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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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What Child is This at Christmas?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

One of the most favorite Christmas Carols is William Chatterton Dix’s “What Child is This?” At the age of twenty-nine, Dix was struck with a sudden near-fatal illness and confined to bedrest for several months.  He went into a deep depression. Out of this near-death experience, Dix wrote many hymns, including ‘What Child is This?”.  Written in 1865, Dix made use of powerful word pictures that still speak one hundred and forty-one years later:

What Child is this who, laid to rest

On Mary’s lap is sleeping?

Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,

While shepherds watch are keeping?

What is it about the Christmas story that keeps capturing our hearts year after year?  What child is this?

Why does this baby on Mother Mary’s lap win the attention of billions of people every December?  Why  angels?  Why shepherds?  What child is this?

One of the strangest things about the Christmas story is the birthplace of the Christmas child in a cattle shed.  What kind of place is that to celebrate Christmas?  It wasn’t even sanitary.

 

Why lies He in such mean estate,

Where ox and ass are feeding?

Good Christians, fear, for sinners here

The silent Word is pleading.

 There is something about the Christmas Child that will not go away, that cannot be avoided, that is inescapably part of Canadian culture.

What Child is this anyways?  William Chatterton Dix’s Carol had this response:

This, this is Christ the King,

Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;

Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,

The Babe, the Son of Mary.

What Child is this? Why do wise men still seek him?

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,

Come peasant, king to own Him;

The King of kings salvation brings,

Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

This Christmas, may loving hearts enthrone the Christmas Child.  May loving hearts welcome this Child into  their homes, their lives, their souls.

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

-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.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book 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 we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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.


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Doing Christmas on Purpose

By The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

I love Christmas Carols. Even when I feel dead to everything else about Christmas, Christmas Carols seem to wake me up from within.  Music has an amazing way to slip past even the most hardened heart.

Christmas is one of those traditions that won’t go away, and yet so often seems off kilter.  It so often seems to lack purpose and focus.  The John Grisham movie “Christmas with the Kranks” symbolizes the angst of people swallowed by Christmas-related paraphernalia.  Christmas Carols are ideal for helping us regain focus at Christmas.

Randy Stonehill poignantly sang: “I wonder if this Christmas they’ll begin to understand that the Jesus that they celebrate is much more than a man…”  The first purpose of Christmas is to bring pleasure to God, otherwise called Worship.  That is why at Christmas so many of us love to sing: “O Come let us adore him, Christ the Lord”.  For many years, Christmas to me was just about eating turkey and getting presents.  Being dragged to church on Christmas Eve or even worse Christmas morning seemed like a serious intrusion into an otherwise good festival.  As I have refocused on the real meaning of Christmas,  I hear afresh the Christmas Carol singing: “O Come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, o come ye to Bethehem”.

Year after year, Christmas miraculously brings friends and families back together.  When I was younger, I enjoyed spending Christmas with my grandparents and family, but didn’t fully realize what a wonderful gift this was.  The second purpose of Christmas, I have discovered, is fellowship.  At the heart of lasting fellowship is great food, lots of fun, and deep listening.  God put us here on earth to learn how to love each other.  Christmas is a great time to do that.  Christmas is a time when like shepherds summoned to his cradle, we leave our flocks and then flock together.

I never realized when I was young that Christmas was meant to transform me.  Years later I discovered that all that joy at Christmas had a third purpose: to make me more like Christ, which is Discipleship.  As that great Christmas Carol puts it, “Good Christian men, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice! Now you need not fear the grave: Peace! Peace! Jesus Christ was born to save!”  There is a joy released at Christmas that can radically transform anyone’s life if we will let it.  That is why the Good Book says that the Joy of the Lord is our strength.

Christmas for me as a young person was about getting bigger and better presents.  Years later I have discovered that Christmas is really about giving.  Giving is not just about presents, but mostly about our hearts.  The fourth purpose of Christmas is about serving others, especially the poor.  Good old Scrooge learnt this lesson the hard way at Christmas.  As Good King Wenceslas put it, “Therefore Christian men be sure, wealth and rank possessing, ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.”  We may not like the three wise men have gold, frankincense, and myrrh to give, but when we give from our heart, Christmas becomes real to another hurting person.

When I was younger, I thought that Christmas was about me.  In fact, I have discovered that Christmas is about others.  That is why the fifth purpose of Christmas is “Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere; go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born”.  Christmas is too good to keep it to ourselves.  Christmas is the kind of fun and laughter and joy that everyone needs more of.  Do you know anyone who needs cheering up?  Do you know anyone who has lost direction?  If you do, I encourage you to reach out and bring others this Christmas to a joyful Christmas Eve service near you.

 

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

-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.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book 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 we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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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In the Midst of Christmas….

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

In the midst of multi-coloured Christmas lights on every neighbourhood street, he loves you.  In the midst of Jim Carey’s ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’, he loves you.  In the midst of red-nosed Rudolph and the Christmas elves, he loves you.  In the midst of desperate Ski Hill ‘Prayers for Snow’, he loves you.

In the midst of turkey dinners on a family night, he cares for you.  In the midst of stocked stockings hanging by a roaring fire, he cares for you.  In the midst of frost on a snowy window, he cares for  you.  In the midst of carolers singing at your doorstep, he cares for you.

In the midst of Scout Christmas tree sales, he watches over you.  In the midst of Christmas pageants and winter fests, he watches over you.  In the midst of shopping centre santas and boxing day sales, he watches over you.  In the midst of early-morning presents and sleepless children, he watches over you.

It is so easy to be cynical as Christmas rolls around.  Most of us long to get back to the real meaning of Christmas.  Most of us are tired of the endless commercialization that seems to swallow us every December.  I wonder if Jesus realized how much work and expense would spring from his being born over 2,000 years ago!  My hunch is that he never intended that his annual birthday party on December 25th should become so complicated and wearisome.  The first Christmas ‘away in a manger, no crib for a bed’ was a very simple affair indeed.  Just baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and a few animals for company.

It is impossible to think about Christmas without pictures of angels and shepherds.  Many of us fondly remember dressing up as children in such getups.  Our parents would get out their cameras and make a fuss over us in front of our relatives and neighbours.

Christmas morning was always very exciting.  Waiting for Christmas morning to finally appear seemed to take an eternity.  I remember ripping open the carefully wrapped presents with joyful abandonment.  I remember feasting on the delicious turkey dinners and hot apple pies.  I remember my grandparents gathering around the dining room table, telling curious stories about long-dead relatives.  Each Christmas I went to the 5, 10 and 25 Cent store to buy my grandparents their traditional pencils and socks.

In the midst of mistletoe, tinsel, stuffing, cards, and mince meat pies, I loved Christmas.  But I didn’t love the reason for the season.  In the midst of the world’s most fun birthday party, I forgot to invite the birthday boy.  In the midst of family and togetherness, I forgot about the love that emanates from the Christmas manger.  Jesus, despite my being raised in church, just wasn’t on my ‘radar screen’.  Somehow he didn’t belong in Christmas, despite the fact that even the name Christmas spelled his name.

My prayer this Christmas for those reading this article is that the birthday boy of Christmas will once again be welcome at his own party.

 

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

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/Deep Cove Crier

-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.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book 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 we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

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.