Letter To Our Children
by Pastor Joe | November 29, 2023 | Letters To Our Children
November 29, 2023
We have begun the Advent season here at church. It is my favorite time of year. Two days ago, something that had never happened before in my adult life happened. I received an Advent calendar as a gift from my wife. I was so happy.
Following her pattern, I have five gifts for you in this letter. You can open them now, as I hope that through these gifts, you will be clear that the season is not about what we can do for Christ through our works, our prayers, or other things; Rather, it is about what Christ has done for us in His work on the cross that began in His first coming in humility as a baby in which will conclude in His second coming and glory that is His return.
In the meantime, we live between the two advents of Christ- His birth and His return.
Gift #1: A Hymn.
Oh, Holy Night was written in 1847 by Placide Clappeau, the mayor of Roquemaure, France, who was also a wine merchant. The command of Christ to love one another (John 13:34) is woven throughout the hymn.
The line that means the most to me is Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, And in His name, all oppression shall cease. Oppression is when people are treated and ruled in a cruel, ruthless, dehumanizing, and unfair way by others, which prevents them from true freedom. Oppression tries to steal the value and worth all people have been given by God. In Christ's name, that ends!
O Holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
'Til He appeared, and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn'
Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine
O night, O night divine
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name, all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
With all within let's praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord!
His name forever praise we
O night, O night divine
O night, O holy night
Gift #2: A book I think you might really enjoy reading or being read to you.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a favorite Christmas read. Here is a link to read a kid's version of the book for free! A Christmas Carol.
What I love about this story is it’s a picture of a man named Scrooge, who thinks his evil life is the way to live but finds out how wrong he is. He repents, and his life and other people's lives are changed for the good.
One of my favorite quotes from the book is Scrooge beginning to learn there is more to life than simply making money.
Business!’ cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. ‘Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!‘”
If you like, here is the full version of the book.
Gift #3: A poem
I wrote this poem for my best friend on their birthday. The title is When Hard Times Come. They had a tough year, and God was faithful, helping them through it all.
The numbers represent people. Three is our Lord Jesus Christ. One and Two are you and me.
“How do you do it,” said One to Two. “How do you do it when it’s only just you?”
“I don’t,” said Two, “it’s too much for me, so I keep asking for help from Three.”
“Two,” said Three, “belongs to me. I love and watch over so that Two thinks We.”
One was happy because One loved Three. One loved Two, and Two loved We.
Gift #4: A Short Video
This video was taken at Minnehaha Regional Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota, the day after my daughter’s wedding.
Nicole, Jared, his girlfriend, and I were taking a long walk when I saw this small stream. The running water reminds me of this verse.
Gift # 5: A thought
Christmas has a lot to do with waiting. We wait for Christmas Day to arrive. We wait for that day to open our gifts and wait for the gifts we give to others to be opened. We wait for family and friends to arrive, or they wait for us. This is right in line with the Christmas story.
There is one such person that you may or may not know who was waiting for the birth of Jesus.
His name was Simeon. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel. (Luke 2:25) He was waiting for the coming of the Messiah to comfort and relieve God's people from their burden of sin.
He sang this song when he took the newly-born Jesus in his arms. By tradition, what Simeon sang is often called the Nunc Dimittis, Latin for permission to depart.
Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people, Israel.
We are waiting too. The Apostle Paul writes we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, (Titus 2:13).
I hope you enjoy the gifts and they bring you some good while we wait together.
God bless you and with all my love in the Lord Jesus Christ.