Good Christian Friends, Rejoice- a Christmas devotional for Dec. 28, 2017

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During the Twelve Days of Christmas, just as in the Advent season, I am going to reflect on a hymn or carol daily as part of my spiritual practices. I am not sure where all these reflections will take me, but in conversation with my spiritual director, I am going to leave room for both “the head stuff” and “the heart stuff.” Some days might be more of one or another. I invite you to join me, as together we make space to listen, and be present, to sense what God might be up to. 

Merry Fourth Day of Christmas! Spending time with our families this week continues to be a joy. It was also a joy to be with family and friends from so many different parts of our lives yesterday for a baby shower. Thanks to all four of our parents for helping put it together, and for Allison’s parents for hosting.

As I lean into that gratitude even more today, I was a little stumped this morning about what carol to ponder and reflect on. So, I asked my sister. As she was taking the dogs out for their morning business, she said “write about animals.” So, naturally I am writing about “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice.” Makes sense, right? Well, it does if you read or sing the third line of the first verse.

Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice;
give ye heed to what we say: Jesus Christ is born today;
ox and ass before him bow, and he is in the manger now.
Christ is born today! Christ is born today!

There’s a certain wisdom of this. Perhaps you have seen the pictures of cats, for example, that like to curl up in nativity sets? Our cat Buddy is no different. He loves to be bowed down or laying at Jesus’ feet in the nativity set at the base of our Christmas tree.

Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice;
now ye hear of endless bliss: Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened heaven’s door, and we are blest forevermore.
Christ was born for this! Christ was born for this!

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Speaking of friends, what a fun group of PLU friends that was together at the Baby shower last night. Thanks to all the family and friends who came, gathered, and celebrated with us.

One of the reasons I love this carol that is often sung in worship on Christmas Day, or on a Sunday during the Christmas season, is just the pure joy and richness of the repeated themes in the text. It does a wonderful job of connecting God’s work, to our rejoicing and joyful response. I also appreciate it today because it does a good job of capturing my gratitude for our parents, families, loved ones, and friends near and far. We are so blessed by community, and I hope we never take that for granted.

Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice;
now ye need not fear the grave; Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all to gain the everlasting hall.
Christ was born to save! Christ was born to save!

On this fourth day of Christmas, I am looking forward to another day of rejoicing with heart and soul and voice. I look forward to another day with family. May your day, whatever it might entail be another day of joy, peace, and celebration.

_________________________

Credit/Reference: “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice,” text- Latin carol; tr. John Mason Neale; music- German carol; arr. Robert L. Pearsall; found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2006), 288.

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