Here is a little background story of a project a sang on with Undercover back in 1988.
Below are links to the story line, and then a sample of the tune, which can be purchased on iTunes.
Story line: http://ojotaylor.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/undercover-the-broken-christmas/
The song, which still has a good message! : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk2JB4VEauA&feature=youtu.be
…that when we open presents, we always go one at a time, starting with the oldest person opening the present from the youngest person. That is a tradition from Debbie’s family that we have practiced our entire marriage.
…that my wife shines at Christmas. She is so considerate and thoughtful towards our family.
…that Christmas is a GREAT reason to have a day off.
…that Debbie gets three weeks vacation from her teaching job during Christmas.
…saying Merry Christmas to people, and that the holiday points to Jesus.
…some of the Christmas Carols and the incredible lyrics that have been written about the Incarnation. Some of the lyrics from “Hark The Herald Angel Sing”, written by Charles Wesley, include the following:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Now that is lyric writing!
…that our family always is together, and that now we have extended family with our daughter in law Melissa and our son in law Caleb.
…that though I used to hate Christmas (click here for that article) that now I love Christmas. It is a day of giving thanks, and being incredibly aware that God loves me, and has blessed me so much. I haven’t grown less aware of the wrongs in the world, but I have grown increasingly aware of His goodness in the world. For me, that has been the turn around and the thing that has changed my perspective. I have grown increasingly aware of God’s love for me, and His grace towards me, and that has put a new face on Christmas for me.
…that I can pray and have hope for others who struggle with the heaviness of this world, and with their evaluation of self. I love that God changes people, and inspires them, and heals them, and gives them hope and an expectation of good.
…that the Incarnation took place so that my glorification will take place. He stepped into my world so that He could someday take me to His world.
Friends and family…Merry Christmas, with much love…
Genesis 3:8-11 8And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” 10So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden. Emmanuel. God was “with” them. When they sinned, that fellowship was broken, and they were put out of the Garden. Though God is always there, the aspect of walking with Him was broken. The “Emmanuel” experience ceased.
Matthew 1:21-23 21And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”
Jesus entered our world and walked among us. God in the flesh, come to reveal the Father, and to die for our sins. Emmanuel once again.
For every Christian, the Emmanuel experience is one of God’s great gifts to us. What an awesome thing to be able to experience God.
Revelation 21:1-3 1Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
God’s ultimate goal for His children is to once again walk among them and dwell with them. It will be in a fuller sense than what we have now.
What do we see? We see that God’s desire is to “walk” with His people. The Biblical account of God’s interaction with man shows us that He has always wanted to have relationship with man. It started that way. It will end that way. God desires relationship, friendship, and communion with us.
What could be more satisfying, more stabilizing, and more healing than a living, vital relationship with God? What could be more exciting? What could inspire and instill more hope or anticipation for the future? What could better “lift us up”, and make us to be the people that God created us to be?
Dear Christian: May you enjoy friendship with God. It is God’s eternal desire to “be” with you. Don’t allow anything to hinder that. Don’t allow sin to hinder that. Don’t treat relationship with God as a small thing, or a light thing, or as an optional thing. It is a great privilege to “walk with God”. It cost Jesus His life.
Dear friend who might not know Jesus. He wants to forgive you, and fill you with Himself. The Bible tells us our sins separate us from God. The Bible also declares that Jesus offered Himself as a substitute, receiving in Himself the punishment that we deserve. He did that in order to do away with the separating aspect of sin.
One of God’s names is Emmanuel. God with us. That’s why he came. That’s what we celebrate at Christmas. Ask Him to be with you.
That is a sad statement, but it is true. I’m not real happy about it being true, but that’s the truth: I used to hate Christmas. It’s been many years since that dark season of life, but I don’t forget how sad it used to be for me. Since the unforgiving multitudes aren’t reading this blog, I thought it might be safe to share that little secret with my friends.
Christmas used to be, for me, like walking into a huge surprise pop quiz, except that it wasn’t a quiz, it was your final grade for the class. No, it was bigger than that. It was a public statement about who you really were, what you were really like. It revealed your heart, which in different seasons of life, could be quite discouraging.
Christmas was a time of seeing how everyone else lived. It was a time of seeing people who were full of joy, and who were lighthearted. A time of noticing thoughtfulness, sensitivity, loving planning, and selflessness. Gifts were given that hadn’t been picked up at the last minute, but that had been lovingly searched for. Surprised faces and warm laughter told stories of thoughtful loved ones who had purchased the gift that was “just right”.
Christmas was a time of seeing how life ought to be. Even though the day was on the calendar, the total sum of what Christmas meant always caught me unprepared. It was a day that “measured” me. I used to hate Christmas.
I clearly remember those somber days. I am blessed to say that in these days, I love Christmas. I am aware of the “then”, and aware of the “now”, but the in between time is a difficult to quantify.
By God’s grace, a huge change has taken place. It has been gradual, and almost imperceptible on a day by day basis. There was nothing that happened overnight, but something that was slowly happening every day. There was no huge one time revelation, but a thousand small ones. There wasn’t a single, momentous inner resolution towards a total life change, but a daily decision to follow Jesus. There was no self-reformation, but a conforming that came by God’s hand upon a hurting heart.
Two verses illustrate this work that God has done in me…
Philippians 2:13 “…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
Romans 8:29a “…For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…”
When a person surrenders to Jesus, God begins to work in that surrendered heart. He creates His will in that heart. He puts a heavenly desire in that heart. That act of God doesn’t remove a person’s will, but now a new will and desire is there. A higher will for better things.
Along with that new heavenly desire is the ability to follow God’s will, to “do” it. So that person now has the desires of God in his/her heart, along with the ability to begin to follow through in that direction.
What then, is God’s desire for that person? God’s desire is to conform that person’s life to the image of His Son. That means that God helps that person to become more like Jesus, “full of grace and truth”, and so much more. Besides forgiveness, there is healing and wholeness that takes place in the soul.
Once a person surrenders to Jesus, the only responsibility that they have is to keep surrendering to Jesus. God gives both the desire and ability to do that. The result is a wonderfully changed life.
I didn’t change my life, God did. I may have been able to change my behavior, or my habits, or my language, but I could never change “what” I was. I could never change the deep stuff of the soul. And I certainly never could conform myself to “the image of His Son”. God did that. God continues to do that.
What has been the result? Well, I like Christmas. It doesn’t measure me any more. It gives me an opportunity to express my love for people, without fear of failure. It doesn’t dictate to me what kind of person I am. Whether I have a “good” Christmas or not, they are all good, because life is good. Life is no longer based upon events, performance, or even feelings. There is an under girding that doesn’t fluctuate with emotions. There is a stability that is other worldly. There is now a life that is sustained, encouraged, and comforted based upon God, and His love for me.
Christmas speaks to me of God’s love for me. Jesus stepped into my world, and brought Heaven to me. Christmas speaks to me of that unsearchable but very knowable truth. Emmanuel. God is with us.
May you all have a blessed Christmas season. Love to you all.