In the course of the past few weeks, while determining what to post each day on the Christmas blog, entitled From Thanks 2 Giving, I've gathered several quotes, memories and poems about Christmas. I'm sharing them here on the regular blog page as overflow to the Christmas blog, to help you prepare for the hours ahead. May mine be full of Christ and less of me. Merry Christmas Eve, friends!
The spirit of Christmas needs to be superseded by the Spirit of Christ. The spirit of Christmas is annual; the Spirit of Christ is eternal. The spirit of Christmas is sentimental; the Spirit of Christ is supernatural. The spirit of Christmas is a human product; the Spirit of Christ is a divine person. That makes all the difference in the world. – Stuart Briscoe
Man’s maker was made man,
that He, Ruler of the stars, might nurse at His mother’s breast;
that the Bread might hunger,
the Fountain thirst,
the Light sleep,
the Way be tired on its journey;
that the Truth might be accused of false witness,
the Teacher be beaten with whips,
the Foundation be suspended on wood;
that Strength might grow weak;
that the Healer might be wounded;
that Life might die. - Augustine of Hippo (Sermons 191.1)
When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs? - G.K. Chesterton
In His birth, too, there was a covering of lowliness, so that none but the Spirit-taught mind could discern the Savior-King or know the Lord of glory. But oh! the amazing privilege of those to whom this blessed Spirit has been as the star in the East--so that from the very ends of the earth they are brought, saying, "We have come to worship Him." That privilege is ours. We have felt the need of Him, have seen His suitability, and are brought to partake of the saving benefit. - Ruth Bryan, Letters, 1805-1860
Does Christmas . . . bring with it sorrowful feelings and painful associations? Do tears rise unbidden in your eyes when you mark the empty places around the fireside? Do grave thoughts come sweeping over your mind, even in the midst of your children's mirth — when you recollect the dear old faces and much loved voices of some who sleep in the churchyard? Well, look up and look forward! The time is short. The world is growing old. The coming of the Lord draws near! There is yet to be a meeting without parting, and a gathering without separation. Those believers whom you laid in the grave with many tears are in good keeping — you will yet see them again with joy. Look up! I say once more. Lay hold by faith on the "coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto Him." Believe it, think of it, rest on it. It is all true!
Do you feel lonely and desolate as every December comes round? Do you find few to pray with, few to praise with, few to open your heart to, few to exchange experience with? Do you learn increasingly, that Heaven is becoming every year more full — and earth more empty?
Well, it is an old story. You are only drinking a cup which myriads have drunk before. Look up and look forward. The lonely time will soon be past and over — you will have company enough by and by. "When you wake up after your Lord's likeness — you shall be satisfied." (Psalm 17:15.) Yet in a little while and you shall see a congregation that shall never break up, and a Sabbath that shall never end. "The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto Him," shall make amends for all! - J.C. Ryle
A Christmas Day Prayer by John MacDuff, 1885
Almighty and Everlasting God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we desire, on this sacred anniversary, to draw near, in His name, to Your footstool. Our souls would magnify the Lord—our spirits would rejoice in God our Savior; for He who is mighty has done great things for us, and holy is His name. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up for us a horn of salvation in the house of His servant David.
We look back with gratitude and joy to that memorable night, when the angels appeared over the Plains of Bethlehem, proclaiming that the promised Child was born, the promised Savior was given; that through Him, while glory was secured to God in the highest, peace was proclaimed on earth, and good-will to the children of men. We adore the amazing condescension which brought the Lord of life and of glory from His Throne in Heaven to that manger of humiliation; "God over all," dwelling in union with an infant of days!
We desire to present ourselves before the Holy Child Jesus, like the wise men of old, with the gold, and frankincense, and myrrh of our best affections and deepest love. Had it not been for this inconceivable stoop from the infinite to the finite—where would we have been this day? Well may we join in the angelic song, and say, "Glory! eternal glory be to God in the highest, for His best—His unspeakable gift; without which, not one ray of hope or joy could have visited our doomed world." As we gather in thought around His cradle, may our souls rise in lively gratitude to Him who spared not His only Son, but freely gave Him up unto death for us all. We will sing unto the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gotten Him the victory. Thanks be unto God who gives us the victory, through the Lord Jesus Christ.
May we seek, by holy, righteous, and consistent lives—by holy living and holy walking—to show that we are not insensible of all His unmerited love and kindness. Blessed Jesus, make us Yours. Sanctify us wholly—wean us from earth—train us for glory. Forbid that it should be said, that for any of us, Bethlehem's manger was prepared in vain, and Bethlehem's angel-song sung in vain. Contemplating You this day in Your humiliation, when You were made in the likeness of man, may it be ours to look forward, with holy joy, to Your second coming in the clouds of Heaven; Your tears, and sorrows, and sufferings all past—when the Babe of Bethlehem—the sufferer of Gethsemane—the crucified of Calvary—shall be seated on the Throne of universal empire, and crowned "Lord of all."
