Hoping Together For Christmas
I heard the bells on 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 along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
Till 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.
This poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was written on Christmas day in 1864. Later it was turned into the Christmas carol “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”.
Longfellow had been through a terrible few years. His wife had died in an accidental fire. The Civil War raged on with tens of thousands of people dying each month.
His eldest son was severely wounded in battle. When Christmas came he didn’t feel very hopeful.
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong, And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
It is easy to forget that the hope we have is not rooted in the present situation but in Christ. Our Peace cannot be based on possessions, people, or places.
Jesus the Christ is our only hope and source of peace.
Joh 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
The poet, Longfellow, came to this as he wrote the last few stanzas
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”
This Sunday as we continue the series “Together for Christmas”. You can learn about three gifts you are given when you hope in Christ. These gifts will make being together for Christmas a reality. Do everything you can to be there and invite a friend.
PREPARING FOR SUNDAY
Please prayerfully read the scripture and be prepared to discuss the questions in your small group.
And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “EVERY firstborn MALE THAT OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS.” And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.” And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed– and a sword will pierce even your own soul–to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
- IS CHRISTMAS TIME PEACEFUL OR STRESSFULL FOR YOU ? PLEASE EXPLAIN
- WHAT THINGS DO WE TRY TO GET PEACE FROM THIS TIME OF YEAR?
- WHY IS CHRISTMAS TIME SO HOPELESS AND HARD FOR MANY PEOPLE?
- WHEN SIMEON SAW JESUS WHAT DID HE SEE?
Luk 2:29-32 “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.”
- WHAT ARE WAYS YOU COULD SHIFT YOUR HOPE BACK TO CHRIST?
Joh 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
Mar 4:18-19 “And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
Php 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- IN WHAT AREA DO YOU NEED CHRIST TO GIVE YOU LIGHT?
Joh 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”