What Child Is This: Joseph

The lyrics of the famous Christmas carol, "What Child Is This?", were written in 1865 by an Englishman named William Chatterton Dix. The song poses an important question worth pondering: "Who is this baby in the Bethlehem manger?" while working one's way through the various stanzas of the hymn. It is interesting to note the characters mentioned overtly such as the Christ child, His mother Mary, shepherds, angels and even two forms of feeding livestock. While not specifically named, the recognizable actions of the wise men are referenced as the ones who brought their well-known gifts of incense, gold, and myrrh. All the characters normally present in a Nativity display are accounted for except one. Who is missing from the stable scene? Joseph. There is no mention of the man who would help raise the "Son of Mary." The primary man who would love and invest himself in the life of this special child is not mentioned in this classic Christmas song. Even in Scripture only a few of Joseph's actions are recorded during the early years of his relationship with Mary and into Jesus 'early life, and none of Joseph's words remain in print. Only Joseph's actions of obedience, care, and presence are mentioned. But Joseph was present at the manger. He was present before the manger. He was present after the manger. He was present at least up through Jesus' twelfth birthday as recorded in Luke 2:41-52. What child is this? He is a child adopted by a father who loved him. What child is this? The One who makes the way for us to enter in to God's family, too. Worship link: https://youtu.be/NaNq8KlY1lI

Mary

The opening lines to William Chatterton Dix's famous Christmas carol ask a poignant question, "What child is this, who, laid to rest, on Mary's lap is sleeping?" Dix goes on to answer this question in part during the last line of the repeated chorus. This child is "the babe, the son of Mary." The One that the angel said would be conceived by the Holy Spirit is also the son of a very ordinary, very human, young woman. Jesus is not just the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, and the Wonderful Counselor that we sing about and worship at Christmas. Jesus is also the One who walked the same dusty roads that humans walk. He knows real physical pain, real emotional angst, real spiritual need. He has felt the same hunger, knows that same thirst, that we have. God came to earth in Jesus not just to bring a cosmic realignment of all of creation. God came to bring real human comfort and care, to feed our hungry spirits, and to quench our deepest longings. If your Christmas list this year includes wishes for things that can't be wrapped and put under the tree... healing, hope, comfort, community, acceptance... know that the child we worship brings all that and more. What child is this? This is the One who knows you like no other because he has been where you are. Worship Link: https://youtu.be/IphC5qM0xDc

The Wise Men

Words composed by Englishman William Chatterton Dix in 1865 help us consider the annual question posed during the Christmas season: What child is this? Within the lyrics of this famous Christmas carol about the baby Jesus who was born in the manger in Bethlehem, we encounter characters and their actions. Although wise men or magi specifically are not mentioned as characters in the carol, their notifiable actions of worship and generosity lead the lyrics of the third stanza.... "So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh…" The wise men of the original Christmas story studied the stories about, sought after, and eventually found the Christ child. Having found him, they worshiped him and gave him valuable gifts. What are you seeking this Christmas? The perfect gift for your spouse or your children? The most beautiful light display on the block? Or simply a family Christmas without any arguments. Consider joining the wise men in search of the only thing worthy of our worship this season. Video Link: https://youtu.be/-E7K5GGisj4

The Shepherds

In 1865, an Englishman named William Chatterton Dix penned the words to a poem entitled "The Manger Throne." A few years later the first three stanzas of that poem were set to the music of an English traditional folk song called "Greensleeves." That song soon became known as the beloved Christmas carol "What Child Is This?" This combination of poetry and music first was published in the United Kingdom in 1871. For close to a century and a half the question found in the title of this carol has become an annual reminder that something significant happened on that night in Bethlehem as someone special lay wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. This child would change the world forever; but what child is this? In the biblical Christmas story, the shepherds are among the first to learn of the birth of the baby Jesus. During the night the angels visited the shepherds and told them of Jesus' birth. A shepherd's job stretches on day and night without much to break up the monotony. No doubt it is difficult to stay awake through the night to watch for thieves and wolves. But had they been asleep, they would have missed the angels' message and the birth altogether. Staying awake, though, they were able to know about and meet the Christ child. What threatens your experience of Christmas? Will you miss the visit from the divine because you are too busy, too distracted, too stressed, or too tired? Stay awake this season so that you can discover for yourself, "What child is this?" Worship link: https://youtu.be/uTgIZ-bdk0g

Thanksgiving Greetings

For all we are choosing not to do... for all we can't do... the one thing central to this day is one thing we absolutely CAN do... Worship link: https://youtu.be/8z98llm1BWk

Gifted to Serve

Today's Worship Experience Q: Who's the most gifted to serve the Lord? Spoiler Alert: It's You! Worship Link: https://youtu.be/G21WOc1eIhg

Within Us All

God is love. Love is within all of us. Join us in today's worship experience! Worship link: https://youtu.be/mizoXcg4Dro

All Saints Weekend

How do you mark the important events in your life? Post a photo on Facebook so that others can experience it with you? Maybe you like to go old school and print a photo to frame and hang in your home or office. Some take trips to memorable or exotic locations to celebrate milestone events in their lives. Some want a more permanent remembrance such as a piece of jewelry or a tattoo. In the Bible it was common for people to mark important events - especially events where they perceived God to be present and active - with a pile of stones. Stones? Really? Yes, stones. Stones speak to the permanence of God and God's love. On All Saints Sunday we remember and honor those who have been faithful examples of God's presence and love, but have now passed from this world to the next. On All Saints Sunday we remember and celebrate the living stones who have provided a lasting witness to God's goodness in a world that is uncertain and ever-changing. Worship link: Worship link: https://youtu.be/oJOzjxx4Jow

Serve with Love

Life is complicated. Just take a look at your calendar and your to-do list. Appointments and obligations overlap each other. There aren't enough hours in a day or days in a week to accomplish even a portion of the tasks you'd like to (need to?) get done. Work requires more of you than you have to give. Spouses, children, parents and friends all want something from you. Add to everything the strain of living and working in the 'COVID Era,' and life is busy, stressful - and complicated. Your spiritual life doesn't have to be. An encouraging, life-giving, uplifting faith is really very simple. The early church gave us a simple model for a life of faith with Jesus that offers hope and power for living, even in today's complicated world. This simple life of faith includes connecting with God through worship, growing in faith through study and relationship with Jesus, and ultimately showing God's work in us through loving acts of service. It's really very simple - connect, grow, serve to discover and share a life-changing, life-giving faith. Worship link: https://youtu.be/OSk-gyBLmZo

Grow in Faith

As we have been discovering over this three-week series what a "Simple Faith" looks like, we hope you're discovering for yourself how to grow a simple, life-giving, life-changing faith... Worship Link: https://youtu.be/6i6_kzeujDg

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