Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Hymn: The Debut

This Christmas hymn is sung to the well-known tune Jingle Bells. I wrote it a few years ago, and it was featured on the favorite Moravian Church publication known as "the bulletin back." I am often requested to share the words with others, so here they are. Celebrate!


In this crowd sing out loud: Glory to the One!
God has made things personal by sending us the Son.
In this crowd sing out loud: Glory! Allelu!
Celebrate the birth of Christ --the day of his debut.

The faithful waited long for God to intervene--
To rule with power and might, to give them what they dreamed.
What a big surprise! The Savior was a child!
The Christmas story goes to show God’s plans are really wild!


God’s love is for all, there can be no doubt.
The poor, the weak, the small--no one is left out!
The reason Jesus came: God wanted to be near;
God wanted to draw close to us, and that is why we cheer!


Monday, December 22, 2008

Lively Christmas Song: Rockin' Around the Manger Scene

The lyrics to this fun and spirited Christmas song were written by the 4th/5th Sunday School class and their teacher, Laura Kemmerer, at East Hills Moravian Church. Written to the tune Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, the congregation joined in easily and heartily when we sang it yesterday during the annual Sunday School Christmas Worship Celebration.

The 4th and 5th graders are glad to share their creativity with the world. If you make use of this song, though, please let me know so that I can tell the kids.

Rockin' around the manger scene
Where Jesus Christ was born
Everyone's gathering here to praise
On this joyful Christmas morn

Rockin' around the manger scene
With the donkeys, cows and sheep
Jesus Christ our Savior there in
His mother's arms asleep.

Shepherds come to see the little
Baby when they hear
Angels singing, "Glory! Glory!"
"Tell the world our Lord's new story!"

Rockin' around the manger scene
Where everyone will sing:
"Follow the star to Bethlehem
To praise our newborn King!"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Advent 4 Wreath Lighting: Rejoice

An audible gasp. The tingle of every nerve and the sudden rise of goose bumps. A noticeable blood pressure spike. Wouldn’t these be part of Mary’s experience in learning that she was to be the God-bearer—the one to deliver and nurture the Christ?

A swoon? A faint? Who would blame her if she passed out cold?

What thoughts must have rushed through her mind? Pregnant? Me? Now? How?

Improbable! Impossible! Ridiculous!

And yet the honor of being chosen--the honor of being handpicked by God to fulfill a most brilliant plan—caused Mary to blurt out a surprising response.

I am blessed! I am privileged! I will celebrate!

We pray:

We light a candle reminding ourselves that there is always a reason to rejoice because You are always good! Give us hearts as pliable as Mary’s to find the blessings in every circumstance. Amen.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Advent 3 Wreath Lighting: Point

Having known Jesus forever—since the time their pregnant mothers had bumped bellies together and the yet-born babies had danced—John resonated with the hope and promise made tangible in his cousin, the people’s Messiah.

He couldn’t help himself, that peculiar fellow.

As attention-grabbing as a flashing orange arrow placed to warn highway drivers of an upcoming lane shift,

John the Baptist was compelled to aim people in the direction of Jesus.

Those of us who have followed the detour and have discovered the saving goodness of the Lord of Love,

Wouldn’t we want to wave our arms and whistle and point so that others might have their attention grabbed and directed toward Jesus as well?

We pray:

We light a candle to be a bold, luminous road sign marking the journey for ourselves and others. Illuminate our route to Christmas. Amen.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Advent 2 Wreath Lighting: Expect

The porch light left on.
A welcoming fire blazing in the hearth.
Tall tapers set on the dining room table.
Someone is expected. . . . someone whose presence changes everything.

As if the Christ were on his way to my home and yours, we prepare.

Let us bulldoze the barriers that would prevent him from getting inside.

Let us sweep and salt the walk, and then hold open the door.

We pray:

We light a candle reminding ourselves to expect anything and everything from You. Give us the pins-and-needles sensation as we practice Advent. Amen.