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Oh Holy Night! The Angels Song!

He wooed me as a child,

appealing to all my senses.

My mittened hand in my dad’s big gloved hand as

we walked toward the church on a snowy Christmas Eve.

Luminaries lined the walk,

bells chimed from the tower,

and the fragrance of pine enveloped the sanctuary.

An unusual hush was over the congregation as we waited

for the service to begin, for this, my father whispered, was a holy night.

Then, the service began when, from the back balcony,

a lone soprano’s voice filled the air:


Though my church as a child did not hold to the Bible,

the carols and the hymns we sang did,

and stayed in my memory,

playing a part in helping me to listen when, as an adult,

the gospel was presented to me.

Though today is Christmas Eve, and this week probably filled

with activity for us,

let’s fill our hearts with the angels’ song,

so that we might sense His presence and love well.

Sunday, Christmas Eve, 2017

1.What stands out to you from the above? How does it cause you to reflect?

2. How will you help this to be a holy night for yourself or those you love?

Monday, Christmas Day, 2017

3. Share any way you sensed the presence of God yesterday.

4. How will you help this day be a holy day for yourself or those you love?

5. We are going to study the angels’ prayer of praise this week, but I’d love for you to listen to the prayer Michael Card imagined Joseph might have had and share your reflections:

Tuesday, Dec 26: What did the angels sing?

6. Describe the scene in Luke 2:8-9.

7. Do you see any correlation between what we have already studied with Zechariah and Mary? If so, what?

8. What did the angels sing? Find everything you can.

Wednesday, Dec 27: Does peace come to everyone?


The translations vary between:


It all comes down to one Greek letter, and if it present or not in the earliest manuscripts. Most scholars lean toward the translation “peace with whom his favor rests,” or “peace with whom He is pleased,” but the following verses may illustrate that both translations actually end up saying the same thing. Indeed, peace is offered to all, but only those who receive the offer will experience His favor.

6. What do you learn about the connection between righteousness and peace in the following?

A. 1 Corin. 10:5-6

B. Hebrews 12:14

C. Matthew 5:8

D. Romans 15:13

7. Do you agree that both translations could be saying the same thing? Why or why not?


Thursday: John Piper’s Reflections

Read or listen to this short commentary on the above from John Piper.

John Piper


8. What thoughts do you have concerning the above?



What stood out to me in Piper’s thoughts was this: The key that unlocks the treasure chest of God’s peace is faith in the promises of God. It is not that we must be perfectly obedient to have peace, but that we must have faith in the promises, so that the focus of our life is to please Him, and to truly repent when we don’t, and to believe in His love. I do not want you to be thinking that “I have pain in my life because I am not pleasing Him,” for that is a lie from the enemy. We all have pain, the righteous and the unrighteous. But we can have a peace even in the midst of pain, as we have seen with godly women here, because we are confident of God’s love, and can cast our anxieties on Him, knowing He cares for us. Why does He allow pain if He loves us? One day we will understand how He used it for good, but for now, we trust His promises of love and care and sovereignty. 


Friday: Dialoguing with the Prince of Peace

9. Prayer is meant to be a dialogue. So tell Jesus your anxieties, one by one — and allow Him to speak into your soul. He may not do it immediately, but keep watching for the word, the answer, the peace. Share what happens.


Saturday: Reflecting on Advent 2017

10. What do you think you will remember about the prayers of Christmas? Why?









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  1. 1.What stands out to you from the above? How does it cause you to reflect? 

    Oh! how I LOVE the snow and the snowy picture of the church. I love Christmas carols and I think they get lost in the “holiday” songs. Oh Holy Night is one of my favorites. I grew up in Florida and the lack of the winter kind of ruins the spirit of Christmas if you ask me. It’s one thing I actually appreciate about living in New England!

    My mom and dad were from the Midwest and they had traditions that still resonate for me. I have some beautiful antique Christmas ornaments that were theirs, and (of course) mom had Cornish game hens for Christmas dinner. My dad loved the season and I play Christmas classical music to remind me of him. Since he was our choir director, he would always have some huge musical cantata at the church. One I remember in particular was called, “City of the King.” He would sometimes do Handels Messiah as well. Music is important to me because of his influence.

