Christmas is coming!
This coming Sunday is the first Sunday in advent. The Church will be decorated for Christmas and we will be starting our Christmas series and singing Christmas songs.
Our service will close with singing "In the Bleak Midwinter" - a lesser-know carol, at least to GBC. Though we do not know the time of year when Jesus was actually born, we do know that Israel, at any time of year, was not the windy, frozen scene the opening stanza of this hymn depicts. Nevertheless, the world was not a friendly place for Jesus even though the thermometer was above freezing. The middle stanzas describe the contrast between the glory of heaven from which Jesus came and the poor reality of the earth He came to save. The final stanza is a commitment that, in recognition of that sacrifice, we will devote ourselves to God.
You can listen to the carol at the following link:
In The Bleak Midwinter - Holst - Tenebrae conducted by Nigel Short - YouTube
Thought for the day: Be patient and self-controlled
As we continue to look at some of the character traits of Jesus and how they could apply to our lives I have to confess that the ones I’m looking at today are likely the hardest ones for me personally but have born the most fruit when I’ve gotten them right: patience and self-control
Throughout the gospels, Jesus clearly gets portrayed as a very patient man. After all, He was surrounded by disciples who constantly doubted him, Pharisees and Sadducees who continually attacked Him, and large crowds who wouldn’t leave Him alone. Despite all of that, He kept His composure and responded appropriately to every individual. Patience is the ability to see something through to the end, especially something that might be challenging or unpleasant. Patience is a character trait, but also a skill we can work on to improve. I know I am!
Related, in a way, is self-control. As I talked about on Sunday, before His ministry was launched, Jesus spent time being tempted by the Devil in the wilderness. Although He was offered food, power, and many other things, Jesus controlled His desires and submitted them all to the will of the Father. Yes, He had desires for food and such, but He had a greater desire to obey the Father and accomplish what He’d set out to do. Self-control is the ability to deny oneself something for a greater objective. We live in a society that encourages us to deny ourselves nothing. This is something we can all grow from and through.
Patience and self-control, two difficult but valuable things. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Nothing of value comes without cost.
In His grip,