No Christmas hymns entered in our contest today, so I have to provide one: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, by Johann Sebastian Bach; performed by the London Symphony Orchestra in 1961, Leopold Stokowski conducting.
[Reader comments made yesterday have left me not knowing what to say or do. I have tried to make this blog a haven for all Christians, for anyone who needs a bit of shelter from the storm. And what do you do when your friends fight? When someone does something he’s convinced is for the best, and yet it turns out badly?
I’m praying over this, and I need all the prayers that I can get.]
Ruler of all… and ruler for all
I hope this blog provides a haven of fellowship for all who visit it.
Look at the world. Has God forgotten to endow us with a multitude of enemies? Has he left us in such a bed of roses that the only thing to do is fight among ourselves? The fight’s out there, folks–and a dreadful bang-up fight it is–not in here.
If you’re a huge fan of Israel, fine. If you’re not, you’re not. Personally, I root for civilized countries when they’re attacked by murderous barbarians.
In his epistle to Romans, St. Paul never suggested God was now divorced from Israel, and Israel over and done with and discarded. The breach, he prays and hopes, is temporary.
Let’s not open new breaches with each other.
Requested by Teddy, and performed in the snow by students at Fountainview Academy: My Heart Would Be Your Bethlehem.
We have a new leader in our Christmas Carol Contest, as of yesterday–21 views, overtaking 20. But of course the lead can change from day to day!
The puppy is afraid to tackle the stairs–so the grownup dog shows her how it’s done: actually teaches her.
Why do I post a pet video each day? Because our dogs and cats and all the rest are gifts of God… and we shouldn’t ever forget it.
I love to hear Nat King Cole sing Christmas carols.
Requested by Erlene, The First Noel, by Nat King Cole (and if you had some other hymn in mind, the error is my fault–but how wrong can we go with this?).
Back to the carol contest!
Requested by Ina, The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy, sung by Babbie Mason and Jessie Dixon… with some familiar faces from Gaither Music.
Don’t go away, we have another one coming up.
No Christmas carol requests yet–and our computers have risen against us, full-scale mutiny, you wouldn’t believe the trouble I had, posting this: I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing, by Blackmore’s Night. You can’t really sail a ship to Nazareth, but the sentiment is what counts.
Here’s an old Jackie Gleason joke. I hope you haven’t all heard it before; and I hope it gives you a laugh.
A greenhorn gets off the stage in a little town, way out West, walks into the saloon, and orders a drink. Everybody, even the bartender, seems a little nervous. But before he can ask anybody why, a man burst in and cries “Everybody git! Big John’s comin’!” And everybody drops what he’s doing and skedaddles out of the saloon–even the bartender.
A few minutes later, the biggest, meanest-looking cowboy the greenhorn ever saw comes barging into the saloon. He has to duck to get inside, and he’s so huge, he can barely fit through the batwing doors. He has bandoliers across his chest and a .45 on each hip–plus some rather intimidating tattoos.
The greenhorn’s scared; but all he can think is, “I’d better be nice to this guy!” So he says, “Good afternoon, sir! May I pour you a drink?” The big guy gives him a fierce frown, then says “Thankee, don’t mind if I do.”
The greenhorn pours a stiff belt of whiskey, which the big man drains in a single gulp. “Have another?” asks the greenhorn. After a thunderous belch, the cowboy says, “Thanks but no thanks, stranger. I’ve gotta get goin’ out of here… Big John’s comin’.”
I’ve been wondering lately whether we’ve properly understood the prophecy in Ezekiel 37: the vision of the valley of the dry bones. It’s as if a voice cries to me, “Listen! Listen!”
The Valley of the Dry Bones
There are a lot of dead spots in our culture. “Higher education,” for one. And lower education. You can name as many as I can. They all need God’s attention. He asks us, “Can these bones live?” But He already knows the answer.
Another entry in our annual Christmas Carol Contest, this one from Ina: In the Bleak Midwinter, sung by the Gloucester Cathedral Choir.
Is it beginning to feel like Christmas for you?