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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit

O Little Town of Bethlehem

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By The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

I will always remember my ‘star’ Christmas performance back in kindergarten days.  There I was dressed up as a Christmas shepherd, with my staff, bedrobe, and head-scarf.  I was so excited about being a shepherd that I forgot where I was supposed to meet the rest of the cast.  So I sat down at the front of the stage and waited for them to find me.  Unfortunately that lost kindergarten shepherd was never found, until the whole pageant was over.  I was most disappointed, and ‘vowed’ that day to never become a famous Hollywood actor.

 

Almost 2,000 years ago in the little town of Bethlehem (not Bellingham, as we’d often sing as children), a little shepherd baby was born in a filthy cow barn.  Many shepherds were drawn to admire this tiny little child, little knowing that this baby would one day become a Good Shepherd for many.  Years later, this christmas baby-turned-thirty said: “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep”.

It is amazing how much that Christmas Carols speak to the hearts of adults and children alike.  Those of us living on the North Shore are well aware of the remarkable popularity of the Carol Ships travelling past Deep Cove and Cates Park year after year.

 

Carols have a certain poetry, romance, and mystery that draws us unfailingly year after year. When we sing: “Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go by”, we almost feel like we were there when the Christmas Star first shone bright.  Christmas Carols teach truth, but in a subtle way that feels entirely natural.  In singing “Yet in thy dark street shineth the everlasting Light”, we are reminded that there is a battle between good and evil, light and darkness, but that Light is always more powerful than darkness.  No wonder the Christmas baby later called himself the Light of the World.  He also said that whoever followed him will never walk in darkness, but have the light of life.

No wonder we love to sing: “The hopes and fear of all the years are met in thee tonight.”  There is something about the Christmas baby that inspires hope and banishes fear, no matter how cynical or jaded we tend to be.  Many Christmas Carols have a beautiful sense of stillness and quiet about them.  There is so little quiet and stillness left in our fast-paced, frenetic culture.  Maybe that is why we are drawn to sing: “How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given!  So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven.”  All of us need more inner peace, more shalom in our lives.  All of us need the stillness and tranquillity of the Christmas baby, known in Hebrew as Yeshua.

The deepest truths of Christmas go far beyond the beautiful tree, the tasty turkey, the colourful lights.  The deepest truths are invisible and silent, but still very powerful and real.  That is why we sing that “no ear may hear his coming.” Just like with the love between a man and wife, the most important things in life can’t be scientifically measured or technologically formulated.  Christmas is a mystery that defies all logical attempts to explain it away.  Christmas is the miracle of new birth, not only 2,000 years ago, but also potentially in our hearts.  That is why so many of us never tire of singing: “Where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.”

My Christmas prayer for those reading this article is that many may discover afresh the joy of the inner meaning of Christmas Caroling.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector, BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide

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Author: edhird

I am the Rector of St. Simon's Church North Vancouver, B.C., having served there since 1987. Ordained in 1980, I have also served at St. Philip's Vancouver and St. Matthew's Abbotsford. My wife Janice and I have three sons James, Mark, and Andrew. I was the Past President and Chaplain for Alpha Canada. While serving as the National Chair for Anglican Renewal Ministries of Canada, I was one of three co-signers of the Montreal Declaration of Anglican Essentials http://www3.telus.net/st_simons/arm05.htm For the past 26 years, I have been privileged to write over 400 articles as a columnist on spiritual issues for local North Vancouver newspapers. In the last number of years, I have had the opportunity to lead conferences and retreats in Honduras, Rwanda, Washington State, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and Toronto. My new sequel Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit, with a foreword by Dr JI Packer, is online with Amazon.com in both paperback http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/097820221X/ref=redir_mdp_mobile and ebook form http://tiny.cc/tanhmx . In Canada, Amazon.ca has it available in paperback http://tiny.cc/dknhmx and ebook http://tiny.cc/wmhmmx . It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook). Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form. Nook gives a sample of the book to read online: http://tiny.cc/vj3bmx . Indigo also offers the Kobo ebook version: http://tiny.cc/kreonx . You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook: http://tiny.cc/1ukiox The book 'Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit' focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus' healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how North Americans can embrace a holistically healthy life. In order to obtain a copy of the prequel book 'Battle for the Soul of Canada', please send a $18.50 cheque to 'Ed Hird', #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. For more info, please click on www3.telus.net/st_simons/nsnews030.html

3 thoughts on “O Little Town of Bethlehem

  1. Pingback: Reynolds Farm Equipment Christmas Lights Display

  2. Yeshua has fulfilled Isaiah 53.

    Like

  3. Reblogged this on Edhird's Blog and commented:

    Did you ever take part in a Christmas pageant? What was it like for you?

    Like

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