    2. How will you help this to be a holy night for yourself or those you love?
    I have Ann Voscamp’s sons advent wreath on my table and I move Mary and the donkey along every day although I’m not sure anyone notices. I say to Cooper, “we need to move Mary along in her journey; she is so close to almost traveling the 80 miles to Bethlehem!” I will clean and decorate the tree today, as we work up until the last second here in the heathen north. We go to church this morning so I’m not entirely sure there is a Christmas Eve service tonight to attend 🤷‍♂️? I will play those classical Christmas carols, have a fire in the fireplace, and try hard to enjoy the family without fighting!


    I usually want to make Jesus a birthday cake though I never seem to get it done (I might do some cupcakes though since I am trying to change the way I raise these kids compared to my own). We will sing Happy birthday to Jesus and blow out the candle also.

  2. 1.What stands out to you from the above? How does it cause you to reflect?

    The beautiful way you captured the wonder and joy of Christmas through your childhood memories.

    It was the perfect was to start Christmas Eve day, thinking about the awe and holiness of it all.

  3. What stood out?

    This is “a holy night”. There is something so special about Christmas Eve. Even as an adult, I can’t explain it.  It is part of the mystery of the birth of God in a humble stable (or was it a cave). Together with the anticipation and excitement of Christmas morning – the waiting almost over. There is “a kind of hush” when heavens doors seem widest open to me and the “wonder” of Jesus seems most real in spite of all the noise and distractions of people and things.

    I just want to take this opportunity to wish all of you here a “Merry and blessed Christmas”. May God be near to each of you and “kiss” you with his holy presence.

  4. 1.  What stands out… The church I grew up in was like yours, Dee. The hymns told the Truth, but you had to dig. No one there was going to tell you the Truth. When we married, we chose to look for a church that would be bold in telling people the full Truth. We thought my in laws would be upset we were leaving their church. Instead, they were upset that we had decided to not get a TV right away.  How hard it can be to talk with relatives!


    2.  Making today holy…. Our tradition for Christmas Eve after church and a light meal is to light all the candles and then talk about how we see Christ in advent and in the decorations and symbols of Christmas. Part of our decisions years ago was to keep Christmas Eve for Jesus. It is usually a very holy time.

  5. 1.What stands out to you from the above? How does it cause you to reflect?

    “and love well.” Those words jumped out to me, for I so long to LOVE WELL. I long to love Him as He deserves–with my full devotion. To love my husband, my kids, friends and family-to love them selflessly. OH how far I fall short, but it is my heart’s desire to love well.

    And I love the emphasis on the awakening of your senses, especially picturing your mittened little hand snuggled in your Daddy’s grasp. How He woos us so young, so tenderly and so personally.

    I am moved too by the reflection on hymns. This Advent season my church focused each week on the hymns of our faith and the Biblical truths behind them–how the competing songs of the world and our own hearts can leave us feeling disappointed, dissatisfied..but the truths of the hymns “teach our hearts to sing His praise and focus on the One who drew near to us.”

    I am so thankful for this blog family–the sweet treasure we share, this fellowship like no other I’ve known. I am so blessed to be a part of this place. Christmas blessings to you all!

    1. “And to love well” Yes. Lizzy your heart’s desire is so beautiful, and I am so glad you share it with us.

      I am a silent blogger mostly, but I treasure the fellowship and the truths that are expressed and I agree that it is a “sweet Treasure.”

      May each of you know the peace that this season expresses. And happy new year.

  6. 3.  Sensing God’s presence on Christmas Eve.  The candlelight service was a blend of carols and new things, and a reading from a ‘magi’, talking about the gifts and their significance. I’d always heard that they were expensive gifts. And I’ve reasoned to myself that Joseph probably needed the proceeds of those gifts to take care of their journey and time in Egypt. But this was new to me, talking of gold as a gift you would bring to a king. Frankincense as being a gift you use to worship God. And myrrh for preparing a body for burial, in a death that could not keep Him.  Then we came out to swirls of heavy snow. So beautiful.


    4.  How can I help this day be holy?  By preparing myself before people show up or start milling around. Spending time in His Word, and in prayer. And then in serving others.


    5.  Michael Card’s song…I love this, and have ever since first hearing it. It evokes in me strong feelings of awe, wonder, protection, and even bewilderment….all things I think Joseph was feeling. To hold a newborn is always awe inspiring. You look at the tiny features and realize where it all started…the whole miracle of it. And then to hold The Baby, the Son of God! Add to that wanting to be a good husband and father. Wanting to protect this One worthy of worship. Then the question, how does one raise the Son of God? All Christmas feelings.

