A Christmas Card

I don’t usually post Christmas music videos before Christmas.  (Trying to keep Advent Advent.)  But this one is special.  And it’s for all of you who are having a hard time during this Advent season, finding it hard to be joyful like all of those around you.  This one’s for you (from Steven Curtis Chapman).

And here’s his story behind the song.

Now, go back and listen to the song again, written just for you.


The right kind of sympathy

Matthew 26.38 Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”

“Mary Mozley of Central Africa wrote in a letter: “Somebody suggested this thought to me, and it came home to me the other day in reading about Christ in Gethsemane–that the way to show true sympathy is not to pity, but to stand by and strengthen the sufferer to do God’s will.  And in Gethsemane, when Christ turned to the three for sympathy, it was with the words, ‘Watch with Me.’ ‘Stand by Me.’  He asked for no pity, but for the strengthening which might seem a feeble help, just that they might let their presence and prayer tell there for Him, to strengthen Him to do the will of God.”

“The Lord help each one of us to ‘stand by’ one another with just this kind of bracing sympathy.”

(Amy Carmichael)

“Happy? In this valley of tears?”



One of the speakers at a conference I recently attended was Sr. Regina Marie Gorman, the current chair of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious in the United States.  She is a delightful and inspiring speaker, and I thought I would treat you to a sampling of her ability to inspire and encourage.  Go here for a ten minute clip of a talk she gave a couple of years ago: “Happy?  In This Valley of Tears?”

Make Christ your hero

A beautiful and encouraging piece from Gerard Manley Hopkins:

[Christ] is the true-love and the bridegroom of men’s souls: the virgins follow him whithersoever he goes, the martyrs follow him through a sea of blood, through great tribulation; all his servants take up their cross and follow him.  And those even that do not follow him, yet they look wistfully after him, own him a hero, and wish they dared answer to his call.  Children as soon as they can understand ought to be told about him, that they may make him the hero of their young hearts . . .

From all that might be said of Christ’s character I single out one point and beg you to notice that.  He loved to praise, he loved to reward.  He knew what was in man, he best knew men’s faults and yet he was the warmest in their praise.  When he worked a miracle he would grace it with “Thy faith hath saved thee,” that it might almost seem the receiver’s work, not his.  He said of Nathaniel that he was an Israelite without guile; he that searches hearts said this, and yet what praise that was to give!  He called the two sons of Zebedee Sons of Thunder, kind and stately and honorable name!  We read of nothing thunderlike that they did except, what was sinful, to wish fire down from heaven on some sinners but they deserved the name or he would not have given it, and he has given it them for all time.  Of John the Baptist he said that his greater was not born of women.  He said to Peter, “Thou art Rock,” and rewarded a moment’s acknowledgement of him with the lasting headship of his Church.  He defended Magdalen and took means that the story of her generosity should be told for ever.  And though he bids us say we are unprofitable servants, yet he himself will say to each of us “Good and faithful servant, well done.”

And this man whose picture I have tried to draw for you, brethren, is your God.  He was your maker in time past; hereafter he will be your judge.  Make him your hero now.