Tag Archives: Messiah

O Come All Ye Faithful

significance_0014_O Come All Ye Faithful_intro

The narratives of the birth of Jesus recorded in the Scriptures are told through the adoration of the baby by ordinary individuals like the shepherds, the magi, and Simeon and Anna.  They all recognized the baby as the Messiah, the Savior of the World.  They worshiped Him acknowledging that He was the one present at creation, foretold by the prophets, the long awaited Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.  He was God come down from heaven where He was worshiped and adored by angels for eternity – to be a man.  He would walk the earth, give himself up to die, and provide the grace to save the whole world.  He would rise from the dead; ascend back to heaven from whence He came to be eternally adored by the angels and the saints of all time.

 

My grandfather and I sat on his front porch one mild December afternoon.  My Grandfather was a man of simple but great faith.  I asked him what his favorite Christmas carol was.  He rubbed his chin, as was his habit and said, “Oh, that’s easy.  I love the one that tells us to come and adore Him.”

 

My grandfather with his beautiful tenor voice and I sang “O, Come All Ye Faithful” together that afternoon.  It is one of my most treasured memories of him.

 

During Advent, the faithful Church is invited back to Bethlehem to revisit Christ’s first coming to the world.  We are invited to listen to the choir of angels that sang to the shepherds.  We are invited to travel with the Magi and follow the star.  We are invited into the stable to behold the King of Angels and simply adore Him.

 

Needless to say, my favorite Christmas carol is “O, Come All Ye Faithful.”  I love to think of my grandfather in heaven adoring Christ face to face and singing with the voices of all of heaven’s hosts in that beautiful hymn of praise.  And every year during the Christmas season, I still sing it with him as surely as I did that day on the porch.

 

Reflection – Spend some time in simple adoration of Christ.

 

Monica Boudreaux

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Sacred

View of Bethlehem, 1898

View of Bethlehem, 1898 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Emperor’s registration has been a great boon for business, but a mass of confusion, crowding, and short tempers here in Bethlehem.  Since our humble village is the birthplace of the great King David those of his lineage have been required to come here to be counted.  Our sleepy little country town has been inundated by hordes of irritable citizens inconvenienced by the journey.  I warned my wife weeks ago that the inn would be filled to overflowing for these days. Together we made as many advance preparations as possible – more lamp oil, food, linens.  Still the rush has been more than we bargained for, and we’ve met some real characters.

A few nights ago, a most peculiar thing happened.  An exhausted young man came in just before sunset.  He had just arrived from Nazareth with his very pregnant wife and was desperate for a room.  I told him that I regretfully had nothing to offer him – there was not a corner to be had.  Something about his manner really captured my attention, though.  He wasn’t angry or annoyed as most were, but he just thanked me and turned to her with such concern and care.  For some reason it was terribly important that I help them.  It occurred to me that the cave in back which serves as a stable was empty.  When offered such humble accommodations they gratefully and readily accepted without a word of complaint.

Sometime during the night, I was awakened by a small group of shepherds that claimed to be looking for a baby.  I was bewildered, thinking perhaps they had had too much wine, but they hurriedly explained their reason for coming to the inn.  They related that angels had appeared to them in their field and told them of a Special Child they were to come and worship for He was the promised Messiah.  The angel instructed them to look for a baby in a manger.  I must say, I felt the strangest sensation and thought of the young couple in the barn.

We went back to see and before us was the most beautiful sight.  The young woman had given birth to a baby boy.  Her husband, I think he said he was a carpenter named Joseph, had cleared out the animals’ manger and put in fresh hay, and there the baby lay all wrapped in warm cloths.  The shepherds fell to their knees.

Although, I was confused and somewhat skeptical, I can truly say this was no ordinary child.  In that smelly old barn, there was a holy presence.  I have been drawn back in there many times in the last few days.  Something lingers – something sacred.

Look for opportunities to give compassion. Wherever Christ is, there is a holy presence.  Something lingers – something sacred.

Reflection – When has your spirit sensed a sacred presence?

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Waiting

Icon of the Presentation

Isaiah 40: 28-31

God seems to bless those who wait. Waiting is a timeless discipline with eternal rewards. The scripture has many stories of those who waited and learned.

Noah waited for years as he built a boat on dry land and learned the lesson of deliverance. Jonah waited three days in the belly of the fish and learned the lesson of obedience. The prophets waited for centuries to see the Messiah and learned the lesson of faith. Joseph waited in prison and learned the lesson of forgiveness. Zacharias waited to speak and learned the lesson of humility. Anna and Simeon waited a lifetime to see the Savior and learned the lesson of perseverance.

