In Bethlehem, long before …

A stranger poor, she could but glean,
on charity dependent,
her faithful kindness had been seen,
received reward abundant:
the master and his men made sure
she had their full protection,
on purpose left her gleanings more,
and shared their lunch provision.

This was in Bethlehem, long ago,
where faith in God had waned,
but Ruth, from Moab, came to know
Him, and his blessings gained.
That girl the godly master wed –
what joy at Obed’s birth,
and his descendant, far ahead
would be Christ, come to earth.
Tune; CMD
from the book of Ruth in the Bible

What do you want most this Christmas?

He offers what we need the most –
sent Jesus here to bear the cost.
He gives us new desires for things
his love and grace in Jesus brings.

So do you want what is the best,
the damaging desires lost?
Those things which we enjoyed at first
were soon disclosed as really worst.

The ways of God are sometimes hard,
and joy for now is sometimes marred
by troubles, yet faith knows support
and in your heart his joy is wrought.

Tune: LM

‘The true light which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world’ John 1:9

“Let there be light!” He said, and so
into the dark light shone.
Now he’ll illuminate our hearts
– dark ignorance then gone.

He came into the world as man
to teach, display and save –
from Bethlehem to Calvary
then rose up from the grave.

Creating light, creating stars,
and nebulae immense.
He knows all truth, and thus can give
real insight, life makes sense.

And all his words recorded are
a torch, a lamp to guide,
to counter lies that trip, entrap:
we can in joy abide.

Tune: CM

Silent night, Special night

(based on ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’)

Silent night, special night,
all is dark, comes the Light.
Mary with her first-born child,
by whom we’ll be reconciled.
Saviour sent to redeem. (X2)

Silently, most knew not
sleeping babe, makeshift cot,
held the Gift unique for all,
now awhile for milk must call.
Saviour soon will redeem. (X2)

Simple scene, soon will mean
Herod’s threat, real but yet
Joseph warned, with Jesus fled,
Saviour safe to be our Head:
Teacher died in our stead. (X2)

Tune: “Stille Nacht” by F Gruber, Irregular (tune of ‘Silent night, holy night’ on which this is partly based)

A manger-crib

(based on ‘Away in a Manger)
No crib, just a manger to lay down his head,
his mother must place him where cattle had fed.
Though he is the King over all of the earth,
so quiet, so humble, unnoticed his birth.

Like all babies crying for food from his Mum,
but free of bad temper, to save he had come;
He’d suffer so we could be pardoned of sin,
and changed in our hearts, godly life to begin.

For now he is living again on his throne,
and all of my troubles and praying are known.
His Spirit can stay by my side every day,
and fit me for heaven and lead in his Way.

Tune: 11 11 11 11 eg tune of ‘Away in a manger’ on which this is partly based.

Blest merriment: Global news

(based on the carol ‘God rest you merry, gentlemen’)

God make you happy, one and all,
no need to be dismayed,
For Jesus Christ the Saviour
was in a manger laid,
but born to save us from the things
which trap us when we’ve strayed.
Bringing news of real comfort and joy, comfort and joy,
Bringing news of real comfort and joy.

God make you happy, give you joy,
He is the only One
who can our lives’ confusions solve,
and so He sent His Son,
announced to shepherds in the field
salvation’s work begun;
Global news: lasting comfort and joy, comfort and joy,
Global news: lasting comfort and joy.

tune: 8686 86 and refrain eg tune of ‘God rest you merry, gentlemen’.

Light to the Bleakness

(based on the carol, ‘In the bleak mid-winter’ by Christina Rosetti)

In the bleak mid-winter
all is cold,
troubles biting, bitter –
Love foretold
God is coming bringing light,
comfort and release
to lives cold as winter
He sent peace.

In the wintery bleakness
where is joy?
sorrow, hardness, weakness
– a baby boy,
God is coming as foretold
the miracle will be
he’ll redeem from bleakness,
set us free.

Those who’d heard with patience
wait amid
sorrows of all nations,
but God did
come as promised touching hearts,
for Christ paid,
now imparts redemption,
life and aid.

Tune: Cranham by Gustav Holst (irregular) tune of ‘In the bleak mid-winter’ by Christina Rosetti. on which this is slightly based.

Emmanuel (= God with us)

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
all people need good news – Noël*
to give life purpose, future clear ,
and know his grace and comfort near.
Rejoice, Emmanuel has come
– the Light to shine for everyone.

O come, Emmanuel to free
from Satan’s lies and tyranny
with power to save and truth to teach
our guilt and fears your grace can reach.
Rejoice, Emmanuel …

Israel was taught to wait, prepare
– their God would come, their nature share
as man to teach, in mercy serve –
bearing the judgement we deserve.
Rejoice, Emmanuel …

All nations would be called to Him
the wonderful and glorious King,
to bow, receive abundant life
support while in this world of strife.
Rejoice, Emmanuel …

  • Noël = Good News
    Tune: LM+refrain, eg ‘Veni Emmanuel’ tune of the old carol, ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel’’ on which this is slightly based.

Messages

Promised long ago in Eden,
One to quash the devil’s scheme,
One to save the sons of Adam
– from rebellion to redeem.

Promised then to Israel’s nation,
to await, prepare in faith,
telling out to other peoples
– ‘Saviour comes for all the earth’.

Prophets warned them when they wandered
from their God’s good, holy ways
– always some were faithful, constant
waiting for redemption’s days.

In the East some expectation
of a coming King – some gaze,
noticing the special star that
over Israel shone, ablaze.

Tune: 87 87 trochaic

Decluttering

“No room in the inn” –
no room in the clutter,
the litter and glitter,
the whirling of life, for Him;

with battering, jetting
and fluttering, flitting
no free space to find
in minutes or mind –

the time to de-clutter
and quit all the tatters
of things that don’t matter,
… to find something better?

Make room in the schedule
for His role and rule
and peace – welcome goal:
Come to me, I’ll hear,
Come near and come in, my King.