A constant theme of the traditional Christmas Carols is the joyous news. How can men of good will be in a state of depression, when the news of “peace on earth and good will towards men” has been broadcast by angels?
Are not angels still “bending near the earth” to communicate with men on clear nights, when their thoughts are directed above instead of below? Our concentration should be on eternal matters, especially during this season of Advent.
The peace that the angels proclaimed does not mainly speak of a lack of strife between nations but it sings of an inner peace within the hearts and minds of the faithful. There is little that we as individuals can do to stop nations at war. But we do have the choice of striving to make peace with those within our family, social and business circles.
On a clear night as you lay your head in “solemn stillness,” remember that to hear the joyful song and to be jubilant we need to also be solemn, serious, and in earnest. In the midst of our joy over our salvation, the blessed will mourn over the lost state of a Christ rejecting world. But it will be a comforting joy, found on the hope of Christ’s second advent.
The joy of the Lord is not light or frivolous, but a state of mind of gladness and blessedness.
Hearken unto the voice of your conscience. Is there anyone against whom you have ill will? If so, the unforgiving spirit can rob you of your joy and peace.
Are you warring against the convicting power of the Holy Ghost? Surrender to him now! He is a “all gracious King.”
Finally, at Jesus second coming, he will bring peace between the nations and the “whole world will send back the song, which now the angles sing.”
Gladly, we do not have to wait until an obscure future date. Sing now! Get out your old hymnal and sing back, this glorious song of old. Sing it over and over until you are refreshed from your state of gloom.
Alas, I know of no new song that comes close to capturing the glory that is Christmas as “It Came Upon The Midnight Clear,” written 169 years ago.
In 1739, Charles Wesley published the hymn, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing!” One verse of the carol says, “Joyful all ye nations rise.” Nations rise and fall according to what they do with the gospel, which the angels heralded.
America joyfully rose out of the darkness of heathenism to become the mightiest nation ever, because of men, who first gave “glory unto the new born king,” instead of temporal kings.
Some call into question America’s Christian heritage, because they primarily associate our founders with political and secular fathers like Franklin, Washington and Jefferson, instead of men of great faith, like Methodist preacher, George Whitfield. He came to America from England in 1740 and preached up and down the colonies and became a leading light of the First Great Awakening.
Whitefield’s popular hymn book, A Collection of Hymns for Social Worship (1753), which went through dozens of editions, included, “Hark the Herald Angels sing. Whitfield and his travelling companions were known for singing on public roads as they journeyed from town to before the Revolution.
The father of American Methodism, Francis Asbury, was commissioned to America by John Wesley in 1771. After the Revolution, he became known as “the prophet of the long road.” On horseback he rode the circuit up and down the newly formed states with the Bible in one hand and the hymns of Charles Wesley on his tongue, including “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” He established Methodist churches, which were instrumental in making America great in the first place. Asbury was one of the leaders of the Second Great Awakening.
Other evangelical preachers, many of whom like Whitfield and Asbury preached outside, were instrumental in laying the Christian foundation of America. They are rarely given the credit they deserve as founding fathers. Certainly, they were not Deists. Whitfield and Asbury were two of the best-known men of their times. Whitfield reached celebrity status.
“Hark! The herald angels sing.” Hark means to listen carefully. It is a strong word that we rarely here anymore. Herald angels are messenger angels. Herald is another word, which has fallen out of popular usage with the demise of city newspapers. Today, the favorite media term is breaking news.
The publishing angels proclaimed the birth of the new born king, which is the most important event of history; it was an announcement of peace to a world in strife, a promise of tender mercies to minds tormented with guilt.
“God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” —2 Cor 5:19
With the herald angels, disciples of Christ are commanded to preach the message of reconciliation between God and sinners; whereby sinners are transformed into saints.
This hymn is more than a Christmas Carol; it is an Easter hymn; it heralds, “Christ has risen with healing in his wings!” When men make peace with God through repentance and faith in his death and resurrection, distressed minds become serene.
Few heard the multitude of the heavenly host singing that night, because few were carefully listening. Anxious souls, hearken to those that Herald the truth, then your mind will experience a tranquility, which no medication can provide.
“Join the triumph of the skies.” Hark and Sing your way to a perfect peace this Christmas season, mediate and pray over the words you are singing. Then tell the world, that “Christ is born in Bethlehem!” Hark, then herald the good news!
Before the faithful go into all the world to preach the gospel, we must first come to Bethlehem to adore or worship the Incarnate Christ, the Babe, born this happy morning.
Babies are weak and dependent creatures. Isn’t it astounding that our Savior is represented first as a child in a manger, born in obscurity? Lastly, we see him apparently in defeat, weakly hanging from a wooden cross on a mount for every eye to see.
God said to Paul in his suffering, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”–2 Cor 12:9.
