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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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O Little Town of Bethlehem

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, BSW, MDiv, DMin

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

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-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, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, 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’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

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 $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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What is it about Christmas Carolling?

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

When I was fifteen years old, my friends and I went Christmas Carolling door to door to raise money for the Vancouver Sun’s “Stocking Fund”. We were an unlikely bunch to be Christmas Carolling. My best friend was a self-professed atheist from a family of atheists.  My other two friends were Jewish, and I was a lapsed Anglican who skied on Sundays at Mount Seymour. We vigorously sang the Christmas Carols and raised a lot of money. But I for one, never stopped to really listen to the words.

I have always loved Christmas Carols, but I find that year after year, the carols become more special and meaningful to me. I no longer just love the familiar tunes. I love the words as well, and the Christmas message behind it. Webster’s Dictionary defines a carol as

A song of joy, rapture or gladness; as, the carol of birds

A hymn of praise, especially in honour of the Nativity (birth of the baby Jesus).

The word “carol” is derived from the Medieval Latin “chordula” which means a dance to the flute. The word “carol” can be broken into two original Greek words: choros = dance and dulos = flute. I cannot think of a better word to celebrate my joy at the birth of the “Lord of the Dance”.

What are your favourite carols? O Little Town of Bethlehem is a popular one. Other favourites are O Come All Ye Faithful, Away in a Manager, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Good King Wenceslas, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Joy to the World, Silent Night, We Three Kings, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks. Many of us, whether we are active churchgoers or not, can sing a number of these from heart.

My challenge to each of us this Christmas is to listen more carefully to the words as we sing. For example, “O Come All Ye Faithful” encourages us to “O Come Let Us Adore Him, Christ the Lord”. “O Little Town of Bethlehem” has us singing “O Holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today”. “Away in a Manager has us singing “Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay close by me forever, and love me I pray”. And finally the very popular carol “Joy to the World” has us sing “Joy to the World! The Lord has come; let earth receive her King; let every heart prepare Him room.”

My prayer for Christmas  is that as many seekers once again sing their favourite Christmas Carols, the words will jump from the pages into their hearts.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-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, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, 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’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

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 $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Jolly Old St Nicholas

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Ever since Coca-Cola decided to promote Santa Claus as part of their soft drink campaign, Santa or St. Nicholas became a household name in North America. Santa is from the Dutch word for Saint. Claus is again a Dutch contraction for Nicholas.

Do you remember back when John Lennon said that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus Christ? Do you remember the controversy? John, of course, was right. The Beatles were for a while more popular and more central for millions. So too is Santa Claus bigger than the baby Jesus at Christmas. As a young boy, St. Nicholas for me was the heart of Christmas. The fact that my mother insisted on dragging me to church on Christmas seemed to me like a horrible religious intrusion into an otherwise good holiday.

When I was 5 years old, though, I became suspicious when Santa kept appearing at all the different shopping centres. I calculated that no reindeer could fly that fast and be in so many places at once. Once I shared my conclusions with my five year old friends, I was amazed that some of my friends’ mothers were not as excited about my “findings” as I was!

Many years later I was surprised to discover that “yes Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus” History tells us that there was a real, live Santa Claus or St. Nicholas in the country of Turkey during the early 4th Century. St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra. He was a very faithful Christian who endured terrible suffering and imprisonment during the great persecution by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in 303 A.D.

During this time, many church buildings were destroyed, bibles were burnt, and priests were murdered. As a result of his faithful suffering, Nicholas ended up being made Saint, the Patron Saint of sailors, Russia, and children. His symbol became 3 bags of gold, the dowry he was supposed to have given to three girls to save them from embarrassment. That, of course, is the origin of Santa bringing presents at Christmas.

The musician Randy Stonehill wrote in a Christmas song that “I know that if St. Nicholas was here, he would agree that Jesus gave the greatest gift of all to you and me” It is quite clear that the real Santa Claus (Nicholas) loved Jesus very much, and was willing to suffer for his faith. I believe that if Santa Claus were here today, he would say “Don’t just leave Jesus in the Manger. Make room for Him in your heart, not only at Christmas, but all year round”

This Christmas may we all remember the words of that famous carol Oh Little Town of Bethlehem. “O Holy Child of Bethlehem descend to us, we pray. Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today..”

Merry Christmas!

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

-previously published in the North Shore News

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-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, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, 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’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

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 $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca