This is Christmas

Do you find it hard to sleep tonight,
resting by the Christmas lights?
Could there be something you forgot…?
Beyond the bows and mistletoe,
the tree with presents wrapped below,
there’s more to this that you had ever thought…

Have we lost the reason that we celebrate each year?

What is Christmas if there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger?
What is Christmas without Christ…?

Remember how the story goes:
God’s Gift was wrapped in swaddling clothes
beneath a star one great and holy night…
The shepherds heard the angels sing,
the wise men brought an offering.
Peace on Earth began in Bethlehem!

Have we lost the reason that we celebrate each year?

What is Christmas if there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger?
What is Christmas if the angels never sang glory to the newborn King?
What is Christmas without Christ?

[There’d be no…]
Gloria in excelsis Deo*!

What is Christmas if there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger
What is Christmas without Christ…?

This is Christmas: it’s all about the Savior wrapped in the manger!
This is Christmas, because of Jesus Christ!
This is Christmas, because of Christ!

~ Written & performed by:  Kutless ~

* “Gloria in excelsis Deo” (Latin for “Glory to God in the highest”) is a Christian hymn, otherwise known as “Angels we have heard on high”.  This is a reference to the angels’ song as they brought the message of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds in the fields:

Luke 2

8  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  9  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  10  And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  12  And this shall be a sign unto you:  ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”  13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  14  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”  15  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.”  16  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  17  And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.  18  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  19  But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.  20  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
21  And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the Child, His Name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

Matthew 2

1  Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,  2  saying, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews?  for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.”  3  When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.  4  And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.  5  And they said unto him, “In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,  6  “And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda:  for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.” [Micah 5:2] ”  7  Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.  8  And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, “Go and search diligently for the young Child; and when ye have found Him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship Him also.”  9  When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.  10  When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.  11  And when they were come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts:  gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.  12  And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
13  And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, and take the young Child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word:  for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”  14  When he arose, he took the young Child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:  15  and was there until the death of Herod:  that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt have I called My Son.” [Hosea 11:1]
16  Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.  17  Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy [Jeremiah 31:15] the prophet, saying,  18  “In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”
19  But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,  20  Saying, “Arise, and take the young Child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel:  for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.”  21  And he arose, and took the young Child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.  22  But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither:  notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:  23  and he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

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Rest (The song of the Innkeeper)

“My hope in writing these songs was to climb inside the Christmas narrative through the characters who lived it, trusting that if I told their stories as truthfully as I knew how, listeners might recognize themselves in their stories:  the innkeeper so exhausted by endless day-to-day demands that he misses the Sabbath Rest that arrives on his doorstep…” ~ Jason Gray
.

I found them standing at my door
in the clumsy silence of the poor…
I’ve got no time for precious things,
but at least they won’t be wandering
if they’re sleeping on my stable floor…

There were no rooms to rent tonight;
the only empty bed is mine,
’cause I’m overlooked and overrun
with so many things that must be run,
until I’m numb and running blind…

I need rest, I need rest…
Lost inside a forest of a million trees,
trying to find my way back to “me”;
I need rest…

As a boy I heard the old men sing
about a Kingdom and a coming King,
but keeping books and changing beds
put a different song inside my head;
and the melody is deafening…

I need rest, I need rest…
Like a drowning man in the open sea,
I need somebody to rescue me;
I need rest…

To Rome we’re only names and numbers,
not souls in search of signs and wonders.
But we’re waiting for the day of our salvation –
the Messiah who will be our liberation…
We’re waiting… I’m waiting…

I need rest, I need rest…
Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel,
with a sword deliver Israel;
I need rest…

Tonight I can’t get any sleep
with those shepherds shouting in the streets…
A star is shining much too bright,
somewhere I hear a Baby cry…
and all I want is a little peace…

~ Words and music by:  Jason Gray & Randall Goodgame (2012)
Performed by:  Jason Gray ~

Matthew 11
28  “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  29  Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  30  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” ~ Jesus speaking

Hebrews 4
1  Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

Luke 2
6  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  7  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Every beat of my broken heart

This is not what I asked, not what I prayed for…
Are you listening now?
‘Cause all that I’ve built, all that I’ve bled for
is coming undone…

But what if it had to be broken
before my heart could be open?

Maybe the shattered parts
are the places where Your love starts…
And now I am closer to where You are
with every beat of my broken heart.

Maybe it’s not what I would’ve chosen,
and I won’t understand;
but I’m trusting You now, ’cause all that I know is
I am safe in Your hands.

But what if it had to be broken
before my heart could be open?

