Giving Thanks

Philippians 4 New International Version

Closing Appeal for Steadfastness and Unity

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Final Exhortations

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Whilst Sharing this reading with you I am reminded in verses 4 – 7 that thanksgiving in the USA is coming to an end, a time where the American’s give thanks for the harvest i’m told.

We must remember though that giving thanks to God doesn’t just apply to a certain time of the year, it applies all the year round. So today if you have something to thank God for, no matter what it is THANK HIM!

A Quiet time

Philippians 4 New International Version

Photo by VisionPic .net on

Final Exhortations

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Do you ever get those days where all you long for is a bit of ‘Me time or Quiet time’. I know I do.

In my case, on Saturday night we had my daughter, her husband and 2yr old granddaughter round for tea, and let me tell you granddaughter takes after her mum. (A real live wire).

Sunday we attended our local Salvation Army in the morning but managed to grab a bit of ‘ Me time or Quiet time’ before heading to mother in law’s for tea that night

Please listen to The International Staff Songsters and follow the words of In this Quiet moment

In this quiet moment, still, before your throne,
Conscious of your presence, knowing I am known,
In this quiet moment, set my spirit free,
In this quiet moment, make a better me.

The birth of Jesus

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Matthew 1 New International Version

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

A while ago I was given a book of daily bible verses and the highlighted verse above is the one I read this morning. (Suppose I should of kept it for Christmas really).

Upon your heart, streams Holy Light

Upon your heart, streams Holy Light

In heaven’s Holy ray

Dissolving all your heavy night

To turn your gloom to day

No matter now the load you bear

Your Father sees and knows

He holds you in His highest care

When heavy burdens grow

Each step of faith on weary road

In journey long and hard

He’s with you shouldering the load

When heaven seems so far

The glory brightly shines on you

Although you cannot see

When plain and common is your view

High heaven you receive

So bow the knee onto the dust

In lowly, quiet form

For Jesus holds you when you trust

And quietens still your storm.

Yes, enter in that Holy place

Leave cares outside the door

And He will give you Holy grace

Your prayers He does adore

Quieten down the hassled soul

The devil’s chide must cease

For you are in your Saviour’s hold

He gives you perfect peace.


By Lisa Lawlor

What the Christmas tree means

Photo by Brett Sayles on

The Christmas tree is a symbol of the holiday season and a tradition that has been around for centuries. It’s roots come from pagan traditions, but it became a Christian symbol in the 16th century.

The Christmas Tree symbolizes the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a representation of the tree in the Garden of Eden and it is also a reminder that we are all children of God who should love one another. Read more in detail here: what does the christmas tree symbolize in the bible.

We all adore Christmas, and what is one of the most important aspects of the holiday season? Of course, there’s the Christmas tree! But what does the tree that decorates our home during the holidays really represent? What is the significance of the Christmas tree?

What Is the Origin of the Christmas Tree?

Winter celebrations were associated with the use of evergreens and greenery, since they were plants that lasted all year and were thought to protect the home from bad spirits, witches, ghosts, and diseases.

People thought that since these plants remained green throughout the year, particularly throughout the winter, they would be protected; it was not only a symbol of protection, but also of health.

What is the Christmas tree’s real origin?

Originally, the Christmas tree was a pagan religious emblem of festivity. It is mostly recognized as a German custom.

If they couldn’t locate a plant to symbolize the tree, the Christmas tree became a pyramid tree. People would make a tree-like pyramid out of wood and adorn it with nuts, gingerbread, apples, paper, and candles.

On Christmas Eve, the trees and pyramids were typically paraded throughout town to display to the other families as a symbol of good health, to ward off bad spirits. Throughout the 16th century, it grew in popularity, eventually becoming very popular among aristocracy and royalty.

Is there a religious significance to a Christmas tree?

For the Saturnalia festival, Romans used evergreens to adorn their temples, while Ancient Egyptians used green palm rushes to decorate their temples as part of devotion to the God of Ra.

It is said that a guy named Martin Luther brought the first recorded Christmas tree inside and decorated it in the 16th century. He was reported to have seen the stars through the evergreen trees on his way home and returned home to tell his children that it reminded him of Jesus. People began to decorate trees with candles as a sign of inviting Jesus into their homes after he wrote a sermon for his church about the event. For Christians, the Christmas tree symbolizes Jesus and the light he gives to the world.

Where did the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree originate from?

It originated from the custom of covering the tree or ‘Christmas pyramid’ with gingerbread, candles, and other decorations to resemble/replicate Jesus’ birth narrative. This was done so that as individuals went about presenting and showing off their Christmas trees/pyramids, they were encouraging others to come to the church to see their nativity play based on the Christmas narrative.

Though, as time passed, it became increasingly usual for households to retain their trees inside to adorn as their own, rather than as community showpieces.

Could you image trying to lug a Christmas tree around your block? It’s no wonder that we now keep our Christmas trees in our homes for our family to enjoy.

Why do we decorate our Christmas trees with ornaments?

Nowadays, decorating the Christmas tree is such a significant occasion for families; it is the time of year when they all gather together to decorate the tree, which they then sit around and put gifts beneath as the centerpiece of their holiday celebration.

However, the root of why we place ornaments on the tree may be traced back to the 16th century. Europeans would use apples to adorn their trees to represent the paradise tree in the tale of Adam and Eve, as well as to remind people of the forbidden fruit Eve ate.