The world wants power to escape weakness in ease and comfort, but the faithful are offered power to endure weakness in love and hope. Jesus ultimately triumph over suffering and death, when he rose from the dead on the third day.
For good mental health we cannot give into our fears and anxieties, or even necessarily count on God in this life-time to deliver us from terrible trials and distresses. The faithful should glory and be take pleasure in their infirmities, knowing God’s grace is sufficient to carry us through the difficulties and disappointments of life.
This Christmas morning join the choir of angles and the church triumphant in singing, “Glory to God, Glory in the highest.” Especially those that may be depressed, “sing in exaltation.”
Sing, sing, sing, until you have the victory!
Eusebius taught, “The Creator of all things has impressed a natural law upon the soul of every man, as an assistant and ally in his conduct, pointing out to him the right way by this law; but, by the free liberty with which he is endowed, making the choice of what is best worthy of praise and acceptance, because he has acted rightly, not by force, but from his own free-will, when he had it in his power to act otherwise, As, again, making him who chooses what is worst, deserving of blame and punishment, as having by his own motion neglected the natural law, and becoming the origin and fountain of wickedness, and misusing himself, not from any extraneous necessity, but from free will and judgment. The fault is in him who chooses, not in God. For God has not made nature or the substance of the soul bad; for he who is good can make nothing but what is good. Everything is good which is according to nature. Every rational soul has naturally a good free-will, formed for the choice of what is good. But when a man acts wrongly, nature is not to be blamed; for what is wrong, takes place not according to nature, but contrary to nature, it being the work of choice, and not of nature.”–The Christian Examiner, Volume One, published by James Miller, 1824 Edition, p. 66
Thus, Eusebius confirms that the doctrine of original sin, or an inherited sinful nature did not come into prominence until Augustine (354-440), who developed his doctrine in his controversy with Pelagius (360-418), who was defender of the historical, traditional, rational, intuitive, and scriptural view of free-will, which was the prevailing view of the church until Augustine.
With the Christmas Carols, we can sing our way out of depression. This Advent season don’t allow yourself to be overcome by depression and anxiety.
This hymn dates back to at least the 16th Century:
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay;
Remember Christ, our Saviour,
Was born on Christmas day,
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
comfort and joy,
According to Merriam Webster, “rest” used, as a verb means “to free from anxiety or disturbance.” The definition of “dismay” is “to cause to lose courage or resolution (as because of alarm or fear).”
Satan goal is to “to kill, and to steal and to destroy” by tormenting men with “mental disorders” even to the place where they lose the will to live. Christ came into the world that “we might have life and life more abundantly.”—John 10:10
The Incarnation of Christ bodes tidings of comfort and joy. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter in times of life’s struggles and challenges; he brings joy as opposed to sorrow.
Students scorn me for suggesting one can overcome “chemical imbalances” by singing.
Well, there is something else required; you must sing from your heart (will), not simply from you mind or emotions. Simply believe!
Resolve to have peace of mind!
In my unqualified support of President Trump many unbelievers and even many Christians have claimed I am hypocritical and inconsistent in holding him up as a brother in the Lord, while I daily condemn sin on campus. They just don’t see how Trump can possibly be regarded as a Christian.
I fear that if they were actually well read in evaluating David’s reign as King, they might well question whether David was a true believer. Most Christians are familiar with the Acts 13:22, where God says, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.”
However, God’s judgment of David’s character seems inconsistent at times. A less known evaluation of David says, “But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, You have shed blood abundantly, and have made great wars: you shall not build a house unto my name, because you have shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.”—1 Chronicles 22:8
God considered that David had unnecessarily resorted to war, death and destruction in upholding his Kingdom.
In Gary Greenberg’s book, “The Sins of King David,” the author claims, “David was a corrupt and ambitious mercenary who committed treason against Israel by working with its enemies to seize the throne from King Saul; an ambitious and ruthless politician who initiated, sanctioned, or condoned murder and assassination as a way to eliminate political rivals, royal or otherwise; a Philistine vassal who used an army of malcontents to terrorize and conquer the Kingdom of Judah while Saul was still on the throne; a usurper who went to war against Israel after Saul’s death and imposed himself as king over the nation of Israel by military force; a cruel and unjust tyrant who used foreign mercenaries to centralize power under his direct control and who oppressed the people of Israel with high taxes and forced labor; a military imperialist who waged wars of conquest against his neighbors and exposed the peaceful Israelites to military counter-attacks that left many dead, wounded, or widowed.”
David’s many enemies would have agreed with Greenberg. On the other hand, most serious Biblical students would not be as critical of David as Greenberg is. But for those who judge according to outward appearance and do not judge righteously (John 7:24) upon learning more of King David’s monarchy would likely think he is a candidate for Hell. Many contemporary Christians would not accept King David as a man having the Spirit of Christ, if they really knew all the facts. He did not seem to exercise the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount.
