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Joy To The World!

from JohnPaul (johnpaul@snowcrest.net)

We're Thinking Of You

Christmas time is a beautiful time
when feelings are warm and sincere.
When people find words for the things
that they mean but don't always say
through the year.

Sometimes our deepest feelings
are the ones we seldom share.
Because we think our loved ones
understand how much we care.

But at this very special time
it's a joy reminding you
that the love expressed at Christmas
is yours the whole year through.

from JohnPaul (johnpaul@snowcrest.net)

I Am The Christmas Spirit

I enter the home of poverty, causing pale-faced children
to open their eyes wide in pleased wonder.

I cause the miser's clutched hand to relax,
and thus paint a bright spot on his soul.

I cause the aged to renew their youth
and to laugh in the glad old way.

I keep romance alive in the heart of childhood,
and brighten sleep with dreams woven of magic.

I cause eager feet to climb dark stairways with filled baskets,
leaving behind hearts amazed at the goodness of the world.

I cause the prodigal to pause a moment on his wild, wasteful way,
and send to anxious love some little token that releases glad tears --
tears which wash away the hard lines of sorrow.

I enter dark prison cells, reminding scarred manhood
of what might have been, and pointing forward
to good days yet to come.

I come softly into the still, white home of pain,
and lips that are too weak to speak just tremble
in silent, eloquent gratitude.

In a thousand ways I cause the weary world
to look up into the face of God
and for a little moment forget the things
that are small and wretched.

I am the Christmas Spirit.

~ Author Unknown ~

from JohnPaul (johnpaul@snowcrest.net)

It's Christmas Time

It's Christmas Time.
Inside our house the scent of cedar
and the glow of fragrant candlelight
bring to mind past Christmases,
our family and friends.
This is a time for love, remembering,
enjoying all the blessings in our life.
You are a blessing to us,
at Christmas time and always.

By Laurel Johnson

from Marennad@aol.com

Silent Night, Holy Night

This ageless story has always been the source of inspiration (Luke 2:8-15)
and Joseph Mohr (1792-1848) found that it was to him. In 1818, when he was
assistant pastor of Oberdorf, near Arnsdorf, he attended a Christmas Eve
meeting at the Arnsdorf schoolhouse. He was greeted by Franz Gruber, a
schoolmaster, organist, songwriter, and intimate friend. As the Christmas
celebration progressed, Mohr withdrew from the room. Later when recalled to
participate in the service, he brought with him a folded paper a gift to Franz
Gruber. Gruber opened it and read aloud, "Silent Night, Holy Night," the poem
which has become the best-loved of all the Christmas hymns.

So touched was he by this beautiful, poetic gift that a sudden inspiration
seemed to come from him. A short time later after Mr. Mohr had retired that
evening he heard his poem being sung to the beautiful tune, "Stille Nacht."
Mr. Gruber had composed the melody! Thus on that memorable eve in 1818, the
richness of the Christmas thought and spirit found expression in:

Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child,
Sleep in Heavenly peace,
Sleep in Heavenly peace.

Silent Night, holy night,
Darkness flies, all is light:
Shepherds hear the angels sing,
"Alleluia Hair the King!
Christ the Savior is Born,
Christ the Savior is born."

Silent night, holy night,
Guiding star, lend thy light:
See the Eastern wise men bring
Gifts and homage to our King!
Christ the Saviour is born,
Christ the Saviour is born.

Silent night, holy night,
Wondrous stars, lend they light:
With the angels let us sing
Alleluia to our King!
Christ the Saviour is Born,
Christ the Saviour is born."

From Marennad@aol.com

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

It is difficult to speak of the works of Charles Wesley without coupling
his efforts with those of his brothers, John and Samuel. Four thousand hymns
were published in the lifetime of the Wesleys and about twenty-five hundred
were left in manuscript form.

Although Charles Wesley was considered the greatest hymn-writer ever
produced by the Church of England, only one of his hymns--"Hark! the Herald
Angels Sing" --was admitted to their Book of Common Prayer for many years.
This hymn first appeared in Hymns and Sacred Poems, a joint hymnal published by
John and Charles Wesley in 1739. When first printed, it began:

Hark, how all the welkin rings,
Glory to the King of Kings.

Several revisions have been made in the original works, but it has always
remained the most widely published hymn of Charles Wesley. No doubt its
popularity has lived because of the clear, beautiful and joyous manner in
which story of Christ's birth and mission is revealed.

More than a century passed before the poem became associated with any fixed
tune. Dr. Cummings principal of the Guild Hall School of Music discovered
this tune in Mendelssohn's "Festgesang."

Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King:
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled."
Joyful all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies:
With th' angelic host proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

from Marennad@aol.com

Joy To The World

No hymn resounds more clearly the message of joy and praise over the birth of
the King of Kings, than the one written by Isaac Watts in 1719 entitled, :Joy
to he World, the Lord Is Come."

Watts lived at a time when religion in England was at "low ebb"; yet he
prophesied the rule of the Lord. Preaching was very formal and frigid in his
day, yet the hymn was marked with enthusiasm and joy. Though the great
missionary movement of the century had not yet begun, he wrote in the present
tense.

This hymn, first published by Watts in his Psalms of David Imitated in the
Language of the New Testament, paraphrases these verses from the ninety-eighth
Psalm:

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth:
Bring forth and sing for joy, yea, sing praises.
Let the sea roar and fullness thereof:
The world and they that dwell therein:
Let the floods clap for joy together
Before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth:
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the people with equity.

The tune taken from Handel's "Messiah" was arranged by Lowell Mason.
He seems to have taken the arrangement, however, from the English Collection by
Clark of Canterbury.

Joy to the World, the Lord is come:
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
and heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the World, the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While field and floods rocks hills and plains,
Repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sin and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness,
And wonders of his love --
Isaac Watts, 1719

from Marennad@aol.com

I Heard The Bells

Seldom do we think of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1892) as a hymn-
writer, for with the mention of his name come thoughts of "the village
smithy." "the chestnut tree," "three doors left unguarded," and the stair
clock tirelessly ticking away "Forever-never! Never-forever!"

The hymn "I Heard the Bells" was written by him at a time when the thought of
peace weighed heavily upon his mind. Christmas 1863, the time at which this
hymn was penned, found the United States in the midst of bloody turmoil. The
Civil War was at its climax. This beloved American poet must have been much
condemned, for in every stanza there is an emphasis on "peace on earth, good
will to men."

Longfellow was born in Portland Maine. After graduating from Bowdoin College,
he spent four years in study and travel: and than returned to his alma mater
as Professor of Modern Languages. He spent six years as a professor at
Bowdoin, and then became Professor of Modern Languages at Harvard.
The tune most commonly used with the hymn is "Waltham," composed by John
Baptiste Calkin.

I heard the bells of Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And Thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled about the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men.

And in despair bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth." I said:
"For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace of earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep
"God is one dead, nor doth He Sleep:
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, goodwill to men."

Til, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

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