Waiting during the season of Advent can serve as a discipline to teach us many spiritual truths. While waiting we can develop patience and true obedience. We can glimpse the hugeness of God’s love and grace and learn to recognize holiness when we encounter it. Waiting nurtures our compassion and opens our eyes to see others in need. It opens our hearts to service and fosters a freedom to give and encourage others. As we pause and wait for God, we have time to assess our priorities, discover happiness where we are and develop an appreciation for what we have.

Advent is a time to deal with our fears, our anger, our disappointments, and learn to both give and receive forgiveness. It is a time to internalize the cleansing joy of repentance and to know the peace of taking last place. While we wait, we can use the unknown time to realize that living with mystery builds faith, and suffering and sacrifice reveal God to us. While waiting we acquire a dependence on God, we gain hope, and we become sure that while we wait we are never alone.

During Advent, the Church waits to celebrate the first Advent of God into the world and waits for completeness and perfection at the Second Advent. In the waiting, we find our peace.

Reflection – What have you learned from God during those waiting times of your life?
Monica Boudreaux

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Expectations

Rembrandt Simeon houdt Jesus vast

Rembrandt Simeon 

Luke 2: 22-35

The season of Advent gives us many opportunities to develop spiritual disciplines that become part of our faith journey all year long. As we look forward to the celebration of the birth of Christ and anticipate his Second Coming we find that being faithful in times when the road ahead is unclear builds our dependence on God’s grace.

We can learn from Simeon about keeping faith. The Scripture tells us that he was a just and devout man in Jerusalem who had been promised by God that before he died he would see the Christ. As Mary and Joseph were taking the infant Jesus to the Temple to present Him to the Lord and make a sacrifice, the Spirit led Simeon to the Temple, also. When he saw the baby he immediately recognized Him as the Messiah, blessed Him, and made a prophecy about His mission. Then Simeon spoke to God and told him he was ready to depart this world in peace because his promise had been fulfilled, his longing had been satisfied, and his waiting had been rewarded. After a life time of expectation the reality of the Messiah had been confirmed to Simeon. His life’s goal of actually seeing the Christ had been accomplished.

Simon had spent those long years of faithful anticipation as an opportunity to know God more intimately and to practice his devotion more fully. Some lessons can only be learned in a time of spiritual darkness or uncertainty, so God gives us the blessing of this time to realize the rewards of faithfulness. He gives us a sure hope that binds us to the assurance of holy promises. He frees us from the limitations of the measure of earth’s time or human standards of success or achievement.

When Simeon did see the Lord, he knew Him at once because his years of waiting had given him a clear understanding of God’s revelation. When finally realized, our expectation brings the joy and affirmation that God’s promises are real. A transcendence of head knowledge engages the heart and soul – that eternal part of us that is made in the image of God. We find that God’s promises are a certainty not a possibility. We can be sure of the outcome, not doubtful of the end.

Advent is a time of spiritual expectation and longing, a time of confirmed promises, a time of unashamed hope of Christ’s Second Coming. Advent is the celebration of the realization of God’s promise to Simeon and to us – Christ has come and Christ will come again.

Reflection – What spiritual lessons would you like to learn this Advent?
Monica Boudreaux

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Advent-A Coming

advent 2007

Advent comes from the Latin meaning “a coming” or “arrival”. The season begins on the Sunday nearest to November 30 and ends on Christmas Eve. Advent begins our new church year as Christ comes to us again with the peace and joy needed to take us through another year.

During the season of Advent, the church celebrates two comings of Christ. First, we remember his incarnation, the coming of the Messiah, the world’s Savior. Second, we look forward to the second and final coming as reigning Lord and Judge. We thank him for His first Advent, prepare for his Second Advent, and celebrate His Presence through the Holy Spirit. It is a unique time when the past, the present, and the future realities of God are combined.

Advent gives voice to the joy and hope that the Christ Child brought to the earth and the expectation of the total restoration of God’s Kingdom when He comes again. The church looks forward to the completion of our salvation and the end of the world’s suffering when Christ comes again. The season forces spirituality into an increasingly secular Christmas and enriches our relationship to God, to each other, and those who have come before us.

The earliest recorded observances of Advent are from the fourth century. Monks set aside approximately six weeks before Christ’s Mass as a time of penitence and devotion and fasting. Advent became a time when new Christians prepared for baptism. For more than a thousand years, the church has set aside a four week period to recover Christmas as a holy time of expectation and preparation.

Today in the midst of so much despair Advent offers HOPE – the hope of the church, the hope of the restoration of creation to completeness upon Christ’s return, the hope of the salvation Christ brings. In the midst of so much war and death, Advent offers PEACE – the peace beyond our understanding, the peace that is more than the absence of conflict, the peace of Christ. In the midst of so much prejudice and hate, Advent offers LOVE – the perfect love of God, a way to love one another, the yearning to love His church. In the midst of so much sadness and loneliness, Advent offers JOY – the joy of salvation, the joy of new life, the joy of heaven.