Christmas trees were subsequently adorned with delectable delicacies such as gingerbread stars, angels, and holly, as we know them today.

The very first Christmas ornament

Glassblower Hans Greiner is believed to have developed the first glass ornament because he couldn’t afford to purchase apples and chose to manufacture his own. Others started to purchase his glass apples and other glass decorations that resembled fruit and nuts to symbolize the Christmas holiday after seeing his works.

Now, I’m not sure about you, but these glass apples and nuts sound very similar to the ornaments we purchase now, so it’s no surprise they were popular.

Why do we decorate a Christmas tree with lights?

Putting lights on a tree harkens back to the concept of the lights symbolizing Jesus as Light in the Dark. The stars and planets in the sky were represented by the lights and decorations on the tree. Many Christians would put a manger beneath their trees to represent Jesus Christ’s advent under the stars.

However, it wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that Americans and Britons began to adorn their Christmas trees! After Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, brought the custom over from Germany, it became popular. (For additional information on how to celebrate Christmas Victorian style, see How To Celebrate Christmas Victorian Style.)

In America, however, putting lights on Christmas trees (candles) needed buckets of water and sand since it was not unusual for the trees to catch fire, which they did often.

It wasn’t until 1882 when Thomas Edison’s colleague Edward Johnson adorned his Christmas tree with electric lights, earning him the moniker “Father of the Electric Christmas Tree.” The tradition of adorning Christmas trees with electric lights spread from there, and by 1920, electric Christmas lights were available in every shop.

Why do we adorn our Christmas trees with tinsel?

Tinsel was invented in the 17th century in Europe, and it was made by pounding silver alloy until it was paper-thin and then cutting it into strips. It was used as a Christmas tree ornament to reflect the flickering and glistening candle flames. They seemed as if there were sparkling stars in the sky, but they were on their trees.

Obviously, we can now buy tinsel in nearly every color conceivable, but the combination of tinsel and lights can produce a sparkling star appearance, making this time of year even more wonderful for you and your family.

Love and Respect

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Proverbs 20 New International Version 

19 A gossip betrays a confidence;
    so avoid anyone who talks too much.

20 If someone curses their father or mother,
    their lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.

21 An inheritance claimed too soon
    will not be blessed at the end.

22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”
    Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.

23 The Lord detests differing weights,
    and dishonest scales do not please him.

24 A person’s steps are directed by the Lord.
    How then can anyone understand their own way?

25 It is a trap to dedicate something rashly
    and only later to consider one’s vows.

26 A wise king winnows out the wicked;
    he drives the threshing wheel over them.

27 The human spirit is[a] the lamp of the Lord
    that sheds light on one’s inmost being.

28 Love and faithfulness keep a king safe;
    through love his throne is made secure.

2The glory of young men is their strength,
    grey hair the splendour of the old.

30 Blows and wounds scrub away evil,
    and beatings purge the inmost being.

The Guiding Star

Matthew 2 New International Version – UK

The Magi visit the Messiah

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written:

‘“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.”[b]

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

  1. As with gladness men of old
    Did the guiding star behold,
    As with joy they hailed its light,
    Leading onward, beaming bright;
    So, most gracious Lord, may we
    Evermore be led to Thee.
  2. As with joyful steps they sped
    To that lowly manger bed,
    There to bend the knee before
    Him whom heav’n and earth adore;
    So may we, with willing feet,
    Ever seek Thy mercy seat.
  3. As they offered gifts most rare
    At that manger rude and bare;
    So may we with holy joy,
    Pure and free from sin’s alloy,
    All our costliest treasures bring,
    Christ, to Thee, our heav’nly King.
  4. Holy Jesus, every day
    Keep us in the narrow way;
    And, when earthly things are past,
    Bring our ransomed souls at last
    Where they need no star to guide,
    Where no clouds Thy glory hide.

Last night I was out Carolling with my local Salvation Army Band & Songsters. It was when we were asked to sing the above carol that I made the connection with ‘The Mercy Seat’(for those of you who do not know about The Salvation Army it has what is basically a piece of wood which acts as a place of prayer).

I also began to realise as I got into the next two verses that I suppose you could call this a prayer at Christmas time or anytime really.

Note: I aim to bring you Christmas blog on 25th December! Merry Christmas

God Bless!


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Along with Joy to the World, Hark the  herald angels and Away in a manger I think I have got to admit that Who is He is my favourite carol I like playing in my Corps Band because for me it is a carol that speaks volumes. It’s a carol that tell us Jesus was a ‘special baby’ he was to be a baby that grew into a man and to perform miracles before he was crucified on the cross to save us from our sins.

Verse 1
Who is He in yonder stall,
at Whose feet the shepherds fall?
‘Tis the Lord!
O wondrous story
‘Tis the Lord,
the King of Glory!
At his feet we humbly fall,
Crown Him, crown Him
Lord of all!
Verse 2
Who is He in deep distress,
fasting in the wilderness?
Verse 3
Who is He
to Whom they bring
all the sick and sorrowing?
Verse 4
Who is He on yonder tree,
dies in grief and agony?
Verse 5
Who is He Who from the grave
comes to heal
and help and save?
Verse 6
Who is He Whom from His throne
rules through all the world alone?