Odds & Ends: December 2017
Thoughts on true humility
“The Eternal Being, who knows everything and who created the whole universe, became not only a man but (before that) a baby, and before that a fetus inside a woman’s body. If you want to get the hang of it, think how you would like to become a slug or a crab.”
—C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
“For each of us the time is surely coming when we shall have nothing but God. Health and wealth and friends and hiding places will all be swept away… To the man of pseudo faith that is a terrifying thought, but to real faith it is one of the most comforting thoughts the heart can entertain.”
Christmas can be a difficult time for people who are hurting or grieving. In the 1860s, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had reason to despair: America was at war with itself, his son was severely wounded in battle and his wife died in a fire. The first Christmas after his wife’s death, Longfellow wrote, “How inexpressibly sad are all holidays.”
Three years later, on Christmas Day 1864, Longfellow penned a poem that later became the song “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” The lyrics move from despair to hope — and, thanks to Jesus, so can we.
And in despair I bowed my head.
There is no peace on earth, I said!
For hate is strong, and mocks the song
of peace on earth, good will to men!
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
God is not dead, nor doth he sleep!
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
with peace on earth, good will to men!
Angels among us
“When God wants to speak and deal with us,” said Martin Luther, “he does not avail himself of an angel but of parents, or the pastor, or of our neighbor.” Never underestimate how powerfully God can use you in the life of a child, a church member, a friend or a stranger.
The Hebrew word for angel also means “messenger.” You may be specially chosen to deliver to someone the message of God’s love or guidance. Listen intently for what God would have you share with others, then do so faithfully and caringly.
The life of true holiness is rooted in the soil of awed adoration. It does not grow elsewhere…. No blend of zeal, passion, self-denial, discipline, orthodoxy and effort adds up to holiness where praise is lacking.
—J.I. Packer, Rediscovering Holiness