Reflection – Reflect on ways that the hope, peace, joy, and love of the Advent season have been yours and how you can share with others.

Monica Boudreaux

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Under the Lord Christ

Benedict of Nursia delivers his rule to the Be...

Benedict delivers his rule to the Monks

To you, therefore, my words are now addressed, whoever you may be, who are renouncing your own will to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King, and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.

——Rule of St. Benedict

Perhaps it is not too popular these days to speak of our Christian journey as a battle complete with weapons, however, we are called to be witnesses to our faith in the Christ. In his Rule, Benedict gives us guidance and advice that facilitates our journey. Remember, the primary purpose of the Rule was to adjust to living in community. Interestingly enough, the biggest challenge in Christianity today is inner conflict. For that reason, I would suggest that Benedict’s words are very timely.

Today’s advice is to set aside your will, and pride I might add, to do battle under the Christ. For under Him we find peace, strength, harmony and the partnership we need to live our days in this world – to live them as not a mere existence of futility, but with a sense of vitality and vigor that pleases God and man. For us to surrender to the Messiah and let him guide us gives us a fuller and more satisfying life.

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My Soul Shook

It was dark with only a small fire for light and warmth.  Suddenly an intense brightness, a light such as we had never seen, a light that could never be produced from a fire or oil lamp flooded our field.  An angel stepped out of the blinding light.  I have never been so terrified.  But the angel spoke words of reassurance to us and then the promise of Good News.  The Angel instructed us to go look for a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a feeding trough!  This baby was the Messiah, the Savior.  The sky was suddenly filled with a multitude of heavenly beings singing a holy hymn of joy.

Still partly blinded by the light and recovering from fear on trembling legs, we were led by a sense of holy presence to a barn behind an inn.  He was lying in an ordinary crude manger filled with fresh hay.  I saw Him – MY SOUL SHOOK! Aaron, the shepherd.

Emmaus

It was the day after Passover.  The crowds were leaving Jerusalem, traveling back to their homes.  The Temple was nearly empty after the hectic days of the annual pilgrimage.  I am a doctor of the law and on that day, I made my way over to meet with my colleagues for the discussion of the day’s questions.  I was surprised to see in their midst a small boy.  All of us were amazed at the depth of his understanding of the intricacies of the law. For him, the law was more than rules; it was a matter of heart.  He led us to see Yahweh’s purpose.  With all our combined years of study, our insights paled in the light of his knowledge.  For those hours, the law lived.

After three days of conversation with this remarkable boy, his parents showed up in a panic.  His mother reprimanded him for worrying them so.  His response has never left me.  He said to her, “Why are you searching for me?  Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

I saw the impact of his words on his mother’s face.  She knew.  I began to wonder – His Father? Could he be? As He walked away, He looked back. I saw Him – MY SOUL SHOOK! Saul, Temple Rabbi

The Scripture tells us of many others who saw the Christ, recognized Him, and felt their souls shake – the magi, Anna, Simeon, Paul the Apostle, the centurion at the crucifixion, Cleopas on the road to Emmaus.  Today, when we see Christ with spiritual eyes, recognize Him in our heart; sense His real presence – our Souls Shake!

Reflection – When did you feel your Soul Shake because you saw Christ?

 Monica Boudreaux

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O, Come All Ye Faithful

O Come all ye faithfulThe narratives of the birth of Jesus recorded in the Scriptures are told through the adoration of the baby by ordinary individuals like the shepherds, the magi, and Simeon and Anna.  They all recognized the baby as the Messiah, the Savior of the World.  They worshiped Him acknowledging that He was the one present at creation, foretold by the prophets, the long awaited Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.  He was God come down from heaven where He was worshiped and adored by angels for eternity – to be a man.  He would walk the earth, give himself up to die, and provide the grace to save the whole world.  He would rise from the dead; ascend back to heaven from whence He came to be eternally adored by the angels and the saints of all time.

My grandfather and I sat on his front porch one mild December afternoon.  My Grandfather was a man of simple but great faith.  I asked him what his favorite Christmas carol was.  He rubbed his chin, as was his habit and said, “Oh, that’s easy.  I love the one that tells us to come and adore Him.”

My grandfather with his beautiful tenor voice and I sang “O, Come All Ye Faithful” together that afternoon.  It is one of my most treasured memories of him.

During Advent, the faithful Church is invited back to Bethlehem to revisit Christ’s first coming to the world.  We are invited to listen to the choir of angels that sang to the shepherds.  We are invited to travel with the Magi and follow the star.  We are invited into the stable to behold the King of Angels and simply adore Him.

