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Prayer for Being Filled With Christ’s Light
Lord, help me follow Your Light today,
Let Your Light be in all I say,
Let Your Light be in all I do,
Lord, let my heart reflect from You,
Your holy love, Your peace, and joy,
Let my life shine for You, Lord!
Oh Jesus, Light of the world, my Friend,
Fill me with Thy Light and send
My heart, my mind, and all my being
Into the world Your light to bring,
Your Truth in all You do through me
From now until eternity.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
-by Suzanne Davis Harden
A Christmas carol (also called a noël) is a carol (song or hymn) whose lyrics reflect the theme of Christmas or the winter season in general. Carol singing is a tradition celebrated worldwide, particularly in the period immediately surrounding the December holidays.
The first specifically Christmas hymns for Christians that we know of appear in fourth century Rome. About 500 early carols, which included wassailing songs, songs in English and Latin and some “macaronic” (mixture of Latin and English) carols were found in museums in the 19th century. Singing carols in church was instituted on Christmas Eve 1880 in Truro Cathedral, Cornwall. At that time the words “hymn” and “carol’ began being used almost interchangeably.
Carols are a vocal “Light” of the holiday season, with many celebrating the light of angels. Among the favorites:
A song celebrating the sounds and songs of angels is Angels We Have Heard on High,” a Christmas carol in the public domain. The song commemorates the story of the birth of Jesus Christ found in the Gospel of Luke, in which shepherds outside Bethlehem encounter a multitude of angels singing and praising the newborn child. The words of the song are based on a traditional French carol known as Les Anges dans nos campagnes (literally, “Angels in our countryside”) composed by an unknown author in Languedoc, France. Its most common English version was translated in 1862 by James Chadwick, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, northeast England.
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains
Gloria in Excelsis Deo
(Glory to God In The Highest)
“It Came Upon The Midnight Clear is a poem and Christmas carol written by Edmund Sears, pastor of the Unitarian Church in Wayland, Massachusetts at the request of his friend, William Parsons Lunt, pastor of United First Parish Church, Quincy, Massachusetts.
“It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,
From heaven’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.
Other Carols Celebrating Angels:
Silent Night, The First Noel, O Holy Night, O Come All Ye Faithful, and O Little Town of Bethlehem
List Christian Holiday’s
List Resources for Christianity.
Christianity is the second major religion that celebrates One God. It has nearly 2 billion adherents worldwide. The religion is a celebration of both the life and death of the Wayshower Jesus of Nazareth, said to be the son of God. His message included forgiveness, love of one’s neighbor, the importance of inner as well as outer observance of spiritual law. Jesus is also said to have performed miracles such as walking on water, healing the sick, and restoring the dead to life. He had twelve key disciples during his life.
The earliest Christians were converts from Judaism who believed that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah who would usher in God’s kingdom on Earth.
The core Christian scripture is the Bible, made up of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) which recounts the story of the Jews and the New Testament, written in Greek by Jesus’ followers. Included are the four Gospels which tell of the Holy Family, the Acts of Jesus and his apostles, The Epistles which interpret the new faith and provide counsel to converts, and The Revelation with prophecies about the messiah’s return and the day of judgment.
Candles often represent The Light Within
An important symbol associated with Jesus is Light. “I Am The Light of the World” The Christ Consciousness is a reflection of this light within, being tuned into the soul, the good, kind, loving, sharing part of each person.
Christianity may be the largest religion in the world today. There are approximately 2.2 billion followers, nearly one-third of the world’s population.
Pope Francis, the current head of the Catholic Church, has been inspiring and challenging people with his more hands-on approach as a spiritual leader. Here is a passage on “building bridges” from one of his addresses to representatives of more than 180 countries, sovereign orders and international organizations. As the mission of WCF is to help “build bridges between the spiritual traditions of the world,” it is a hopeful message:
“One of the titles of the Bishop of Rome is Pontiff, that is,
builder of bridges with God and between people.
My wish is that the dialogue between us should help to
build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that
everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival,
but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced.”
– Pope Francis
(To read more of his insights, see page 2 of the Fall issue of Spirit Is Our River.)