Silver Bells & Christmastime
City sidewalks, busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there's a feeling of Christmas
Children laughing, people passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on every street corner you hear
Very soon it will be Christmas day
The song Silver Bells made famous by Bing Crosby, paints an idealized picture of Christmastime. It is what most of the world sees when they think of Christmas. We enjoy the Christmas lights, the busyness of the season, the performances, getting and giving gifts.
Juxtapose Amazon trucks zipping around, busy streets and crowded malls of present-day, to what happened when Christ was born. Mary & Joseph were young and just starting out as a family. They were traveling many miles from home and had nowhere to stay. The city was packed due to the call for a census. They ended up in a stable in a little town of Bethlehem. It was busy and it wasn't ideal. However, a host of angels appeared in front of shepherds. How amazing that would have been to see. In the midst of all that busyness, the Son of God was born in that little stable. Miracles happened that night. And often when we think of that night we think "O Holy Night" and "Silent Night". We idealize this time when Jesus our "bread of life" was born and would change the world forever. How fitting that Christ was born in Bethlehem which means “house of bread”.
Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a lot of busyness here on at SJCS. I have enjoyed this magical time on our campus. Being able to watch the different performances and see the variety of craft projects being done in classrooms always brings a smile to my face. Yet what makes our community so wonderful is that our focus during this season is on the Savior. Every celebration has included all the fun of Christmas, but even more special is the excitement around the birth of our Savior. We hope that as you take time with family and friends to share in special moments this Christmas, that we would all continue to focus on Christ and His birth.
Merry Christmas Tiger Community!
JOY. That is what SJCS students shared on Friday December 1. Between the Preschool concert in the morning and the evening concert shared by Band and Choir students, joy resounded. From the jingle of the bells to the boom of the tympani, from the sweet voices of our youngest students to the deep baritone of our middle schoolers, we started the month of December with a focus on Christmas and the joy we received at the birth of our Savior. A big thank you to all who participated and all who attended.
I love that the Advent season is upon us, a time to remember that we have Immanuel, God with us. More than two thousand years have passed since that first Christmas morning, and God remains faithful to giving His people good gifts. As I imagine what that night was like, when God came down as a baby and then God the Father announced through a brilliant light the arrival, the ordinary became extraordinary. God showed His love for us that day when His Son left Heaven for earth, knowing that He would one day go to the cross. Wow! God loves us so well. Let’s each reflect that love to others during this month. And way beyond that!
Emmanuel - The Miracle of Christmas
God with us. Are there any three words that can give more assurance and peace to us frail and sinful human beings? I do not believe so. As we come into the final weeks of celebrating advent, it is that for which we should be grateful. God gave us Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, when He sent that baby. That baby, our Savior.
A.W. Tozer said, “Jesus Christ knows the worst about you. Nonetheless, He is the one who loves you most.” In my mind, that is the biggest miracle of Christmas. God in His sovereignty had each one of us in His mind, He already had a plan for each of us, and I think He took one look at our future and thought, “I need to send a Savior NOW!” Jesus, human born, yet divine in nature, became Emmanuel in that manger. More than 2000 years later, He is still with us and His Word is still true.
As we gather with family and friends, our joy should be overflowing. November isn’t the real Thanksgiving-the celebration of Christ’s birth should garner true, faith-filled Thanksgiving from each and every one of us. In the midst of all the noise, listen. Listen for the voice of God and rest in the peace that GOD IS WITH US! His promises were and are and always will be true. Forever.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness forever.The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Merry Christmas from the SJCS family to yours.
Advent Upon Us
About 15 years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Vienna, Austria with my church choir to sing at several cathedrals in Vienna and surrounding cities. (We even sang at the church where Mozart played the organ-so cool!) Many other choirs joined us as part of a large Advent sing festival that lasted for the entire Advent season. Advent candles could be found at every corner and market. It was amazing to be part of the anticipation of Christmas.
In Latin, the word advent means coming. At Christmas, it doesn’t mean the coming of gifts or parties or shopping, but the coming of our Savior. Take a minute to think about the number of years that Jesus’ coming was anticipated. However, the fact that he came in such a humble way, as a baby, was not the splendor that many expected. Even with Isaiah’s prophecy that He would be born to a virgin, there was (and is) unbelief. For the Savior to be born into the poverty of a peasant and spend His first night in a feed trough was unimaginable. Think of it. The God of the universe left the glory of heaven and moved into a rough neighborhood. All because He loves us.
As we look forward to celebrate Christ’s first coming, His birth, let’s remember to praise God and be amazed by His Gift of love to us.
Christ Himself was like God in everything...But He gave up His place with God and made Himself nothing. He was born as a man and became like a servant. Philippians 2:6-7