Peace On Earth (Shepherd’s Echo)

[The Shepherd’s Echo is a reposting of a previously published TheShepherdsPen].

As the legend goes, during the winter of 1914 in the midst of World War 1, along the Western Front on a battlefield in Flanders (Ypres, Belgium), the war raged on from the depths of the wet, muddy, cold trenches that extended for miles.  The Germans were engaged in battle against the British and the French, when at some point during the evening hours of December 24th the shooting ceased. Germans began placing Christmas trees on the ground outside their trenches, illuminating them with candles. The wintery air was still. Gradually the words, “Stille nacht, heilige nacht” (Silent night, holy night) rose softly from the trenches floating across “No Man’s Land” to the ears of the “enemies” some 100 yards away. In turn, the British responded with “O Come all ye Faithful.” Continue reading “Peace On Earth (Shepherd’s Echo)”

Politically Correct (Shepherd’s Echo)

[The Shepherd’s Echo is a reposting of a previously published TheShepherdsPen].

Well, it’s that time of year again when we get caught up in the realm of political correctness.  In order for the general populace not to be offended, we need to use terms such as, “Turkey Day,” or “Harvest Dinner” instead of “Thanksgiving.” We must say, “Season Greetings,” or “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” We can say “Winter Break,” or “Spring Break,” but my goodness, we’re not allowed to say, “Christmas Break,” or “Easter Break.” Far be it to recognize a holiday honoring God the Creator of all. Incidentally, has anyone considered the fact that we are offending God by nudging Him out of the spotlight. Frankly, succumbing to this cultural tomfoolery is downright offensive. It is obvious that the culture wants to shove God aside because it is easier to assert that God does not exist if we don’t use words and phrases which point to Him. Continue reading “Politically Correct (Shepherd’s Echo)”

Best News Ever (Shepherd’s Echo)

[The Shepherd’s Echo is a reposting of a previously published TheShepherdsPen]

What is the best news you have ever received? Was it the fact that you got the job? Or what is a call from your realtor telling you the escrow closed? Was it him telling you that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with you? Or her communicating that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with you? Maybe it was when you found out you were pregnant, or when a doctor called to tell you that the surgery was a total success.

All of these are incredible pieces of news, but none of them even comes close to the great news that God had sent a Savior for our benefit. Luke 2: 10-11 says, “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’”  The pinnacle of all redemptive history is when God sent His Son into the world to save fallen man. It is what is called the Incarnation – when God took on flesh. That is good news. Continue reading “Best News Ever (Shepherd’s Echo)”

The Labor Ward (Shepherd’s Echo)

[The Shepherd’s Echo is a reposting of a previously published TheShepherdsPen]

The labor ward – where the working of birthing takes place, a mother-to-be strains in agony to foster new life. And we have all seen those depictions of a man in the waiting room, outside the labor ward at the hospital where a father waits “patiently” for the birth of his child. He paces the floor anxiously awaiting the arrival of the offspring whom he has had the honor to sire. Nine months he has wondered. Nine months he has prepared. Nine months the growing excitement and love has captured his heart…And now after nine months the moment of truth has arrived.  His contemplation is broken with a cry.

Rewind to a labor ward in the southern portion of Palestine, in a small stable of a small town called Bethlehem. This would be the most obscure labor ward of the first century, perhaps of all time. The on-looking paternal unit is not a mere man but the Creator of the universe.  The long-awaited-for-child is not just any child of the day, but the long-promised Christ-child sent to heal mankind from their sins. Yet, there are no paparazzi to cover the affair. No pomp and circumstance. There is not even a coffee machine in a nearby lounge. No sterile white linens or medical aid. Perhaps, the musty smell of manure and straw sate the air – the most humble of circumstances. Continue reading “The Labor Ward (Shepherd’s Echo)”

The Arrival (Shepherd’s Echo)

[The Shepherd’s Echo is a reposting of a previously published TheShepherdsPen]

Upon arrival to the airport, I was informed that I would be doing well if my flight were to leave on time. It seemed that everything was quite a stir around the airport as it was expected that the president of the United States would be arriving shortly. There were the warnings that flights would be pushed, that no landings would be allowed for a time, and therefore, connections would be missed.

Outside of our terminal was an army cargo plane which had ferried the presidential vehicles in from D.C. Security was increased. A Helicopter was hovering about. People were nervous about the thought of being stuck on planes, yet there was expectancy in the air as everyone anticipated the arrival of Air Force One and its occupant. Eventually, the motorcade (some 24 vehicles in all) whisked the president and his entourage to those awaiting his appearance at some distant location. Word had it that he was going to a university to participate in a graduation ceremony, presumably as an esteemed speaker with an important message to deliver. Continue reading “The Arrival (Shepherd’s Echo)”

Figgy Pudding and the World of Entitlements (Shepherd’s Echo)

[The Shepherd’s Echo is a reposting of a previously published TheShepherdsPen]

Ah, the Christmas season is upon us and we can anticipate the celebration the birth of Christ, often times with the benefit of those great, meaningful carols of old. O Come, Let us Adore Him. Silent night. The First Noel. And, of course, Away in a Manger. Songs of deep reflection and encouragement. It seems like we just can’t get enough of them. But then there are those “other” songs that cause us to wonder how they ever made it into the cache of celebratory carols. The one that really gets me is, We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

It is a popular secular sixteenth-century English Christmas carol whose origin lies in the tradition that the wealthy people of the community would generously provide Christmas treats to the carolers such as figgy pudding- a custard-like pudding containing figs that may be baked, steamed in the oven, boiled or fried.  Yum! Continue reading “Figgy Pudding and the World of Entitlements (Shepherd’s Echo)”