  7. A Joyous blessed Christmas to u all!

    What stood out to me was the memory you have Dee of going with your father to church, hand in hand…& the holiness & awe of it all. Such a sweet picture of our Heavenly Father holding our hand & leading us to Himself…to Jesus in the manger. I have lovely childhood memories of being in summer in Aussie, playing outside with our new toys, eating cold turkey & salads & desserts, & going to church on Christmas morning. Christmas Eve was never anything special when I grew up, except we did sometimes sing “carols by candlelight ” outside with our community…then remember going to bed & waiting for Father Christmas to come & put presents under the tree!

    It’s a bit hard now, to be honest, as my husband & kids are not believers. Hannukah has been more important than Christmas, but we do both in a secular way. My youngest son is here with us, & the 3 of us are going to Chinatown for lunch today!! I was able to go to church yesterday morning, & I am being blessed by reading Ann Voskamp’s Advent devotional. I will pray to be able to hold Christ in my heart by faith, & share His love  & ponder Him in my heart. Can’t share Him yet with my family as they are not open, but may the Light dawn on them from on High!! Love to u all this Day!

    1. Jenny, you are truly an encouragement to me!

      1. Susan, I’m so glad if I can be any encouragement to u! We are all on this journey together. I pray that u can have a blessed Christmas with your family. I was praising God silently this morning, cause my husband actually played some carols in the family room on his bluetooth!

  8. 1. What stands out to you from the above?  How does it cause you to reflect?


    I love your childhood memory of church on Christmas Eve, Dee! It seems like a Norman Rockwell scene, of a nostalgic time. It is unexplainable how there is just something that stirs our senses at this time of year, even if a person doesn’t know Him. Growing up, my family didn’t go to church. I have no childhood memories of going to services with my parents or sisters, I didn’t know any hymns, and I didn’t know much about Jesus. Yet I loved Christmas and not just because of presents.


    2. How will you help this be a holy night for yourself or those you love?


    We always are with my in-laws on Christmas Eve. We used to go to Catholic Mass with them at the nursing home where they used to volunteer, but they stopped volunteering there 2 years ago. Now we still go out to dinner and then to their home. Last night our son Adam wasn’t there as he is in Florida in the Navy and couldn’t be home. I miss going to church. My husband’s brother and girlfriend were also there. My prayer before we went was to just take people as they are, not as I want them to be, and to just love them. Having just lost my mom, and my in-laws are approaching 80, I remind myself it’s not about me, it’s making the most of time with them.

  9. Merry Christmas to everyone and many blessings to you and to your families! Dee, thank you for faithfully writing a new study for us each and every week….don’t want to take that for granted!

  10. Merry Christmas to all you lovely women. I cherish this blog family – each unique person and the gift of your sharing here with us. and especially you, Dee. What a gift you give us as you guide us to the Truth each week. It amazes me how you still find the time to do this at Christmas time with family responsibilities and so on! God bless you, Dee.

    We had a hectic weekend before Christmas and a Christmas morning with excited grandchildren (my divorced daughter’s three sons). Now they have left to drive on wintry roads through falling snow to be with their father’s family. It will be quiet for a couple of days before our other grandchildren arrive.

    I have things to ponder about unthankful hearts- all did not go well when one child did not get the gift he wanted, got gifts he did not appreciate, and resented what the others got. Hmm! How do we teach appreciation??? We cannot change self-centered hearts. We don’t want compliance but genuine thankfulness. What a sad expression of a selfish heart!!

  11. Dee, I also want to thank you for your gift of this blog; your time, love, openness & faithfulness. I wasn’t sure if there would be a new post over Christmas, but I checked….& there it was! A light shining in the darkness….& your personal comments of encouragement & prayers. I must say I love getting those too!!! 🙂  Thank you dear Dee.  xxxx

  12. 3. Share any way you sensed the presence of God yesterday. 

    I didn’t feel ready to answer this question yesterday (now) but maybe I can at this point. My middle oldest son John was a blessing to me today (Christmas Day), as we usually can get on each others nerves. I am usually more tolerant of him than he is of me, but today the tables were turned. It wasn’t just once either,  it the entire day! I gave him a book, The Case for Christ, for Christmas, and I am hoping he reads it with interest. He seemed happier than I have seen him in the past.