Maybe the shattered parts
are the places where Your love starts…
And now I am closer to where You are
with every beat of my broken heart.
Mercy is here with me
even if I can’t see it now…
I am closer to where You are
with every beat of my broken heart.

So break me all the way, ‘til we are face to face:
When Your work in me is through, then all that’s left is You…

Chorus

I am closer to where You are
with every beat of my broken, beat of my broken heart.

~ Written by: Jon Steingrad
Performed by:  Hawk Nelson ~

Luke 4
16  And He [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.  17  And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias [Isaiah 61:1].  And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written,  18  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,  19  to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”  20  And He closed the book, and He gave it again to the minister, and sat down.  And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him.  21  And He began to say unto them, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”

Psalm 34:18 
The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

Psalm 147
2  The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.  3  He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.  4  He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names.  5  Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite.

Lamentations 3 
21  This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.  22  It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  23  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Move (Keep walkin’)

Another heartbreak day – feels like You’re miles away…
Don’t even need no shade when your sun don’t shine, shine…
Too many passin’ dreams roll by like limousines;
it’s hard to keep believin’ when they pass you by and by…

I know your heart been broke again;
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet;
I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left…
Well, lift your head – it ain’t over yet, it ain’t over yet, so:

(Move) Keep walkin’,  Soldier keep movin’ on
(Move) Keep walkin’, until the mornin’ comes
(Move) Keep walkin’, Soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head – it ain’t over yet, it ain’t over yet!

Echoin’ inside your head are the words that your sweet mama said:
“Shoot for the moon, my dear,” so you took aim out of this atmosphere…
Between high stakes and pump fakes, you’re feelin’ like you can’t buy a break…
I can hold your hand but I can’t turn your eyes to freedom!

I know your heart been broke again;
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet;
I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left…
Well, lift your head – it ain’t over yet, it ain’t over yet, so:

Chorus

Hold on, hold on:  Lord ain’t finished yet
Hold on, hold on:  He’ll get you through this
Hold on, hold on:  These are the promises
I never will forget, I never will forget, so
Hold on, hold on:  The Lord ain’t finished yet
Hold on, hold on:  He’ll get you through this
Hold on, hold on:  These are the promises
I never will forget, I never will forget…

I know your heart been broke again;
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet;
but it ain’t over yet (No)… It ain’t over yet!
So get up and…

Chorus

Keep walkin’ (Keep walkin’)
Soldier keep movin’ on
Keep walkin’ (Keep walkin’)
Soldier keep movin’ on
Keep walkin’
Soldier keep movin’ on…

~ Written & performed by:  TobyMac (Toby McKeehan) ~

Galatians 6:9 
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

James 1:12
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.

James 5:7-11 
7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.  8  Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.  9  Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.  10  Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.  11  Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Even if

They say sometimes you win some,
sometimes you lose some…
And right now… right now I’m losing bad.

I’ve stood on this stage night after night
reminding the broken it’ll be alright,
but right now… oh, right now I just can’t.

It’s easy to sing when there’s nothing to bring me down;
But what will I say when I’m held to the flame like I am right now?

I know You’re able, and I know You can
save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t,
my hope is You alone!

They say it only takes a little faith to move a mountain –
good thing a little faith is all I have right now…

But God when You choose to leave mountains unmovable,
oh, give me the strength to be able to sing:
“It is well with my soul!”

I know You’re able, and I know You can
save through the fire with Your mighty hand…
But even if You don’t,
my hope is You alone!

I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t,
my hope is You alone!

You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good all of my days.
Jesus, I will cling to You come what may,
‘cause I know You’re able;  I know You can…

Chorus

It is well, it is well with my soul…

~ Written by:  MercyMe, Tim Timmons, Crystal Lewis, David Garcia & Ben Glover
Performed by:  MercyMe
Album:  Lifer ~

Daniel 3 (King James Version)

14  Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?  15  Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?”
16  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  17  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  18  But [even] if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”
19  Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego:  therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.  20  And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.  21  Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22  Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  23  And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
24  Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”  They answered and said unto the king, “True, O king.”  25  He answered and said, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego in the fire
26  Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither.”  Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.  27  And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.  28  Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.  29  Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.”

Boldly I approach (The art of celebration)

“Let us therefore come boldly (with open hands) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” ~ Hebrews 4:16 ~

By grace alone somehow I stand
where even angels fear to tread…
Invited by redeeming love,
before the throne of God above.

He pulls me close with nail-scarred hands
into His everlasting arms!

When condemnation grips my heart,
and satan tempts me to despair,
I hear the voice that scatters fear –
The Great I Am The Lord is here!

