The World of Lu

Creating a digital heritage while engaging in some quality musings!

Archive for the category “Imagine Christmas”

Imagine Christmas: Blessed Assurance (part 1)

Mother-Mary-and-Baby-Jesus

As·sur·ance [ ə shoorənss ]
  • the state of being assured: as security: a being certain in the mind: a confidence of mind or manner
  • pledge or promise: a declaration that inspires or is intended to inspire confidence
  • certainty: freedom from uncertainty

The Scriptures ask us to believe that Mary was a virgin when she became pregnant and that this was a miraculous work of God.  We are told that it was communicated to her by an angel, not just any angel but an angel with a name, Gabriel who dates back to the time of the Babylonian Captivity and the prophet Daniel and long before that time.  When your angel comes with a name and noteriety you should pay very, very close attention!

Not only that but we are asked to believe that this soon coming child was Jesus the Messiah, Immanuel, God with us, the promised Savior. And Joseph is asked to believe this too. And yes Mary also!

The Bible does not mince words and presents the incarnation, God come in the flesh as fact.  However God recognizes our own internal needs for proofs and reassurance when it comes to miraculous and supernatual things. Especially ones of such enormous consequence.

So the Scriptures (mainly through Matthew and Luke) provide us additional testimony and events to bring assurance to us that all this is trustworthy and true.

As I have looked at the Biblical accounts I am fascinated with all the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. And the longer I have pondered them the more I am convinced that these assurances were first and foremost for Mary’s sake.  It would seem odd that Mary would need any further assurance after the angel came.

But notice that right after the announcement the angel in essence says “Go visit Elizabeth, no one in your town knows about the miracle she’s carrying but she who was barren all her life and was written off as too old to have children is pregnant.” Boom!

I think Mary might need a bit more encouraging assurance than even we 21st century readers.  She does not know the middle or the end of this story for she is starting from the beginning.  She would need these prophetic faith-builders as she is actually living out this amazing adventure in “real-time” not knowing what tomorrow will bring.

Our assurance will come as we hear of her assurances. Shepherds, Simon and Anna, Magi… These signs and assurances will build and sustain faith.  Let us ponder and treasure God’s interaction in the life of Mary and Joseph.

The wonderful and amazing thing is that God has not stopped confirming His word in the lives of His people today.  Are you looking to God to intervene supernaturally in your life? He’s still in the business of bringing assurance… blessed assurance!

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Friday Review: 4 More 4 Christmas Time!

angel_lute

I have four more songs to close out your Christmas season with.  Now you do know that the 12 days of Christmas represent the time between December 25 and January 6? Prior to Christmas is the season of Advent.

During Advent (if you care to celebrate it… the advent calendar is really fun to do with your kids!) it is customary NOT to sing songs about Jesus birth but to sing songs that anticipate his coming (and his coming again!).  O Come O Come Immanuel is a favorite during Advent. Both Godspell’s and Handel’s “Prepare Ye The Way” are used effectively.

So when Christmas finally arrives and you’ve been preparing for it for 4 weeks you are ready to sing carols for 12 days! (at least that’s the thinking… however the Shopping Malls continually pipe in Christmas carols ad nauseam from Thanksgiving and these songs seem ubiquitous on the radio so the intended effect is significantly undermined). 

Anyone leave their trees up till January 6, the last of the 12 days? Ah yes, January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany… Magi from Persia and a magnificent star and Bethlehem and three precious gifts… a topic hopefully I’ll write about this coming weekend.  But for now… four more songs during Christmastide!  My daughter who like most of us is sick of the customary Christmas songs actually enjoyed hearing 2 of these in the car the other day.

1. Blessed is HeThe_Lord_Reigns_SNA_Praise_Band by Chris Lutyk

This is a song that I wrote in 1979 not too long after I was saved in 1978.  It was recorded as part of a worship album by The Praise Band which led worship for a ministry called “Saturday Night Alive”. I was privileged to play bass every Saturday night for 3+ years. 

My wife, Nora was also a part of the ministry and she sings one of the leads on “Blessed is He” and Lacey Roland sings the other.  Rick Lord, SNA worship leader (now an Episcopal priest in Northern Virginia) played the guitar parts. The song is slow with minimal instrumentation until the “big” chorus.  We threw everything into that chorus mix… guitar with distortion, Hammond B3 sound and lots of vocalists!  Hope you like it!

Here is the link to “Blessed is He” on youtube.

Messiah Born, in Bethlehem
Our Savior sent for God so loved the world
Our King has come (Alleluia) The Anointed One (Alleluia)
The Risen Lord who sits at the right hand of God

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord
Blessed is He the Lamb of God
Blessed is He who comes the King of all
We will shout out His Name
We will sing to His Praise
Alleluia, Immanuel, Jesus Christ

2. Immanuel by Andy ParkVineyard_Christmas_Immanuel

My favorite up-tempo contemporary Christmas song of all time! Partially because of how well it works in a live worship setting at Christmas time.  The triplets are fun.  It’s a 90’s production but the song translates well into the 21st century.  The album it comes from is called “A Vineyard Christmas” and as far as I can tell is out of print and only available used.  The song was written by Andy Park and he has granted his permission for me to put it up on youtube.

Here is the link to “Immanuel” on youtube.

Immanuel, unto us a Son is given
Immanuel, is God with us
He is born for us Christ the long-awaited Messiah
Immanuel has come to dwell with us

Now a light has dawned
In the land of darkness
Now the chosen One has come to us
We have seen His light
We have seen His glory
Shining in the dark
Like the rising sun

Born in a manger
A baby poor and lowly
Born of a virgin in Christ the Lord
Glory to the Lord
All glory in the highest
Peace on earth to me
Will follow Him

© 1990 Mercy Publishing

3. Can You Imagine by Wendy FoyChristmasinourtime_

This light jazzy Christmas is not a worship song but it is one of the most creative and unique approaches for a song about the birth of Christ.  The wonderful vocals of Wendy Foy call us to imagine ourselves in the manger witnessing the birth, being with Mary and Joseph.  Imagining ourselves as one of the shepherds or one of the wise men.  I personally like to imagine how it would be like to see through the eyes of Biblical characters. The album this song came from is quite good.  All but two songs are contemporary originals.  One is a hymn called “Holy God We Praise Thy Name” sung by Bob Bennett who has a perfect voice for this contemporary arrangement.  The other is a Christmas carol “In The Bleak Midwinter” which has a simply lovely vocal arrangement in the middle verses. 

Here is the link to “Can You Imagine” on youtube

And here is the link to purchase the MP3 collection of “Christmas in our Time”

4. And On That Day by Phil KeaggyWelcome_Inn_Keaggy

I heard this song years ago on the radio years ago and loved it.  However it was off an old Phil Keaggy album and I never found it not knowing the exact name of the song.  One of my favorite Christmas topics is the relationship and encounter of Mary and Elizabeth.  This song covers both women’s heavenly intervention with the promise and fulfillment to two amazing gifts from God.   The youtube version will give you the gist of the song.  It is an “olde English” 3/4 time ballad.  What is missing from the live version is the female vocalist who exchanges verses with Phil and who sings harmony on the chorus.  Plus the instrument section is played on both guitar and flutes adding a wonderful beauty to the arrangement.  It’s found on the album “Welcome Inn”.

On youtube there is a live version “And On That Day”

On Amazon you can hear the female vocal during the sample clip – “And On That Day” – mp3 – I’m sure iTunes has it too.

I hope you find something you like and can add to your yearly Christmas experience.

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