    4. How will you help this day be a holy day for yourself or those you love?

    We began the day with lighting a candle that was on some muffins I made. We sang happy birthday to Jesus before we did anything else.

    6. Describe the scene in Luke 2:8-9.  

    Shepherds were in the fields with their sheep. They were startled when angels appeared to them.

    7. Do you see any correlation between what we have already studied with Zechariah and Mary? If so, what? 

    Yes, everyone is visited by an angel and given information about the situation.

    8. What did the angels sing? Find everything you can.

    They told the shepards to not be afraid. They also said that a child was born who would be their Savior. They told them the sign they would find was that a baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger was in Bethlehem.


    Their actual song was praising God. They said Glory to God in the highest! Peace to all who believe on earth.

  13. I echo the others, Dee. Thank you so much for all you do with and for the blog. I can’t adequately verbalized what it means to me….


    6.  Luke 2:8-9. Just this year I learned that the sheep being raised in the fields near Bethlehem were specifically for sacrifices. And the caves close by were used for lambing, so that they could make sure they remained unblemished. Bethlehem means house of bread, and Messiah is the bread of life. And He was born to be our Passover Lamb. The shepherds would have been very aware of these things when the angels appeared to them in brilliant light. They had never seen light like this. Of course they were terrified and paid attention. I would, too!


    7.  Every time an angel shows themselves to people, it seems the first thing they say is, don’t be afraid. In the nativity accounts, the message is about the coming of Messiah. Even with Zechariah, it is about John being the forerunner to Messiah


    8.  The angels sang. We have a pastor who claims Angels do not sing. I don’t agree. Psalms say that the trees clap their hands and sing, so surely angels sing. In any case, the shepherds heard that earlier that day Messiah had been born in Bethlehem, the town of David. They would know they had found Him when they saw a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. The angels say “glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests”. Does peace come to all?  It is offered to all, but not all partake of the offer.

  14. Tuesday, Dec 26: What did the angels sing?
    6. Describe the scene in Luke 2:8-9.

    Working men, shepherds, sleeping rough on meaningless night to protect their sheep.    Without warning, a bolt of lightning strikes and the men are surrounded by God’s glorious light, standing face-to-face with an angel of the Lord. Drama!
    7. Do you see any correlation between what we have already studied with Zechariah and Mary? If so, what?
    Fear.  The immediate human response to angelic beings.  Also, there’s no forewarning—the angels don’t ring the doorbell or knock at the doorpost before appearing.  They startle and surprise.

    8. What did the angels sing? Find everything you can.
    v14: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

    xrf: Ps 148:1 “Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights!”

    Rev. 5:13 “And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”


    Merry Christmas, everyone!  Thank you, Dee.

  15. 8. What did the angels sing? Find everything you can.

    The response of the heart that has acknowledged Jesus as Savior , is abundant with praise and gratitude, giving due glory to Him.

    And now I just read this from Spurgeon and cannot add anything to it: “And notice how well they told the story, and surely you will love them! Not with the stammering tongue of one who tells a tale in which he has no interest; nor even with the feigned interest of a man that would move the passions of others, when he feels no emotion himself; but with joy and gladness, such as angels can only know. They sang the story out, for they could not stop to tell it in heavy prose. They sang, “Glory to God on high, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” I think they sang it with gladness in their eyes; with their hearts burning with love, and with breasts as full of joy as if the good news to man had been good news to themselves.”

    6. What do you learn about the connection between righteousness and peace in the following?

    A. 1 Corin. 10:5-6- the desire for evil, living in disobedience to God, brought turmoil

    B. Hebrews 12:14-peace accompanies holiness

    C. Matthew 5:8-purity of heart brings God’s blessing

    D. Romans 15:13-Faith in God is the source of joy and peace and hope.

    7. Do you agree that both translations could be saying the same thing? Why or why not?

    Yes I agree. I think of 2 peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” The Lord offers peace to all, He does desire that all will know Him and know His peace, that is His heart.

