—injecting an insoluble ink to create a permanent image. In the same way, intentional grandparents repeatedly prick the heart of their grandchildren with the stories of God’s truth and grace.

Remember! Do not forget! Impress upon their hearts! The command to remember is throughout the Bible, and the key to remembering is repetition.

Cultivating a Legacy of Remembrance

Forget Remember

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely
so that you do not forget.
(Deut. 4:9)

Which is easiest to remember—the positive things that have happened to you, or the negative, painful things? We have a propensity as human being to remember the negative things more easily than the positive ones. In fact, researchers say that we could have nineteen positive experiences during any given day, and one negative one, but it will be the negative one we will most remember and dwell on.

Remembering requires intentionality. It is the constant warning of prophets and patriarchs. “Be careful”, “watch yourself closely”, “do not forget”, remember”! Why? Because we are so prone to wander and forget who God is and what He has done in the past. And that has devastating consequences.

Janet Thompson, author of Forsaken God? Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture, says, “If we don’t remember what God already has done, we won’t believe what he is capable of doing in the future. Memory builds faith… Most [believers] don’t intentionally forget God; they just don’t try hard enough to remember him.”  (pg. 21)

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