Oh praise the One Who fights for me
and shields my soul eternally!

Boldly I approach your throne…
Blameless now I’m running home!
By Your Blood I come,
welcomed as Your own…
into the arms of Majesty!

Behold the bright and risen Son:
more beauty than this world has known!
I’m face to face with Love Himself –
His perfect spotless righteousness!

Oh, a thousand years, a thousand tongues
are not enough to sing His praise!

Chorus

This is the art of celebration: (oh, joy in my heart)
knowing were free from condemnation! (I’m blameless now!)
Oh, praise the One, praise the One,
Who made an end to all my sins!

There is no condemnation in You,
we are blameless before Your throne!

Chorus

~ Written by: Gareth Gilkeson, Chris Llewellyn
Performed by: Rend Collective
Album: The Art of Celebration ~

Good, good Father

Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories
of what they think You’re like,
but I’ve heard the tender whisper
of love in the dead of night:
and You tell me that You’re pleased
and that I’m never alone…

You’re a good good Father –
it’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are…
And I’m loved by you –
it’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.

Oh, and I’ve seen many searching
for answers far and wide.
But I know we’re all searching
for answers only you provide…
‘Cause You know just what we need
before we say a word!

Chorus

Cause You’re perfect in all of your ways;
You are perfect in all of your ways;
You’re perfect in all of your ways to us!

~ Written and performed by: Chris Tomlin ~

Today is my earthly daddy’s birthday, and I decided to post these lyrics today to honour my dad, who is a very good earthly father, showing me a glimpse of what my Heavenly Father, the Ultimate GOOD Father is like.

No unauthorized use of this image permitted. Copyright laws apply.

Hebrews 12

9  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence [respect]: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?  10  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure [think; seem good]; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.  11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Sparrows

Matthew 6:26 & Matthew 10:29-31

Matthew 6:26 & Matthew 10:29-31

You can’t add a single day by worrying –
you’ll worry your life away…
Oh, don’t worry your life away!
You can’t change a single thing by freaking out,
it’s just gonna close you in;
Oh, don’t let the trouble win!

You may feel alone,
but you’re not on your own!

(La-la-la, la-la-la-la)
If He can hold the world, He can hold this moment!
(La-la-la, la-la-la-la)
Not a field nor flower escapes His notice…
Oh, even the sparrow
knows He holds tomorrow…

Lean in and it’s hard to miss: everything can change
when you make it His –
oh, He wants to carry it…
Carefree in the care of God, when you let it go
you’ll find that He’s enough!
Oh, you never leave His love…

You don’t walk alone!

Chorus

There’s not a single star that’s out of place,
there’s nothing broken He can’t remake…
If you long for hope when you’re afraid,
oh, look at the sparrow,
look at the sparrow…

Chorus

~ Performed by:  Jason Gray
Written by: Jason Gray, Mia Fieldes and Jonathan Smith ~

We won’t be shaken

This world has nothing for me;  this life is not my own.
I know You go before me and I am not alone!
This mountain rises higher, the way seems so unclear…
But I know that You go with me so I will never fear!
I will trust in You…

Whatever will come our way,
through fire or pouring rain –
we won’t be shaken, no, we won’t be shaken.
Whatever tomorrow brings,
together we’ll rise and sing
that we won’t be shaken, no, we won’t be shaken.

You know my every longing, You’ve heard my every prayer…
You’ve held me in my weakness ’cause You are always there.
So I’ll stand in full surrender – it’s Your way and not my own.
My mind is set on nothing less than You and You alone…
I will not be moved, oh…

Chorus

We will trust in You
We will not be moved
We will trust in You
And we won’t be shaken

~ Written by:  Jason Roy
Performed by:  Building 429 ~

Psalm 62:1-2

A Psalm of David.  My soul waits in silence for God only;  From Him is my salvation.  He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. (ESV)

Press on

Sometimes this world starts breaking me down;
I get so lost I think I’ll never be found…
And there are moments of fear and doubt –
even the best fall to the ground…

I am a mess, I am a wrecking ball.
I must confess that I still don’t get it all!
Lord, I believe that all Your words are true –
doesn’t matter where I’m going if I’m going with You…
I press on, I press on, I press on,
When I still don’t get it…

I see the world through my jaded eyes;
I get frustrated when there is no “Why”…
I put my focus on worthless things…
Even the strong fall to their knees.
God only knows what we all need!

Life goes on, life goes on, but Your love will prove
all I need, all I need I will find in You!

~ Performed by:  Building 429 feat. Blanca (from Group 1 Crew)
Written by:  Roy Hawkins ~