    8. What thoughts do you have concerning the above?

    “The people who enjoy the peace of God that surpasses all understanding are those who in everything by prayer and supplication let their requests be made known to God…the key that unlocks the treasure chest of God’s peace is faith in the promises of God.” I get Piper’s devotions daily and I remember this as one which has spurred me to know God’s promises (as I shared the book last week). While there is no “magic formula” in prayer, as I have been reading and praying back God’s promises to Him, I have felt more of His peace..but it is dependent on my faith in what He has said is true. In the past, I’ve also gone through a concordance, making a list of every verse that speaks a certain truth to me that I need to rest in. For example, I have a list of verses that tell us He will never leave us. That truth alone, if I really meditate on it and claim it, has the power to bathe me in peace amidst the lonliest storms.

    And I love this from Dee here: “But we can have a peace even in the midst of pain, as we have seen with godly women here, because we are confident of God’s love, and can cast our anxieties on Him, knowing He cares for us. Why does He allow pain if He loves us? One day we will understand how He used it for good, but for now, we trust His promises of love and care and sovereignty.”

  16. Back to work today & getting behind again! Has anyone heard from Mary E?? I haven’t seen her on blog for a while?

  17. Merry Christmas!!!!    I too thank you Dee for this blog.

    Oh I can so resonate with your memories Dee. I attended church all my childhood though I never read a Bible till I was 33. The songs at Christmas drew me. “What Child Is this”   “Oh Holy Night”  ” Silent Night” A few of my standouts. I remember riding with my family to my grandmothers in Vermont at night listening to them and looking out the window at the stars.

    I make it a regular prayer that as people hear these songs during this season they will be drawn.

    Christmas Eve is spent with my husbands family and all of my married life I have not been able to go to church unless it fell on a Sunday as it did this year. Thankful Jesus is with me wherever I go.


  18. Hello everybody! Late greetings but merry Christmas to all! Here in Seattle visiting Ruth and do not have wifi. Dee,thank u for continuing with the blog at this busy time of year. A few setbacks  the last week or so and this trip has been emotionally draining for me. But I am experiencing peace esp with regards to our daughter. Standing on the promises of God. The humble way of Jesus coming into the world continually amazes me. Michael Card Joseph song echoes in my heart. How can it be that He came and called me to be one of His own? As a newly found friend said to me-the wonderful thing about growing older as a Christian is realizing how wretched I really am and How deep God’s love is for me. So true!

  19. 6. What do you learn about the connection between righteousness and peace in the following?
    A. 1 Corin. 10:5-6 

    The Israelites gave in to sinful pleasures and ended up “scattered,” which the Amplified Bible professes as being dead. Instead, we are to avoid, at all costs, our idols, and we will have peace within.


    Incidently, I believe this wholeheartedly. When I am on the straight path, I am happy, joyful, and peaceful. When I stray, I am pained. I have told my children this, but they just don’t seem to get it. I suppose it is a maturing process.

    B. Hebrews 12:14 

    We (and they were) are to live peacefully with everyone. It will help to make us more Holy so that we are able to be in God’s presence.

    C. Matthew 5:8 

    If we are pure in heart, or godly, we will experience and be with God.


    The Amplified Bible says, “…spiritually mature…” again, I think it’s a process.

    D. Romans 15:13

    Joy and peace allows us to have hope, through the Holy Spirit, in God for all to see.

    7. Do you agree that both translations could be saying the same thing? Why or why not?

    I think they are saying the same thing. In three cases of the 4  versions I read, it was said from Gods stand point (with whom He favors, or with whom He is pleased). The other one said it from the human stand point (who pleases Him). I found that interesting.  He is pleased when we please Him with our behavior.


    This is the hardest thing to explain to people who think if they are “good” they will go to heaven (my kids). For example, the son I had a nice day with on Christmas thinks you don’t have to go to church. I tried to explain that the Bible (God) says that we are to be in fellowship with like minded people. I wish I could condense all the important bits of God’s Word to a “sound bite” that I could use and be successful in changing others hearts….

      1. Buying it for myself for my birthday 😉. Thanks for the info!

  20. Thoughts on John Piper:

    i think my problem often is a tendency to rely on my emotions and the degree to which I feel good physically. My ongoing chronic shoulder pain issue is a source of discouragement for me.  I keep turning to the promises of God and trust His care, love and sovereignty.  There are days that I am just so glad how things are turning out despite everything then in a moment , it is dashed by something somebody says to me.  The idol of comfort and control is very strong. Lord, I repent of this and ask for your forgiveness. Help me be more like your Son and may I submit to you and leave my struggles and pain at your throne of grace.