We pray that Your holy name may be everywhere magnified. Arise, O God, and plead Your own cause. May a dark world be soon cheered by the wondrous proclamation we this day love to recall. May the "Prince of Peace" take to Himself His great power and reign—causing men to beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
We pray for the afflicted—lead them too this day to Bethlehem's Savior. Show them all that He was willing to do for them; and may this reconcile them to bear patiently whatever trial He may see fit to appoint; may they rejoice in His tender sympathy, remembering one great end for which He descended to the lowly manger was, that in all points He might be tempted even as they are.
Bless our children—let them be brothers and sisters of Him who (once the lowly Child Jesus) is now an exalted Elder Brother on the Throne. Give us all that is really good for us—withhold all that is evil. May Your will be our only rule and directory; may we trust You in everything; and look forward with joyful hearts to that better time, when we shall be permitted, with a multitude which no man can number, to take up the song of this day, and ascribe "glory to God in the highest," for that mercy which, through His own dear Son, is to endure forever. And all we ask, is for His sake. Amen.
A Christmas recollection by Corrie ten Boom
I want to tell you about a happy and a sad Christmas in my life. Christmas was a feast in our Beje home. Mother and the aunts had a gift for making it as colorful and happy as possible. I remember the holly and the mistletoe – the Christmas table with the red ribbons. Sometimes even a little Christmas tree.
Tante Jans always gave her soldiers a Christmas book and the bookstore sent us a great number from which to choose the best ones. Even as a child I remember the joy of reading through and looking at all those books.
The climax of the feast in the Beje was when we were enjoying Christmas Eve stories and the singing of carols.
Tante Jans could tell a story so beautifully that nobody could stop listening to her. I remember the real Christmas event was clearly stressed by her and Father, who read the Bible from a booklet where you could read not only Luke but also the other Gospels – Matthew 2 following Luke 2, verse 20. All the happenings that followed each other as one great story. Both Father and Tante Jans made it so clear to us that Christmas was for all of us. For me. Jesus came for me. Jesus was my friend, my Saviour.
It was Christmas, 1944. Betsie had died. I was in a hospital barracks in Ravensbruck [a concentration camp for helping to hide some Jews]. Dark it was in my heart, and darkness was around me.
There were Christmas trees in the street between the barracks. Why, I don’t know. They were the saddest Christmas trees I ever saw in my life. I am sure it was with the purpose of blaspheming that they had thrown dead bodies of prisoners under the Christmas trees.
I tried to talk to the people around me about Christmas, but they mocked, ridiculed, and sneered at whatever I said. At last, I was just quiet. It was in the middle of the night that suddenly I heard a child crying and calling,”Mommy! Come to Oelie. Oelie feels so alone.” I went to her and saw a child not so young, but feeble-minded.
“Oelie, Mommy cannot come, but do you know who is willing to come to you? That is Jesus.”
The girl was lying on a bed next to the window, not far from my bed. Although Oelie was completely emaciated from lack of food, she had a sweet face, beautiful eyes and wavy hair. It was so touching to hear her call for her mother. Oelie had been operated on and the incision on her back was covered by a thin bandage of toilet paper.
That night I told this poor child about Jesus. How He came into the world as a little baby – how He came to save us from our sins.
“The Lord Jesus loves Oelie and has borne her punishment on the cross. Now Oelie may go to heaven, and Jesus is there right now. He is getting a little house ready for Oelie.” Later I asked her what she remembered of what I told her.
“What is the little house like?” I asked.
“It is very beautiful. There are no wicked people as in Ravensbruck – only good people and angels. And Oelie will see Jesus there.”
The child added, “I will ask Jesus to make me brave when I have pain. I will think of the pain that Jesus suffered to show Oelie the way to heaven.” Then Oelie folded her hands; together we gave thanks.
Then I knew why I had to spend this Christmas in Ravensbruck in 1944.
Originally posted here.
The J.C. Ryle and Ruth Bryan quotes and the Christmas Day prayer first appeared at GraceGems.org
Laura Miller aka mrsdkmiller
Looking for a list of articles published around the web?
Looking for posts written in response to 5-Minute Friday prompts? Click here:
Her March Isn't Over
Across the River
When God Pries My Fingers Off My Children
Life's Defining Moments
To the Christian Wife Who Berated Her Husband in Front of My Daughter
Zeal and Grace in France
An Unconventional Love Story
Seeing What's in Front of Our Eyes
Remembering Why I Called You Hannah
Love Your Sister.
Because He Came Home
Go Valiantly! A Prayer for New Homeschooling Moms
© lauraenglandmiller, #thereyougothinkingagain, Laura E Miller
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