Needless to say, my favorite Christmas carol is “O, Come All Ye Faithful.”  I love to think of my grandfather in heaven adoring Christ face to face and singing with the voices of all of heaven’s hosts in that beautiful hymn of praise.  And every year during the Christmas season, I still sing it with him as surely as I did that day on the porch.

Reflection – Spend some time in simple adoration of Christ.

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Forever Changed

The place where — according to the Christian f...

The place where — according to the Christian folk tradition — Jesus was born. The site is located in Bethlehem, precisely in the cave under the Church of the Nativity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have often wondered what Bethlehem was like a month after the birth of Jesus.  I am sure the magnificence of the night of the Messiah’s birth had begun to wan. The shepherds had settled into their boring routine of “sheep watching”.  The same field that had been the stage for an angel choir was now dark and cold and guarded by men huddled around a small fire, each questioning what he had really seen.  The innkeeper had completely forgotten the desperate young couple that had spent the night in the barn.  The manger that was the cradle of the King of Kings was now once again a feeding trough for cows.  Now that Caesar’s census was over, Bethlehem was once again a sleepy, country town.

Even though Bethlehem no longer considered the birth of the baby, now one month old, as significant, the world was forever changed that night.  Nothing would ever be the same again, because in their town, God came to this world to finish His marvelous plan to redeem the world.  Beginning that night, God was here to show us how much He loves us and how we ought to love each other.  He was here to show us how to serve unselfishly, forgive unconditionally, pray honestly, live abundantly, and die victoriously.

In the season of Advent, we join a continuous line of Christians who have celebrated for 2000 years the one who was born in poverty, lived sinlessly, died on a cross, and rose from the dead.  Jesus bought us a place in the Kingdom of God – here and now, and eternally in heaven.  He opened wide the doors of Kingdom living in today’s world.  He offers peace beyond our circumstances, hope beyond our dreams, joy beyond our expressions, wisdom beyond our understanding, and accomplishments beyond our abilities.

History was eternally changed that night 2000 years ago in a smelly barn in the dusty, country town of Bethlehem.  We date our calendar by the birth of Jesus.  He changed our approach to God, our worship, how we pray, and how we relate to each other.  The Christ Child brought grace greater than all the sins of the world – a world forever changed.

Reflection – What has changed in your life because of Christ?

 

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Something Scared

Ancient mosaic of Nazareth

Ancient mosaic of Nazareth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Emperor’s registration has been a great boon for business, but a mass of confusion, crowding, and short tempers here in Bethlehem.  Since our humble village is the birthplace of the great King David those of his lineage have been required to come here to be counted.  Our sleepy little country town has been inundated by hordes of irritable citizens inconvenienced by the journey.  I warned my wife weeks ago that the inn would be filled to overflowing for these days. Together we made as many advance preparations as possible – more lamp oil, food, linens.  Still the rush has been more than we bargained for, and we’ve met some real characters.

A few nights ago, a most peculiar thing happened.  An exhausted young man came in just before sunset.  He had just arrived from Nazareth with his very pregnant wife and was desperate for a room.  I told him that I regretfully had nothing to offer him – there was not a corner to be had.  Something about his manner really captured my attention, though.  He wasn’t angry or annoyed as most were, but he just thanked

me and turned to her with such concern and care.  For some reason it was terribly important that I help them.  It occurred to me that the cave in back which serves as a stable was empty.  When offered such humble accommodations they gratefully and readily accepted without a word of complaint.

Sometime during the night, I was awakened by a small group of shepherds that claimed to be looking for a baby.  I was bewildered, thinking perhaps they had had too much wine, but they hurriedly explained their reason for coming to the inn.  They related that angels had appeared to them in their field and told them of a Special Child they were to come and worship for He was the promised Messiah.  The angel instructed them to look for a baby in a manger.  I must say, I felt the strangest sensation and thought of the young couple in the barn.

We went back to see and before us was the most beautiful sight.  The young woman had given birth to a baby boy.  Her husband, I think he said he was a carpenter named Joseph, had cleared out the animals’ manger and put in fresh hay, and there the baby lay all wrapped in warm cloths.  The shepherds fell to their knees.

Although, I was confused and somewhat skeptical, I can truly say this was no ordinary child.  In that smelly old barn, there was a holy presence.  I have been drawn back in there many times in the last few days.  Something lingers – something sacred.

This Advent Season look for opportunities to give compassion.  In doing so you offer Christ’s presence to the world.  Wherever Christ is, there is a holy presence.  Something lingers – something sacred.

Reflection – When has your spirit sensed a sacred presence?

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