    1. Bing–the first sentence and my eyes filled, my throat tightened. Yes, this is me too. Exactly. Thank you for your honesty. I admit it’s a struggle for me to say those last 2 sentences with you, but I join you.

        1. Thank you, Dee. It sure is a struggle but I know the Lord is good.

      1. Lizzy, the ministry of women like you here in Dee’s blog  has repeatedly taken me out of the pit (by the grace of God).  Laura, below in her response to my post, has spoken similar feelings I have as I relate to my daughter as well. There is something to be said about the oneness in Christ that we have in spite of our distances. I am not alone-I keep telling myself. There are my sisters and I have the ONE who knows and who sees. And the One who sees and knows, cares. More than we can ever imagine or ask for. Thank you, sister for coming alongside me.

    2. Bing, I have a similar problem, but it stems from a different place. I tell myself I am in peace, and I feel peaceful, however, then something very bad will happen with my daughter (yesterday) and I wonder/question when God is going to show up? How long will He remain silent? I still feel He is in charge, but I don’t feel so peaceful anymore. All the sudden I am emotional (like you said) and that equals irrational to me. I think it is my idol of my children rearing its ugly head, but considering the circumstances, it is SO HARD to not have these feelings. We are connected to our children in a way that is difficult to let go. I suppose I should have cut the apron strings years ago, but she also has the low IQ, and (we thought) wouldn’t she need our help always? regardless? We wouldn’t allow Downs Syndrome (fit any disability here) people to falter on their own, right? We would help them find their way. The difference is that they would accept the help; she will not. No, I’m not always at peace; this world is too messy and I am too involved.

      1. “I’m not always at peace; this world is too messy and I am too involved.” Laura-this so resonated with me. My daughter is ambivalent in terms of how much she wants help from us. I treasure the few moments when she would listen to me even if we disagree on certain matters. I long for her to “just be held” by Jesus; not to struggle and live life on her own terms. To give up her pride and surrender to the Lord. “How long will He remain silent?” I have asked that, too, Laura. MY consolation often is that God loves my daughter more than I do and has a plan that is much better than I can ever come up with! But, oh, the wait is so painful! 

  21. What did the Angels sing?   “Glory to God in the Highest & peace on earth among men with whom He is well pleased”.

    Does peace come to everyone?  I think Peace comes to those who believe in God, in His Son who He sent to be our Prince of Peace.

    1 Cor 10:5-6 -When the Israelites lusted after evil, God was not pleased with them.

    Heb 12:14-   Try to live at peace with everyone, while at the same time pursuing holiness……”without which no-one will see the Lord”.

    Mat 5:8- Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God

    Rom 15:13  As we believe in our God of hope, we are filled with joy & peace thro the Holy Spirit. Comes thro Faith.

    Do you believe that both translations could be saying the same thing?  Probably Yes! God’s Peace is upon those who believe in Him, & therefore are pleasing to Him.

  22. John Piper’s thoughts:   I agree with what he said. It confirmed what I was already thinking & it makes sense with the Gospel.

    Like you Dee, I loved it when he said ” the key that unlocks the treasure chest of God’s peace is faith in the Promises of God”. I think when we trust in His Sovereignty we have His Peace.  When we are in right relationship with Him, we sense His peace.

    Lord help us to cast all our cares upon You, & trust that You are working! Thank You for Your steadfast everlasting Love.

  23. 6. Describe the scene in Luke 2:8-9


    The shepherds are on night watch out in the fields, watching over their sheep, when an angel appears and the glory of the Lord shines around them. They are terrified.


    7. Do you see any correlation between what we have already studied with Zechariah and Mary?


    Yes, Zechariah, Mary, and the shepherds were all going about their duties (Zechariah was serving in the temple, perhaps Mary was doing housework, the shepherds were on night duty). I noticed that Zechariah’s reaction was being gripped with fear, the shepherds were terrified, and Mary was “greatly troubled”. I wonder if the great angel Gabriel “toned it down” for Mary as his presence didn’t terrify her? That would mean that the Lord took into consideration that she was a young girl and that He didn’t want to frighten her terribly. Not that He was into scaring an old priest or the shepherds, but I see a tenderness towards Mary.

