Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Of the Father’s love begotten...

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!

O that birth forever blessèd, when the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving,
And unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory, evermore and evermore!
...Au­rel­i­us Pru­den­ti­us image

Once in Royal David's City


King’s College Choir

Albert Mohler: “And Them That Mourn-Celebrating Christmas in the Face of Grief and Death”

Flight to Egypt 19
Families across the Christian world are gathering for Christmas even now, with caravans of cars and planeloads of passengers headed to hearth and home. Christmas comes once again, filled with the joy, expectation, and sentiment of the season. It is a time for children, who fill homes with energy, excitement, and sheer joy. And it is a time for the aged, who cherish Christmas memories drawn from decades of Christmas celebrations. Even in an age of mobility, families do their best to gather as extended clans, drawn by the call of Christmas.

And yet, the sentiment and joy of the season is often accompanied by very different emotions and memories. At some point, every Christian home is invaded by the pressing memory of loved ones who can no longer gather — of empty chairs and empty arms, and aching hearts. For some, the grief is fresh, suffering the death of one who was so very present at the Christmas gathering last year, but is now among the saints resting in Christ. For others, it is the grief of a loss suffered long ago. We grieve the absence of parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and siblings. Some, with a grief almost too great to bear, suffer the heartbreak that comes with the death of a child.

For all of us, the knowledge of recent events of unspeakable horror and the murder of young children make us think of so many homes with such overwhelming grief.

Is Christmas also for those who grieve? Such a question would perplex those who experienced the events that night in humble Bethlehem and those who followed Christ throughout his earthly ministry. Christmas is especially for those who grieve... the rest 
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...for the message of Christmas is nothing less than the death of death in the death and resurrection of Christ.

To watch for Christ...

looking out glow windows
Do you know the feeling, in matters of this life, of expecting a friend, expecting him to come, and he delays?... Do you know what it is to be in anxiety lest something should happen which may happen or may not, or to be in suspense about some important event, which makes your heart beat when you are reminded of it, and of which you think the first thing in the morning. Do you know what it is to have a friend in a distant country, to expect news of him, and to wonder from day to day what he is now doing, and whether he is well? Do you know what it is so to live upon a person who is present to you, that your eyes follow his, that you read his soul, that you see all its changes in his countenance, that you anticipate his wishes, that you smile in his smile, and are sad in his sadness, and are downcast when he is vexed, and rejoice in his successes? To watch for Christ is a feeling such as all these; as far as feelings of this world are fit to shadow out those of another. ...John Henry Newman image

Monday, December 22, 2014

Vicar of Baghdad: Jesus is All That Remains for Christians in Iraq

Russ Jones
Friday, December 19, 2014

The Vicar of Baghdad maintains, Jesus, “the refugee child,” is all that remains for Christians in Iraq.

Forced to leave Baghdad for fear of terrorist activity, Canon Andrew White delivered his annual Christmas message from Bethlehem this year, according to Christian Today.

“This Christmas as we celebrate what we have, let us not forget that we too are celebrating the birth of a refugee who had nothing but gives us everything,” White wrote on his Facebook page. “As we delight in what we can give to people this Christmas let us not forget what this Christmas is really all about the time when this refugee child comes to all of us as the one who leads us to God and offers us the most wonderful gift possible this Christmas.”

White explains that a "refugee tent for Jesus" has been placed in a refugee camp in the northern region of Baghdad where members of his staff clothe and feed those suffering at the hand of ISIS.

“All you have got left is the love of that refugee child. That to us in the Middle East is all that matters this Christmas. He is still everything to our Christians in Iraq and he can still be everything to us.” Here

Reading in the age of Amazon-what's next; 'Jihadi Brides'; Episcopal Church Baptisms Dry Up...more

North Korean Internet Goes Dark in Wake of Sony Hack   North Korea’s limited access to the Internet has been cut off, according to a network-monitoring company, days after the U.S. government accused the country of hacking into Sony Corp...files.

North Korea, which has four official networks connecting the country to the Internet -- all of which route through China -- began experiencing intermittent problems yesterday and today went completely dark, according to Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research in Hanover, New Hampshire...

The Everything Book: reading in the age of Amazon
...As Amazon popularized ebooks over the last decade, it catalyzed a necessary change in our reading habits. By 2007, when the first Kindle emerged, the publishing world had to compete with Facebook, mobile games, and a hundred other distractions; to retain their vitality, books needed to adapt. Over the years, Amazon has stuffed its e-readers with features making them easier to read, like embedded dictionaries and translators; it’s added a social network; it’s even introduced a feature that seamlessly turns text into audio and back at our convenience. Books are vessels for transmitting ideas, and today the vessels have ideas of their own own: about what we should read, and how we should read it.

Hundreds of millions of tablets and e-readers have been sold, but today we're still inclined to think of a book as words on a page. Amazon's success with Kindle has hinged on recognizing how much more they can be. So where does the company go from here? In a series of rare, on-the-record interviews for Kindle’s 7th anniversary, Amazon executives sketched out their evolving vision for the future of reading. It's wild — and it's coming into focus faster than you might have guessed...

New Archaeological Finds Shed Light On Old Testament Life ...These finds shed light on life in the Old Testament era. One of the finds, a series of clay seals called bullae, lends credence to the Biblical accounts of the reigns of Kings David and Solomon...

Young British Women Being Groomed as 'Jihadi Brides' ...British young women are reportedly being groomed by terrorists to become “jihadi brides.” Terrorists are reaching out to teen girls through social media; the girls are offered free travel to the middle east if they agree to marry ISIS members....

Episcopal Church Baptisms Dry Up
...The report reveals that in U.S. dioceses, baptisms are down five percent from 27,140 in 2012 to 25,822 in 2013. Similarly, marriages are down four percent from 10,366 to 9,933 (the denomination has seen a 40 percent decline in children baptized since 2003 and a 46 percent decline in marriages over the same period). The losses are not evenly distributed, with some dioceses performing worse than others: in the Diocese of Northern Michigan, where an ordained Buddhist was elected (and later failed to gain consent from other dioceses) to be bishop in 2009, zero children were confirmed in 2013.

McVitie’s Victoria Christmas Choir TV Ad