Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve Devotional "Awake ! my heart, and lift thine eyes!"

“…for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
                         Luke 2:10-12

     From heaven high I wing my flight.
To bring new tidings of glad delight ;
Or tidings good so much I bring,
Thereof I'll speak, and thereof I'll sing.

For unto you a Child, this morn,
Is of a chosen virgin born;
A Child so blest, and fair to see,
He shall your joy and your comfort be.

Salvation 'mong you will He share,
Which God the Father did prepare,
That in the heavenly kingdom ye
Might dwell both now and eternally.

Then mark ye well the sign He chose,
The crib and lowly swaddling clothes;
There shall ye find the Infant lain
That earth and all things doth sustain.

Let us rejoice, then, every one,
And with the shepherds wander on,
To see what gift the God of heaven
To us, e'en His dear Son, hath given.

Awake ! my heart, and lift thine eyes!
Behold what in yon manger lies!
What is this beauteous Babe so mild?
It is the lovely Jesus child.

      O Jesus, whom my heart holds dear,
Make thee a warm soft cradle here;
Within my breast a dweller be,
That I may ever remember Thee.

        Glory to God on highest throne,
Who sent to us His only Son ;
Therefore rejoice, ye angel throng,
Of this new year to sing the song.

Tr: Henry William Dulcken

        The sun sets on the twenty-fourth of December on the low roofs of Bethlehem, and the gleams with wan gold on the steep of its stony ridge.  The stars come out one by one.  Time itself, as if sentient, seems to get eager, as though the hand of its angel shook as it draws on towards midnight.  Bethlehem is at that moment the veritable centre of God's creation.  How silently the stars drift down the steep of the midnight sky!  Yet a few moments, and the Eternal Word will come.
        He, that, as Job saith, taketh the vast body of the sea, turns it to and fro as a little child, and rolls it about with the swaddling-bands of darkness; He to lie there, the Lord of glory, without all glory!  Instead of a palace, a poor stable; of a cradle of state, a beast's cratch; no pillow but a lock of hay; no hangings but dust and cobweb!  Christ, though as yet He cannot speak, yet out of His crib, as a pulpit, this day preaches to us, and His theme is, "Learn of Me, for I am humble."  This is the praecepe of praesepe, as I may call it, the lesson of Christ's manger.
        When therefore the first spark of a desire after God arises in thy soul, cherish it with all thy care, give all thy heart into it; it is nothing less than a touch of the divine loadstone, that is to draw thee out of the vanity of time, into the riches of eternity.  Get up therefore, and follow it as gladly as the wise men of the east followed the star from heaven that appeared to them.  It will do for thee as the star did for them, it will lead thee to the birth of Jesus, not in a stable at Bethlehem in Judea, but to the birth of Jesus in the dark centre of thine own soul.


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