Peace On Earth

As the legend goes, during the winter of 1914 in the midst of World War 1, along the Western Front on a battlefield in Flanders (Ypres, Belgium), the war raged on from the depths of the wet, muddy, cold trenches that extended for miles.  The Germans were engaged in battle against the British and the French, when at some point during the evening hours of December 24th the shooting ceased. Germans began placing Christmas trees on the ground outside their trenches, illuminating them with candles. The wintery air was still. Gradually the words, “Stille nacht, heilige nacht” (Silent night, holy night) rose softly from the trenches floating across “No Man’s Land” to the ears of the “enemies” some 100 yards away. In turn, the British responded with “O Come all ye Faithful.” Continue reading “Peace On Earth”

Figgy Pudding and The World of Entitlements

Ah, the Christmas season is upon us and we can anticipate the celebration the birth of Christ, often times with the benefit of those great, meaningful carols of old. O Come, Let us Adore Him. Silent night. The First Noel. And, of course, Away in a Manger. Songs of deep reflection and encouragement. It seems like we just can’t get enough of them. But then there are those “other” songs that cause us to wonder how they ever made it into the cache of celebratory carols. The one that really gets me is, We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

It is a popular secular sixteenth-century English Christmas carol whose origin lies in the tradition that the wealthy people of the community would generously provide Christmas treats to the carolers such as figgy pudding- a custard-like pudding containing figs that may be baked, steamed in the oven, boiled or fried.  Yum! Continue reading “Figgy Pudding and The World of Entitlements”

Special Delivery!

Perhaps I am dating myself with this illustration, but when I was a kid there was a special truck that would come around on a regular basis; it was the Helms Bakery truck. It was a two-toned yellow truck that would move from street to street, sounding its distinctive whistle, offering the most special of fresh breads and treats. Their motto was, “Daily at your door.” Sometimes the products were still warm from the oven when they arrived. People would flag him down or chase him to adjacent streets for the opportunity to buy the loaves of bread that filled the shelves. I can still see operator pulling out the looooong wooden drawers that would house the goods: donuts, pastries, and cookies. Anticipation would heighten the senses as the drawer came out ever farther. Ahhh! The smell of fresh bread! Where was the treat I would savor today? Continue reading “Special Delivery!”

The Magnificat

One of the purest expressions of worship is the “psalm” of Mary found in Luke chapter 1:46-55. She has just heard the prophetic words of Elizabeth in the preceding verses and responds in overwhelming veneration. Note how she does this by affirming God’s character in the first couple of verses.

“My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bond-slave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.” Continue reading “The Magnificat”

Best News Ever

What is the best news you have ever received? Was it the fact that you got the job? Or what is a call from your realtor telling you the escrow closed? Was it him telling you that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with you? Or her communicating that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with you? Maybe it was when you found out you were pregnant, or when a doctor called to tell you that the surgery was a total success.

All of these are incredible pieces of news, but none of them even comes close to the great news that God had sent a Savior for our benefit. Luke 2: 10-11 “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’”  The pinnacle of all redemptive history is when God sent His Son into the world to save fallen man. It is what is called the Incarnation – when God took on flesh. That is good news. Continue reading “Best News Ever”

The Arrival

Upon arrival to the airport, I was informed that I would be doing well if my flight were to leave on time. It seemed that everything was quite a stir around the airport as it was expected that the president of the United States would be arriving shortly. There were the warnings that flights would be pushed, that no landings would be allowed for a time, and therefore, connections would be missed.

Outside of our terminal was an army cargo plane which had ferried the presidential vehicles in from D.C. Security was increased. A Helicopter was hovering about. People were nervous about the thought of being stuck on planes, yet there was expectancy in the air as everyone anticipated the arrival of Air Force One and its occupant. Eventually, the motorcade (some 24 vehicles in all) whisked the president and his entourage to those awaiting his appearance at some distant location. Word had it that he was going to a university to participate in a graduation ceremony, presumably as an esteemed speaker with an important message to deliver. Continue reading “The Arrival”

The Labor Ward

The labor ward – where the working of birthing takes place, a mother-to-be strains in agony to foster new life. And we have all seen those depictions of a man in the waiting room, outside the labor ward at the hospital where a father waits “patiently” for the birth of his child. He paces the floor anxiously awaiting the arrival of the offspring whom he has had the honor to sire. Nine months he has wondered. Nine months he has prepared. Nine months the growing excitement and love has captured his heart…And now after nine months the moment of truth has arrived.  His contemplation is broken with a cry.

Rewind to a labor ward in the southern portion of Palestine, in a small stable of a small town called Bethlehem. This would be the most obscure labor ward of the first century, perhaps of all time. The on-looking paternal unit is not a mere man but the Creator of the universe.  The long-awaited-for-child is not just any child of the day, but the long-promised Christ-child sent to heal mankind from their sins. Yet, there are no paparazzi to cover the affair. No pomp and circumstance. There is not even a coffee machine in a nearby lounge. No sterile white linens or medical aid. Perhaps, the musty smell of manure and straw sate the air – the most humble of circumstances. Continue reading “The Labor Ward”

Politically Correct

Well, it’s that time of year again when we get caught up in the realm of political correctness.  In order for the general populace not to be offended, we need to use terms such as, “Turkey Day,” or “Harvest Dinner” instead of “Thanksgiving.” We must say, “Season Greetings,” or “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” We can say “Winter Break,” or “Spring Break,” but my goodness, we’re not allowed to say, “Christmas Break,” or “Easter Break.” Far be it to recognize a holiday honoring God the Creator of all. Incidentally, has anyone considered the fact that we are offending God by nudging Him out of the spotlight. Frankly, succumbing to this cultural tomfoolery is downright offensive. It is obvious that the culture wants to shove God aside because it is easier to assert that God does not exist if we don’t use words and phrases which point to Him. Continue reading “Politically Correct”