On several occasions David turned the other cheek towards Saul, but with other enemies he could be quite vindictive. His many imprecatory prayers in Psalms do not measure up in the judgment of many Christians to loving your enemies or the principles of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Of course, we all know of David’s adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband, Uriah, by sending him to the front lines of the battle to be killed.
Some may be familiar with David pride, which led him to do a census of Israel, which resulted in God bringing terrible judgments on the people of Israel. The Chronicler considers this sin to have been so bad that the devil himself was behind the census.
David was a weak father, who failed to discipline his children, which resulted in the rebellion of his son, Absalom. David had multiple wives, which resulted in much conflict within his family. Yet, even those who are aware of the faults and failures of David and his sins still regard him as a heroic example of the faith as does the N.T. Book of Hebrews.
What are we to make of the evaluation of 1 Kings 15:5? The scripture says, “David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.”
Notice there is no mention of David’s adultery nor of him numbering Israel. Could it be said that God had forgotten David’s failures and transgressions because of David’s deep repentance? However, his sin against Uriah was so grievous it was still on God’s mind.
After Jesus had forgiven the woman caught in adultery, he said to the Pharisees, “You judge after the flesh, I judge no man.”—John 8:15. There is too much pharisaical judgment against Trump. The pharisees judged by human standards, they did not look beneath the surface and learn to judge righteously.
David’s transgressions in his personal life, some of which carried over into his public life as is virtually inevitable with Christian rulers such as David and Constantine the Great, may not measure up to what men generally expect out of a Christian in our time, nor does President Trump’s life seem to be on the level of the Sermon on the Mount.
President Trump should be judged by a righteous judgment not by hypocrites with a self-righteous censorial spirit, whose overall lives often do not reach the standard by which they are judging others.
For you never Trumpers, can you name any Republican who would have made a better President that Donald J. Trump? Please explain why your candidate would have accomplished more.
What other Republican has the faith (guts), the stamina, the intelligence and unique experience of Trump to stand against the Washington establishment, the deep state, that is “the swamp”? Who else would or could have withstood the phony media and Hollywood? Who would have been better at interacting with international leaders?
Also, who would have made a better First Lady than Melania? What other woman has the quiet dignity and poise of Mrs. Trump? Do any of our American bred women carry themselves better?
Even most of the Trump defenders usually present the caveat that Trump isn’t perfect, that he has made his mistakes, etc., etc. I think he had done everything right since he announced his candidacy. He is the perfect man for the job. No one could have come close to excelling President and Mrs. Donald J. Trump.
The Soul Doctor’s prescription for depression:
During the Christmas season we are subjected ad nauseam to articles and stories about depression increasing during the holidays. We have to hear the usual calls to pray for those who are depressed, lonely and anxious.
Christmas is a festive season, not a time for sadness or melancholy. Get into the Christmas Spirit. What is the Christmas Spirit, but the Spirit of Christ?
Two millenniums ago God took upon human flesh (The Incarnation) to save us from our sins and give us a peace of mind which passes all understanding.
The church has given us wonderful hymns to help us get into the Christmas Spirit. Those of you, who are tempted with depression or the blues sing yourself into a state of joy and hope. What better place to start than the Isaac Watts hymn, “Joy to the World”?
Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare Him room
When you allow Jesus to take over the room of your heart there will be no place for downheartedness.
Gen 12: “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will MAKE OF THEE A GREAT NATION, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Like God’s obedient and faithful servant, Abraham, the father of our faith, President Trump is an unabashed nationalist. He said, “A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly, not caring about our country so much. And you know what? We can’t have that. You know, they have a word. It sort of became old-fashioned. It’s called a nationalist. And I say, really, we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, OK? I’m a nationalist.”
The Arbella was one of eleven ships carrying over a thousand Puritans to Massachusetts in 1630. It was the largest original venture ever attempted in the English New World. On ship John Winthrop, penned the Arbella Covenant, stating that our Puritan fathers were to be an example for the rest of the world in rightful living. He defined their purpose clearly: “We shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.”
The passengers were determined to be a beacon for the rest of Europe, “A Modell of Christian Charity,” in the words of the Governor Winthrop.
President Ronald Reagan in his January 11, 1989, farewell address to the nation affirmed the Arbella Covenant:
“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.”
President Trump’s determination to build that wall is in keeping with Winthrop’s and Reagan’s vision of city walls with gates allowing those with ambitions to contribute to the American experiment to enter the country and work to build a greater America.
God is clearly a nationalist, who made covenant with Abraham to MAKE A GREAT NATION. Our forefathers considered America to be the New Israel. Reagan endeavored to renew the covenant of our Puritan fathers. Trump is striving to defend the borders from the hordes from without and from within, who have a godless and contrary globalist vision.