Christmas

Christmas Program, next Sunday December 18 11:15 AM

On December 18, next Sunday, is our Christmas Program! It will be during our Worship service at 11:15 AM. There will be Bible readings and Music by “The Believers”. There is also Coffee and snacks starting at 10:55 AM.

Get directions HERE

You can watch our Christmas program from last year HERE

Christmas

Christmas Apologetics Resources Online

Here are some online Christmas apologetics resources (Apologetics is reasons to believe/evidences for Christianity) that are free and online.

Here’s an interesting article by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati a Jewish believer in Jesus from Creation Ministries International Christmas and Genesis

Here’s one by cold Case detectives J. Warner Wallace Five Reasons You Can Trust The Story Of Christmas Is True

Here are a number of articles at Frank Turek’s Cross Examined

Here’s a link to a previous post about Tom Cantor’s common sense or parabolic apologetic approach How a Jew Learned the True Meaning of Christmas

Christmas Carols – “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”

“Hark The Herald Angels Sing” is a great Christmas hymn that we sang last Sunday, with some notes about it following it.

“Hark the Herald Angels sing”
Words by Charles Wesley & music by Felix Mendelssohn

Hark the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King:
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

First, “hark” is an old word meaning “hear”.

Authors

Charles Wesley, who lived in the 1700s, wrote the lyrics was brother to John Wesley. They were founders of the Methodists which had a big influence in spreading Christianity including in the United Kingdom and the United States. They were a big part in spreading a revival in England during their lives.

Felix Mendelssohn, who lived in the early 1800s, wrote the music that was used for this piece. He was a classical composer and a Jewish believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is best known for the song that is commonly called “The Wedding March;” this was music he wrote to go to Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

I like the picture here that we see two believers, Jew and Gentile, whose works are used to praise the birth of the Messiah. This fits with the biblical accounts in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke in which Jews and Gentiles did this originally.

Analysis

“Hark The Herald Angels Sing”  in the hymnal has a pattern of 77. 77. 77. 77. w/refrain. This means that it has four verses with two couplets of seven syllables each and a refrain. It is useful in seeing what other music might be used with it. This is why hymns can be song to different tunes. Of course, I can’t imagine singing this song to any other tune!

We can analyze the structure further by saying there are three verses; each verse is made up of four rhyming trochaic tetrameter couplets that end on a male stress. This is just a poetic way of saying that there are eight lines that are rhymed in groups of two. These lines each have four stressed-unstressed feet (dum-de) with the last one ending on a stress.

Something neat about the course or refrain is note all the long vowels in it. For example, see how long you can say “Hark” versus “Christ“ (first word of verse two). These allow for the words to be sustained which has a strong effect for the course. Of course, they’re not as long as the ones in the course of another Christmas song we sang last Sunday “Angels We Have Heard on High” – “Gloria In Excelsis Deo,Gloria In Excelsis Deo.” But it’s hard to beat Latin for long vowels!

The content of this song is really good, too, and that’s a key that makes it a good song. The first verse calls all to proclaim the birth of Christ; the second tells of his incarnation and birth; and the third of his glorious work. There is significant biblical language and theology in this. For example, note verse three-

“Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!”

Prince of Peace is one of the titles of Messiah given in Isaiah 9:6

“Hail the Sun of Righteousness!”

Sun of Righteousness is another title for the Messiah at his glorious second coming giving in Malachi 4:2

“Light and life to all He brings,”

This is a reference to the Gospel of John (1:4, 9) where the Lord Jesus is said to be the light gives life to all.

“Ris’n with healing in His wings.”
This is another reference to the Prophet Malachi 4:2 speaking of the work of Messiah at his return.

“Mild He lays His glory by,”

This seems to be a reference to the Apostle Paul‘s Epistle to the Philippians (2:6-8). This passage (2:6-11) may actually be an early hymn of the church.

“Born that man no more may die,”

This seems to be another reference to the Gospel of John, the account of the raising of Lazarus (John 11:26).

“Born to raise the sons of earth,”

This looks like a reference to a dialogue of the Lord Jesus Christ recorded in the Gospel of John (6:40).

“Born to give them second birth.”

This refers to the Lord Jesus’ dialogue with Nicodemus in the Gospel of John chapter 3.

There are a number of ways to sing and enjoy songs like this. One way is to sing it as if you’re singing it for the first time and you’ve never heard of any of it before. Another way is to sing it with the knowledge of all the references and all that is stated and implied in each reference forming a sort of spiritual counterpoint to the experience.

Hymns and Songs

Listen to “John the Baptist” by “Grandma” Joelee

Here is another Children’s Bible Audio by “Grandma” Joelee for the Christmas season
“John the Baptist.”

We are linking to different audio’s that are connected to this time.

This one is a fill an audio that gives the story of a person in the Bible. It’s made for children about from 4 to 10 (though sometimes in adults enjoyed listening to them) and of course is connected to the gospel.

