Christmas Carols

#Jesus, #inspiration, ChristmasOne of my favourite parts of Christmas celebrations is the carols sung. Did you ever stop to think that the song the angels sang the night Jesus was born would have been the very first Christmas carol?

I knew that the tradition of singing Christmas carols was centuries old, but never really thought about the fact that when we sing carols at Christmas, we are carrying on with a tradition of praise that started the day that Jesus Christ was born. No wonder these songs that we only hear for a short period of time every year hold such a special place in our hearts and memories.

How many of you have a favourite Christmas carol? I have several. I enjoy the traditional songs Oh Little Town of Bethlehem; Silent Night; While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night; and Joy to the World, because they tell the story of that night in a manner that all can relate to.

My heart soars as I picture the angels singing when they announced the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps that’s why “Angels From the Realms of Glory” is also a favourite. The very words take me back to that starry night.

Christmas carols were one of the ways of getting the story of Jesus birth to the common folk in days gone by. These people didn’t have the means to learn to read – or even to own a book if they could read. In order for the church leaders to get the Christmas story to these people, they had to find methods other than the written word. One of these was to write songs or Christmas carols.

So, when you hear Christmas carols this season, think of the deep meaning behind the words.

“At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.” (Luke 2:13,14 MSG)

How Do You Use Your Chopsticks?

#inspiration, lesson, feed your neighbourMany years ago my mother told me a story that came from Korea. This story has been on my mind so I’m sharing it with you.

Once upon a time a man set out to find a place where, he’d been told, lived the happiest people in the world.” When he came to the gates of a large city, he was met by a guide who took him to a house bearing the name “The House of Happiness.”

Just before they knocked at the door the guide asked if the man would like to first visit a house on the opposite side of the street. They went across. This house had a sign over the doorway which said, “The House of Sorrow.” Inside there was a large room, with a table running down the middle, loaded with food of every description. Around the table sat some very sad, hungry-looking people.

“Can’t they eat?” the man asked.

“Oh yes,” replied his guide, “But our custom forbids that anyone should pick up food with his hands, so everyone who arrives is given a pair of chopsticks. Even then it isn’t easy, for, as you can see, these chopsticks are five feet long. In fact, the people you see here are hungry and sad because they are not able to get the food to their mouths with such long chopsticks.”

The man and his guide went away, crossed the road, and entered the other house – “The House of Happiness.” Inside was a similar room, with a table down the center, laden with food. The people sitting around it looked well fed and happy. The man noticed that they, too, had 5 foot long chopsticks.

“How is it,” he asked the guide, “that these people have managed to feed themselves?”

The guide explained. “These people are well fed because they use their own chopsticks to feed their neighbour. So each feed the other, and all are satisfied.”

This simple story still resounds with me because of the lessons it presents. I can picture the people who did and didn’t use their chopsticks well. Will I be selfish or do what I can to help others? The quality of my life depends on how I use my chopsticks.