  24. I have been delinquent this week because last week we drove to Texas to be with our oldest son and his family.  Our time there was especially good with our son and daughter in law.  A big change and answer to many prayers. Sleeping schedules have been off from late nights and extra activities.  Along with that I caught a cold so spending time interacting with the blog and doing the study didn’t happen this week but I followed along at a distance  (-:   We got home last night so today we play catch up and prepare for Christmas dinner and gift exchange tomorrow with our children and their families that live here.

    I appreciated the thoughts from Piper and agree with his thoughts on peace.  I believe our peace is directly tied to our faith in God and apart from Him there is no peace to be had.   He is our peace when we embrace Him into our lives.


    10. What do you think you will remember about the prayers of Christmas? Why?

    As I think back over the prayers of Christmas the thing that stands out to me is that they are full of praise to God and giving Him glory.  The focus is on Who he is and his great sovereignty. And in light of that fact the wonderful almighty God of Heaven and earth came down and revealed Himself to humble lowly people where they lived. He met with the simple people giving them the most wonderful news earth has ever received.  A Savior was born! Hope, Peace and Eternal life!

  25. 6. What do you learn about the connection between righteousness and peace in the following?
    A. 1 Corin. 10:5-6
    We can be clothed in His righteousness but not have His peace.
    B. Hebrews 12:14
    There is an effort on our part to live in peace with everyone, but we have to walk in holiness in order to live in peace with everyone which means not bending to what our sinful nature desires in the moment after someone hurts us-and it can roar in us..in me!! So to abstain from letting anger get a foothold toward those who have hurt us, and to forgive seventy times seven. Not to seek revenge rather love them-this doesn’t mean we have to be best friends if they are still hurting us for Jesus warns us about being close to fools, but we can be kind and loving. Such as, Matthew 5:38-40, Matthew 18: 21-22. Those are the hardest-when someone sues you for your shirt-give them your shirt and coat also. That can only be done by a transformed heart that more and more walks in repentance and faith-believing and trusting in His promises. I think this is a process of maturity but we should be progressing in maturity to become more and more like Jesus.

  26. 10. What do you think you will remember about the prayers of Christmas? Why?


    I’m still thinking about the verse in Zechariah’s prayer, the one about “to enable us to serve him without fear” (rescued from our enemies). I believe that Satan wants to keep us/me in a fear-based relationship with God….fearful, mistrust, anxious, if you mess up He is angry with you. I do believe that the above verse in Luke means that God’s intentions and heart towards ALL of mankind is one of goodwill and peace – He extended the olive branch towards us; of course, many do not accept His offer. I think this sort of ties-in with the verse in 1 John about “perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment”. How can I really serve Him if deep down I am afraid of Him, or that He is going to punish me? And recently at church, we were talking about the verse in Hebrews that says without faith, it is impossible to please God.  We have to believe that He rewards those who seek Him. I have to believe that God would be pleased with even my smallest steps of faith, and encouraging me to try again if I fail.

    1. Susan, YES, I’m sure He is pleased with any baby steps we take in faith. I believe He is our greatest encourager! May u be encouraged dear sister  🙂

  27. In pondering the angels’ song to the shepherds, I realized I had already listened to Paul Tripp’s Advent sermon on this passage, Luke 2:14 called “The Announcement”. “These words not only announce a birth, they predict a death.”Check the link below and scroll to sermon 3 of the Advent sermons. (They are all good, but the 3rd is on the passage we are pondering here.) It is 27 minutes long. I recommended these sermons before to some of you whose email addresses I have, but I hope it will be helpful to recommend them again now. I highly recommend Paul Tripp to you.


      1. Oh, I am so glad you had a chance to listen to the Tripp sermons, Dee. I felt sure you would like them.

  28. Saturday: Reflecting on Advent 2017
    10. What do you think you will remember about the prayers of Christmas? Why?
    Simeon’s and Anna’s. Probably because I am at a stage in life where I feel old. (Smile) I have often thought that I do not want to be 100 years old like Anna would have been. But then I realized that age is a matter of perspective. That if I get to grow old like these 2 before Jesus comes again, I can live my life with a purpose, already having seen the “light of the Gentiles and the glory of His people Israel”. To make my life count for God until He dismisses me from this world.

  29. 10).  I think what stood out to me most in this season was Hannah’s prayer & Zechariah’s. Their mouths were “opened wide” over their enemies in Praise, rejoicing & boldness for God. We are set free so that we can serve Him without fear. I really need to grow in this area & will pray for filling of Holy Spirit & boldness as He opens up opportunities this next year!