Other Children’s Bible Audios-Stories for Kids for this Season
Listen to “The Real Christmas Story for Children” by “Grandma Joelee”

Balboa Park Christmas Outreach – David Edwin Hall

Here is a link to David Hall‘s Facebook page where he gives an update on his evangelistic outreach in Balboa Park, has some pictures, and two videos of Christmas carols. One of the Christmas carols is “Silent Night“ and the other is a Ukrainian Christmas Carol. Read about his witnessing and using apologetics to spread the Gospel HERE on Facebook.
You do not need to sign into Facebook to watch this. You can go to Balboa Park on Saturdays to check out this great local ministry. His outreach is set up by the fountain.

Also, David has an updated version of his website. Check it out here for a lot of great apologetic and evangelistic resources
Science Scripture Salvation Outreach

And here he has a website with Christian poetry
Quiet Time Poems

Personally, I think these offer a good balance of “Christianity for the tough minded“ and “Christianity for the tender hearted.“ But after all, God loves everyone, Christ died and rose from the dead for everyone, and the Holy Spirit calls everyone to salvation, so it makes sense that Christianity was made for everyone. The Lord Jesus Christ is returning, and today is the day of salvation – trust in Him today and be saved!

“La Verdadera Historia de la Navidad Para Niños” por Abuela Joelee

“La Verdadera Historia de la Navidad Para Niños“ por Abuela Joelee

Esta es la verdadera historia de la Navidad contada para niños y viene de Lucas y Mateo. Incluye algunas profecías del Antiguo Testamento y termina con una presentación conectada del Evangelio. Es estrictamente la historia de la Biblia; nada empalagoso. Para las edades 4-10, aunque los adultos también han aprendido y disfrutado de mis otros audios. Traducido y grabado en español por Ellen Maley.

This is the Spanish version of The Real Christmas Story for Children by “Grandma” Joelee
We posted it previously HERE on our Blog.

Christmas carols – “ O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and Ceil Rosen

“Oh, Come, Oh, Come, Emmanuel” (or “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”) is the first Christmas song we sang at the Chapel this Christmas season.

“Oh, Come, Oh, Come, Emmanuel”
Text: Latin him from the 1300s; tr. John Mason Neale

1. Oh, come, Oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Refrain: Rejoice! rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

2. Oh, come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them vict’ry o’er the grave.

Refrain: Rejoice! rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

3. Oh, come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
And drive away the shades of night,
And pierce the clouds and bring us light!

Refrain: Rejoice! rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

4. Oh, come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heav’nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high
And close the path to misery

Refrain: Rejoice! rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

This version has four stanzas each followed by a refrain. There are 4 feet per line and feet are iambic (de-dum, de-dum). The first two lines of each stanza rhyme with each other, and the last two lines of each stanza rhyme with each other, too. Also, the two line of the refrain rhyme with each other.

There is so much biblical imagery in this poem. For example, Emmanuel is from the prophet Isaiah and the Gospel of Matthew meaning “God with us.” “Rod of Jesse” is another messianic title (Isaiah 11:1-2). “Key of David“ is also from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 22:22).

Ceil Rosen, the wife of Moshe Rosen (The founder of Jews for Jesus) has a connection with this song, too – “The winter I was sixteen, my high school chorus had a major role in our school’s Christmas program…Dressed in long skirts and head scarves to approximate biblical garb, we moved across the stage in a kind of slow dance, singing, ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.’ Though we had rehearsed those words many times, I suddenly found myself pondering their meaning. Was there something true about Jesus being for us Jews?”

You can read the rest of her testimony and how she helped lead her husband to Jesus the Messiah at Jews For Jesus

Music and singing is not only very enjoyable but a powerful influence, too.

Free Christmas Evangelistic Outreach Resources

We have free evangelism resources for this Christmas at the Chapel.

These include Christmas bracelets that say “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”

Also, two Christmas buttons with “Jesus, our Living Hope – Merry Christmas” or “Jesus, He came for you – Merry Christmas.” Pick the one you like, they both have a good message. Jesus did come for all of us, and He is our living hope, for He rose from the dead.

We also have two gospel tracts you can give out during the Christmas season. One is a general Christmas gospel tract, “Jesus – The Real Meaning of Christmas.” This one presents the gospel in a Christmas context with a number of Bible verses from the Old and New Testament.
The other is “How to Recognize the Messiah.“ This one would be good for anyone but is particularly for Jewish people. It presents the gospel with a number of fulfilled messianic prophecies particularly about the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Help the Homeless this Christmas – San Diego Rescue Mission

You can help the homeless this Christmas by giving to the San Diego Rescue Mission. They give the immediate help of warm clothing and a place for women and children to stay overnight. They also have a year-long program with job training and personal support. They also give the Gospel.

They are also giving a Christmas meal.

You can donate to them right now at the San Diego Rescue Mission’s website

Mission Valley Community Chapel also gives to them, so if you go to the Chapel, you can also designate giving for them and put it in the offering box in the back.

Christmas Special Music – “Carol of the Bells (Pentatonix Version)” by the de la Motte Springs

More Christmas music! Listen to another special music by the de la Motte Strings “Carol of the Bells (Pentatonix Version).” The number of musicians they have playing varies; this time they are a string quartet!

The de la Motte’s have moved to further their musical education. We miss them and their music. You can find more of their music on YouTube at de la Motte Strings. And occasionally on Saturdays when they’re visiting you can catch them playing in Balboa Park.