Christmas greetings, 2017

Christmas greetings, 2017
Candlelight Christmas service, First Presbyterian Church of New Brighton, PA. (Image: Screen grab, YouTube video, Rich Evans)

The world lies in solemn stillness, if we listen to our hearts and not the noise around us. We are coming to the end of a remarkable year.  The sun is at its lowest ebb, for those of us in the Northern hemisphere.  Storm clouds come, but starlight too.  The music of the past is never far away.

Somehow we know that we are leaving a past behind us that we will not live in again. There are many good memories to cherish from it.  They will all be redeemed, I am confident of that.  But it’s the future we face now: a future of some uncertainty, to be sure, but of great hope.

In the last couple of years, we’ve gone over and over the political amazement of our time.  For Christians, Christmas is a time to reconnect with the eternal: to stand in our spirits on the highest mountain of eternity and survey in wonder a spreading light.

I think, with many, that what we are seeing in the world of our time is a profound shift that only God Himself can schedule.  We haven’t seen its like for perhaps 2,000 years.  Perhaps it’s even more.

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And yet from that mountaintop of eternity, how small it must seem.  Eternity is a daunting thing.  With what gratitude we must come to Christmas, to know that our names are written in it, even before we can fully understand it.

For now, there is plenty to preoccupy us.  Christmas is also, as it should be, a day to be earthbound, busy, thankful, sociable. May each of us be surrounded by dear faces, and connected with beloved voices.

Our hearts are with those who can’t be home at Christmas.

Top left: USS Theodore Roosevelt on patrol, Dec 2017 (US Navy). Top right: US Marines of 26 MEU fire a howitzer at ISIS, Fire Base Bell, Iraq (USMC). Bottom left: US Army soldiers (2Bn, 7th Inf Reg, 1st Armored BCT, 3ID) in Norway (USA). Bottom right: B-2 Spirit bombers at Andersen AFB, Guam (USAF). Center: Coast Guard icebreaker USCGC Polar Star patrols Antarctica (USCG).

They’re with those who watch over us at home.

Top center: California firefighters, Dec 2017 (CBS, YouTube). Top right: Erie County Sheriff deputies (NY). (ECSD, Facebook). Bottom right: Emergency rescue workers, Houston 2017. (ABC/KTRK, YouTube). Bottom center: Lifeflight helicopter, Hwy 49, Mississippi (YouTube video). Bottom left: NYPD keeps watch at Christmas. (NYPD, Facebook)

They’re with the ones we love.

One of my favorite Christmas hymns says it all (video below).

Of the Father’s Love Begotten

1 Of the Father’s love begotten
ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega;
He the source, the ending He,
of the things that are, that have been,
and that future years shall see
evermore and evermore!

2 O that birth forever blessed,
when a virgin, full of grace,
by the Holy Ghost conceiving,
bore the Savior of our race;
and the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
first revealed his sacred face,
evermore and evermore!

3 O ye heights of heaven adore Him,
angel hosts, His praises sing,
pow’rs, dominions, bow before Him,
and extol our God and King;
let no tongue on earth be silent,
ev’ry voice in concert ring
evermore and evermore!

4 Christ, to Thee with God the Father
and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
and unwearied praises be:
honor, glory, and dominion,
and eternal victory
evermore and evermore!

Courtesy   Written by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius

Trans. H.W. Baker, J.M. Neale

(Tune: Divinum Mysterium)

(With apologies: this video doesn’t capture the whole hymn, but cuts in in the middle. It is beautifully done, however, and one of the best renditions I can find on YouTube.)

And something to be still by.

May God richly bless you and yours in this Christmas season.  Merry Christmas from Liberty Unyielding.

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J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.

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