Present Presence

No babe in Bethlem,
the manger’s bare,
the cross is empty –
he is not there:
he’s gone to heaven
from where he sees
and hears and guides us,
and holds death’s keys.

So call out to him
that he prepare
a home there for you,
but meet you here,
send down his Spirit
to grace impart,
and be your Guest now
within your heart.

Tune: 54 54D eg ‘Have thine own way, Lord’

The Best

God made a special star one day,
and wise men came from far away.
They understood a wonderful thing –
a baby had been born our King,
Sing, sing of him the wonderful King,
our love and honour to him bring.

An angel told the shepherds, ‘Go!,
God’s love and joy and peace to know;
In Bethlehem the baby boy
is King to bring you peace and joy.’

At Christmas time we have a lot
of presents, fun, but we must not
forget that Jesus is the best –
by him we can be loved and blessed.

Tune:
‘On Christmas night all Christians sing’

Father Precious

Not just a jolly image
who’s bringing gifts galore
(guffaws that shake his rib-cage
ring out around the store),
but one who is a Father
all year to give what‘s good
– not toys but help to better
live now the way we should:

A Father for all seasons,
knows all we’ve ever done,
does not excuse our treasons,
but beckons us to come
confess, receive forgiveness
for Jesus forged the Way,
his Father’s grace be given us
for deeds and words each day.
Tune: 76 76 D eg Nettleton (American Folk Tune) (also used for 87 87 D eg ‘Come Thou Fount of every Blessing’)

Gifts Unvalued

Gifts “exchanged” and gifts “expected”,
grudging giving – price inspected:
some thus hope to buy esteem,
which they later can redeem;
some just want to give a token
as a sign of love unspoken.

God is not obliged to gifting
those forgetting him and drifting,
and we can’t placate, persuade
by a few good deeds displayed;
previous gifts have lain unused
or discarded, mocked, abused.

If we value love so great,
sense our very needy state,
long to live with souls repaired,
fellowship, much anguish spared,
then for ever with him live –
oh, receive what he can give!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Tune: 77 77 77 eg England’s Lane, tune of ‘For the beauty of the earth’, or Dix, tune of ‘As with gladness men of old did the guiding star behold’

Mary’s Tale

By power almighty my son was conceived
before I was married – God’s word I believed.
He also told Joseph this all was his will,
for this was the way he’d salvation fulfil.

Then when he was born, and in manger bed laid,
some shepherds arrived who amazing things said.
So much I’d been told of the role of my son
– his future, I pondered on what was to come.

His ministry, labour would start in due time,
displaying, revealing his nature divine.
Soon after beginning to teach and prepare,
we saw, at a wedding, a glimpse of his power.

His brothers (all younger) at first were concerned,
could not understand him, but later discerned
his saving commission as Lamb and as Lord,
and my heart was bleeding as his life was outpoured.

He saw from the cross, and asked John to be son
to comfort me, caring as he would have done.
You know that from death he returned by God’s power;
soon leaving for heaven, we waited his hour:

We gathered to pray, for his Spirit would come,
on all who now realised my babe was God’s Son,
our Saviour who’d purchased salvation, kind Lord:
this news must be spread out around all the world.

Tune: 11 11 11 11 eg St Denio, tune of ‘Immortal, Invisible, God only wise’)
(cf for instance, Luke 1:32-35; 2:19,20, 33-35; John 2:1-11; 19:26,27; Acts 1:14)

A Carol

A birth by miracle – a son,
God forms within the mother
before her marriage union, one
who’s human and a Saviour.

See! See! the Son has come,
the only perfect Saving One.
Sing! Sing! the joy he’ll bring
to all who find our Jesus.

For God exists, and truly can
do what would seem impossible,
and no denial by mere man
can prove it is incredible.

Exclusive claim, unique, not my
opinion or invented tale.
Will you ignore it, or rely?
– his help will never ever fail.

It’s indescribable, we’re speechless,
for why such truth and kindness?
A real solution (for the helpless),
for death, and guilt, and sadness!

87 87 if with refrain Greensleves

Puzzlement

What child is this, foretold, announced?
His role-to-be, immense, pronounced?
What child is this, wise men revere,
but Herod’s filled with murderous fear?

Accepted, ordinary village lad,
and none claimed he was ever bad.
Then, when of age, he taught as none
had ever taught, his Father’s Son.

His kindness clearly seen, and power –
not ostentatious – [knew his hour
of wiping out all sin and pain
not yet], he faced ahead his main

labour essential, agony,
as substitute upon a tree
in dying there for you and me
so from sin’s wage we can be free –
and soon from pain, all misery.

What child to grow to do all this?
God knew we all had gone amiss –
A second Adam he brought forth,
a human child, but special birth,
to save those desperate on earth.

http://www.abctales.com/story/rhiannonw/puzzlement-ip

The King of kings comes to …

Imagine a most famous king,
rich royalty,
his people gladly serving him,
with loyalty

… would he his royal robes remove
for menial chores,
and, verbally abused, in love
clean prison floors?

To serve and save, Jesus was born:
he knew they’d kill.
The gift procured thus, will you scorn?
– he calls you still.

or

Imagine a most famous king,
rich royalty,
his people gladly serving him,
with loyalty –
imagine a most famous king,
with loyalty

… would he his royal robes remove
for menial chores,
and, verbally abused, in love
clean prison floors?
would he his royal robes remove
clean prison floors?

To serve and save, Jesus was born:
he knew they’d kill.
The gift procured thus, will you scorn?
– he calls you still.
To serve and save, Jesus was born:
– he calls you still.
Tune: 84 84 84 eg Wentworth (tune of ‘my God, I think Thee, Who has made the earth so bright)

Joy to the world

Joy to the world where kindness, love
so often faithless prove.
Our world is lonely, sad, in pain:
but bringing comfort, help he came
rich grace and life to give,
the barrier-debt forgive,
– the Father sent his Son to save.

Joy to the world, the angels sang, –
salvation’s glorious plan!
A baby born, a human child,
the Son of God, man undefiled,
for us our death to die,
our ransom full supply:
to him we can be reconciled!

Joy to the world! Will you who hear
bow down, to him draw near?
in holy fear, and true regret
for follies, greed, and love’s neglect?
His welcoming arms are kind,
rejection, none will find,
who come with all their heart and mind!
Tune: 86 88 66 8 Antioch by George F Handel (tune of ‘Joy to the World’ by I Watts) 196 Grace

(The the Isaac Watts hymn is CM with a 4 line verse, but the 3rd line is slurred to music which fits lines 3 and 4 above happily; also that hymn’s last line is repeated twice, + part of the line – and the music has here been used for the extra two lines.)

Christ’s humility

Philippians 2:5–7
Christ, blessed Son of God
through all eternity,
took on himself incarnate form:
perfect humility.

Christ, Lord and King of all,
leaving his glory came,
willingly served unselfishly,
bearing our wage, sin’s shame.

Humble, unselfish mind
take on that you may serve,
thinking of others’ needs, concerns, –
God’s grace in them observe.

Such binds the Body’s bonds;
pride breaks its unity.
Struggle to keep you attitude –
prayerful humility.
Tune: SM eg Bod Alwyn