Daily Devotional – Silent Night

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Luke 2:1-20


CONTEXT

Luke here tells the story of our Savior’s birth. From the decree from Caesar Augustus v.1 that all the Roman world be taxed causing Joseph to take his very pregnant wife to Bethlehem (fulfilling the prophesy  of Micah 5:2 and Daniel 9:25).

Other notable points of the text:

      • Because everyone had to pay taxes in their own hometown all the “inns” in little Bethlehem we full
      • Joseph and Mary likely sought shelter in a stable 
      • It appears even the stable was full for Jesus was laid in a manger, a trough used to feed cattle outside the stable
      • Angles spoke to the Shepherds informing them of the birth
      • A multitude of heavenly hosts appeared praising the Lord

HYMN

Silent Night, may very well be the most widely known played and recorded Christmas hymn of all time. In addition to our text Luke 2:7-9, biblical  inspiration was drawn from Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6.

“Silent Night” is a popular Christmas carol, composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. This hymn has been performed by a vast number of singers from every music genre. The version sung by Bing Crosby is the third best-selling single of all-time.

The hymn was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 at St Nicholas church in Oberndorf, a village in the Austrian Empire on the Salzach river in present-day Austria. A youthful priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had arrived in Oberndorf the year earlier.

The melody was arranged by Franz Xaver Gruber, schoolmaster and organist in the nearby village of Arnsdorf. Before Christmas Eve, Mohr brought the words to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the Christmas Eve mass. – Godtube.com 

Not to be a spoiler I often wonder just how silent the night really was?  Think about the scene, the child is born not in any comfort but next to a barn amongst the animals . Probably not the quietest or most serene conditions. Then again we are talking about the sovereign PRINCE OF PEACE here. If He could instantly bring calm to that think of what He can do for you and me?

May the same Savior that brought peace and silence to the world that eve so long ago fill your hearts and minds this Christmas and throughout the coming year.

Daily Devotional – Underdogs and God?

Micah 5:2 - Sorry, no Eternal Jesus here - YouTube

MICAH 5:2


COMMENTS

I was greatly surprised to find in my research a number of posts arguing against this being a Prophetic Messianic verse.  The vast majority of what I consider established or Old School commentators, would disagree, taking the position it is definitely a verse prophesying about the coming messiah.

Here are three links I think most helpful in this. 

Does Micah 5:2 predict that Jesus would be the Messiah?

Is Micah 5:2 a Messianic prophecy?

Messianic Prophecy


CONTEXT

Chapter 5 begins with the siege of Jerusalem, v.1, and immediately shifts to our text. It is a beyond a doubt (no matter the naysayers) a Prophetic chapter and verse. 

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah; From you One shall come forth for Me [who is] to be Ruler in Israel, His goings forth (appearances) are from long ago, From [a]ancient days.” (AMP)

Even though Jerusalem be under siege all the land of Judah laid destroyed HOPE reigns  in the a little town called  Bethlehem Ephrathah.  For there God has chosen the Messiah to be born, From you One shall come forth for Me [who is] to be Ruler in Israel.  Some of these modern critics have argued that the text does not support a trinitarian or messianic view. However a careful reading of the Hebrew text (no I do not read Hebrew, I rely on those that do) His goings forth (appearances) are from long ago, From ancient days {literally from eternity} can only in the Hebrew language refer to God the Great I AM. 

In reading the text I had to ask, what is it about underdogs and God?  He seems to have a habit of choosing the least likely the weak and insignificant to carry out the most important tasks. Think about it for a minute I bet you can name a few: 

Moses: Abandoned as a child, leads a nation 

Joseph: Sold into slavery, saves a nation

Mary: Unwed nobody chosen to birth the Messiah

Peter: Denies Christ, then the church is built upon him 

Paul: Mass murderer to greatest writer and evangelist in New Testament 

And the list goes on…

So today my prayer is if you feel overwhelmed or maybe ill equipped remember God has a plan for each of us and equips us for each plan. He never choses wrong.


O little town of Bethlehem

In 1865, Phillips Brooks spent some time in Israel, and was in Bethlehem for Christmas. He rode on horseback through the fields around Bethlehem, and attended the Church of the Nativity on Christmas Eve. At that time, Brooks was rector of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. This hymn was probably inspired by this journey, but Brooks did not complete the hymn until 1868. That year, he commissioned a tune for it from his church organist so that it could be sung at the Sunday school service at his church for Christmas on December 27, 1868. It was originally written in five stanzas, but the fourth is usually omitted.

The hymn focuses on the relative silence of the birth of Christ – Bethlehem was just a little town, and only a few people paid attention to the event. The heraldic chorus of angels is minimized in the lines

“While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love.”

The final stanza is a prayer that Christ would come and transform our lives.

 

 

Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday? Jesus Is Myth Become Fact

BreakPoint Daily

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Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday? Jesus Is Myth Become Fact

Several years ago, in a documentary called “Religulous” (clever, right?), Bill Maher claimed that most of the story of Christ, especially the parts about His birth, were cribbed from pagan mythology. After all, Maher claimed, the Egyptian God Horus was born of a virgin on December 25th, was baptized, had twelve disciples, performed miracles, and ultimately died and rose again. Christianity, said Maher, is nothing but a cheap knockoff…

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