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Posts Tagged ‘Emmanuel’

Last week I shared with you journal-contemplations from the first verse of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” As with most hymns and praise songs, it’s easy to sing through the lyrics of this carol and miss their full significance.  

By putting pen to paper, we slow our thinking and wonderful blessings begin to emerge—like increased understanding of God and his Word, renewal of the mind, and augmented intimacy with God.

Contemplations can become worship.

With that in mind, let’s savor the second verse:

“Christ by highest heaven adored”

How glorious the music in heaven must be! Rich, clear voices, every note perfectly pitched. Intricate harmonies and faultless instrumentation.

All these sublime elements come together to worship You, Lord Christ–the Anointed One–who left the magnificence of heaven to be the Savior of humankind.

Thank you, Father, for giving us a glimpse (in the book of Revelation) of the heavenly song that celebrates King Jesus. I can’t help but hear Handel’s majestic melody from Messiah for the lyrics:

I praise You, Lord Jesus, for Your splendor!

“Christ, the everlasting Lord!”

You, O Christ, existed throughout the infinite past and will prevail into the infinite future.

Though Son of God, You are also the Eternal Father, forever with us and LORD of all. Nothing is outside Your control (1).

Power often corrupts in the human realm. But You are perfect in all attributes and motivated by matchless love.

I praise You, O Christ, for the supreme grace of Your Lordship!

“Late in time behold Him come”

To those who waited for Your arrival, You must have seemed late! Centuries had passed since the last prophecy of Your coming.

“But when the time was right,” You, O God, sent Your Son to redeem us (2).

In retrospect we can see why You chose the time of Roman rule. They had established stability in their far-reaching empire, built thousands of miles of roads, and established a common language.

Such factors meant early Christians could spread the good news about You more easily than ever before (3).

I praise You, O God, for Your masterful orchestration

that’s always in operation for the benefit of Your children!

“Offspring of the Virgin’s womb”

You are the One and Only begotten Son of the God the Father, the only Man of heavenly origin who ever lived on earth.

You committed no sin. Without that absolute perfection in You, there would be no salvation for us. God made You, who never sinned, to be sin so we could be made right with Him (4).

I praise You, Righteous Savior, for Your perfection!

“Veiled in flesh the Godhead see”

You embodied all the magnificent attributes of God during Your time on earth, yet You were also human.

You dealt with exhaustion, frustration, temptations, and discomforts, just as we do. The fullness of Your glory was veiled behind the ordinariness of Your humanity (5).

How difficult that must have been to know Your full capabilities yet continually hold Yourself in check.

I praise You, Lord Jesus, for your fierce love

that compelled You to complete such an arduous mission.

“Hail th’incarnate Deity”

No one has ever lived a sinless life except You.

No one espoused wisdom as You did or performed miracles like You.

You are the radiance of God’s glory!

I praise your for your divine holiness.

“Pleased as man with men to dwell”

You chose to come to earth and dwell among us, in spite of our self-centeredness, pride, weakness, and brokenness.

Such an incredible reality!

I praise You, O Lord, for your mercy, for wanting to be with us.

“Jesus, our Emmanuel.”

You are Emmanuel—God with us (7). Once we invite You into our lives we’re never left to our own feeble devices; we’re never without Your attentive care.

In Your presence we experience joy, refreshment, help, and pleasure (8). You enhance every moment of life with Your radiant attributes!

I praise You, O Christ, for choosing to veil Yourself in flesh that we might behold You.

I praise You for dwelling with us that might enjoy You!

Notes:

  1. Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 28:20; Philippians 2:9-11
  2. Galatians 4:4-5 CEV
  3. See “The Appropriate Time” for further details
  4. John 3:16; 1 Peter 2:22; 2 Corinthians 5:21
  5. Daniel Ruben, http://www.fbccarson.org/harktheheraldangelssing
  6. John 10:17 and 1:14
  7. Matthew 1:23
  8. Isaiah 9:3; Acts 2:28 and 3:19; Psalm 42:5; Psalm 16:11

Art & photo credits: http://www.rawpixels.com; http://www.openclipart.com; http://www.pexels.com; http://www.heartlight.org; http://www.worldhistory.org; http://www.canva.com; http://www.freebibleimages.org (2); http://www.wallpaper4god.com; http://www.hippopx.com.

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Dear Father,

Christmas 2015 is almost here. Soon, all preparation will have to cease.

However (as You well know), my to-do list is still not complete; I’m going to have to prioritize and leave some things undone. That’s probably just as well, so my OCD tendencies don’t win over reasonableness!

But even as I try to settle myself, to pray and worship You on this holy day of Christmas Eve, distracting thoughts continue to ping around in my brain:

  • Did I dust the windowsills in the guest room? ‘Can’t remember.
  • Hey! We now have an evergreen tree in the yard. I could clip off some low branches and put them in the deck planters. That might look pretty.
  • Don’t forget to make sure the oil lamp is clean and ready for lighting.

I keep writing these thoughts down so they’re on paper and not in my head, because what I really want to do in these quiet moments is focus on You. I want to wonder again at the magnificent mystery of God becoming man. And I want to thank and praise You for sending Your Son to save me from the consequences of my sins.

Hush my mind, Lord; still my spirit as I pray…

 

bright-light

 

You are the God of the heavenly lights who lovingly sheds Your radiance over us.

With the angels, we praise You: “Glory to God in the Highest!”

All honor, splendor, and glory are Yours!

No one on earth or in heaven is as perfect and splendorous as You.

Who else can wrap himself in light as if it were a robe (Psalm 104:2)?

No one.  No one is Your equal.

What a comfort to know that Someone smarter and wiser than mere man is Sovereign over all.

What peace of mind You provide when I turn over to You the concerns of my life.

 

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Light of the World, Lord Jesus,

All praise to You for leaving Your glorious, heavenly home to dwell with us.

You are our Emmanuel—God with us.

More astounding yet, Your dwelling is not a general presence in the world, but personal.

You actually reside within each of us—when we invite You to do so. Another magnificent mystery.

And You have promised never to leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

In addition, Your Light provides guidance for our choices of action, strength to meet all life’s situations, confident hope for our future in heaven with You, and more.

 

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Help me, I pray, to rise up and shine like a brilliant star, because Your. Light. Has. Come (Isaiah 60:1; Philippians 2:14-15)! What a glorious privilege–to reflect Your Light, pointing the way to abundant life in You.

How I praise you, Lord Jesus, that Your glory, splendor, and power have risen upon me–an incomparable blessing I now enjoy in part, but one day in resplendent totality!

 

(Photo credits:  www.talkofjesus.com; http://www.themelight.radiantwebtools.com; http://www.eso.org.)

 

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