Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. We are so close to Christmas and it is exciting. One of the things I love most are the immense changes in all that we see and hear. It means something’s different. I love the Christmas carols. We are taken back in time to hear the story of Jesus’ birth and all the hope and love it promised. The words are timeless, however, because the hope and promise are still so important today.
One song, “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and the story about its origin really speaks to me. Phillips Brooks, a young preacher and staunch abolitionist, found himself exhausted from years of the Civil War and longed for rest, so he went to the Holy Land, hoping to find peace.
There, he visited the small town of Bethlehem. He found a silent spot and looked over the land, bathed in the darkness of night, and the lines jumped to his mind: “O Little Town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie. Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, a silent star goes by.”
There is so much to experience as we read through the verses. The first two lines of the third verse is not well known but comes with a special message that Jesus, God’s amazing gift to us, entered the world with no pomp and circumstance, but in the quiet stealth of night.
How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven.
Someone recently suggested I go to the last verse of the carols, because there we often find a profound message so needed by today’s world. The fourth and final verse reads:
O Holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us; abide in us, Our Lord, Immanuel.
What better words are there for us to pray?
O come to us; abide in us, Our Lord Immanuel.
Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.