Heavenly Angels Sing

A king is born today,
within a stable full of straw—
This baby in a manger lay,
is what the shepherds saw.

He came to earth to breathe as man,
to live, to die for us all—
This was God’s own plan,
what shall I bring the Father’s son?

Worship in humble adoration,
to this child our offering bring—
Praise, love, faith and hope,
heavenly angels sing.

© Chrissy Siggee

Archived in: Christian Reads

Shepherds

Luke 2:8-20 says: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”

At the time of Jesus birth, people who attended sheep were considered one of the least significant of the human race by other people. They lived quiet and humble lives, often spending their days and nights with their flocks. The sheep that they tended were probably bred as sacrifice animals for the temple in near-by Jerusalem. These shepherds were just doing their usual job when the angels appeared before them.

I think I would be shaking in my sandals too. The news the angel gave the shepherds would have surprised them too. Babies would have been plentiful during the census and specific descriptions were to help the shepherds find Jesus among the crowded town.

When they went down into Bethlehem, they found Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. They worshipped the newborn king before returning to their flocks glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen. It had been just as the angel had told them.

I can imagine the shepherds telling their friends and families for weeks after the event. This incident would have made a significant change in their tedious lives. History tells how shepherds had become accepted and probably even admired by many.

Jesus refers to himself as the “good Shepherd”.

John 10:11 tells us, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
John 10:14 says: “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”

The next time you sing the Christmas carol While Shepherds watched Their Flocks by Night, take notice of the words and remember their significant place in the Christmas Story.

Father, thank you for sending your son to earth as a small baby. Thank you that lowly shepherds were among the first to greet Jesus and for the reminder of the significance of the birth. We praise you, just as the angels and shepherds did on that night so long ago. Amen.

© Chrissy Siggee 

First Published 2014

Scripture Verses used are from the King James Version of the Bible

 

Shine – Like the Christmas Star

Matthew 5:16 says: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Christmas is approaching fast and stores are filled with decorations and gifts for all ages. Christmas trees, real and fake, dazzle us with lights and baubles. Let’s face it; it gives us all a feeling of excitement that Christmas is just around the corner.

Celebrations of the birth of Christ may vary from family to family, from church to church and from tradition to tradition. In reality it doesn’t matter how we celebrate as long as the true message of Christmas is our main focus.

As a child, my favourite Christmas decoration was the Christmas Star. We placed the star on the top of our tree year after year. One Christmas, we visited cousins who used a fairy. A star was nowhere to be seen. As a nine-year-old at that time I could not comprehend how a fairy could replace the precious tree-topper. Later in life when I had my own family the idea of a fairy tree-topper never entered my mind. Our own children were brought up knowing the true meaning of Christmas: The birth of Jesus. The brightness of that Christmas star reflected the announcement of royalty birth, Jesus—the light of the world and guided the shepherds and the wise men to Jesus.

In the same way, our hearts need to reflect the love of Jesus who resides in us. Our lives need to reveal the light that burns just like the Christmas Star. We can let our light so shine before men—and our families who don’t always see eye-to-eye of what Christmas is about. Live as Jesus would live. Speak as Jesus would speak; with love in our hearts that shine like the Christmas Star that can lead others to Jesus.

Let’s show love and grace to those who see things differently to us this Christmas. Let your light shine so we glorify your Father, which is in heaven.

Father, let our light shine from within that we may lead others to Jesus and let the true message of Christmas be seen by your love within us. Amen

© Chrissy Siggee

Scripture Verses used are from the New International version of the Bible.

Archived in: Christian Reads

Fifteen Tarnished Christmas Bells

David took a deep breath. The musty smells of the old town hall made his nose itch. This place still reminded him of community gatherings, nativity plays and combined Easter services. An old plastic Christmas tree leaned against the wall; bent over and covered in cobwebs. He pushed aside the sagging stage curtain and touched one of the fifteen tarnished Christmas bells which hung in a neat row. He closed his eyes and tried to recall the familiar sounds. All he heard was the squeak of the front door.

‘Mrs Jessop, good to see you. What’s it been…?’

‘Twelve months’, she groaned. The old woman placed her scarf and handbag on a nearby table. ‘Where is everyone? I want to be home early tonight.’

‘Well, Teresa married in January and moved to the coast. Donald won’t be here… you knew his wife died from cancer a few weeks ago?’

‘Yes, I read the funeral notice in the obituaries but I was too busy to go.’

David was about to continue when a soprano rendition of Hark the Herald Angels Sing echoed in the empty hall. He turned toward the door and laughed as his star performer approached. The girl’s chubby face reflected enthusiasm which oozed from her.

‘Meredith, you look um… colourful… as usual.’ He stepped back and gazed at her peculiar outfit.

Mrs Jessop stood with her hands on her hips. Her head moved slowly from side to side. ‘I hope we’re not dressing in florescent angel costumes this year to sing Angels in the Realms of Glory.’

Meredith giggled. ‘It’s been a fabulous year David. I earned an art scholarship in London.’ Her eyes sparkled. ‘I have always wanted to work in London. Perhaps this will be my big chance.’

The side door swung open and a middle-aged woman entered as she spoke. ‘David, I can’t believe it’s that time of year again.’ She smiled and offered a hug. ‘John won’t be coming. He’s still away at army training.’

Mrs Jessop frowned. ‘Well, well. That was a bit inconsiderate of your son, Joan. He could have at least waited until after caroling season before he joined the Army.’ With another shake of her head she slumped heavily into a chair.

Almost simultaneously, two other choir members burst into the hall through the front and side entries. The commotion rose with reminiscing and laughter which now seem to brighten the dreary hall.

David glanced at his watch and whistled. ‘Okay everyone, you know the routine. We’ll have three practices before we start caroling. Let’s begin tonight with Meredith’s choice, Hark the Herald Angels Sing.’ He paused as the choir members took their places in a curved line, shuffling closer to fill gaps where others had once stood. David cleared his throat. ‘It’s sad to think that if we go on like this, within a few years our town’s caroling group will no longer exist.’

Smiles disappeared and expressions became solemn. Whispers betrayed their thoughts.

Joan, one of the older group members, broke the quiet chatter. ‘Oh please, don’t say that David.’

He straightened and coughed. ‘Well let’s not spoil our practice. Maybe we can have a meeting some time and do some recruiting for next year.’

Mrs Jessop made a throaty gruff noise. ‘Oh, but we can’t have strangers singing carols with us.’

‘Why not?’ Meredith’s face flushed.

‘Well… because…’

David tapped his baton on his music stand. ‘Twelve years ago, we began with fifteen carollers. We all knew each other like family and regardless of which church we attended, we visited each other during the year. We shared each other’s joys and sorrows.’ He sighed heavily. ‘When was the last time we commenced our annual caroling practice with a party… or polished our bells?’

Meredith sat on the floor and crossed her legs; her head in her hands. The line dispersed. Joan’s husband Rolf, brought a chair over so Joan could sit.

‘So, it’s come to this?’ Mrs Jessop sighed.

The hall grew silent. The only sound was the occasional creaking of the rafters and the wood-rotted door rattling with the slightest breeze.

‘I still want to sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing’, Meredith whispered.

David tapped his baton again. ‘OK, let’s sing our best this year. We’ll polish our bells and let the whole town know that we want caroling to continue. Let’s announce the birth of Jesus like we haven’t done before.’

A gentle white snow began to fall outside and the words Hark the Herald Angels Sing echoed in the old town hall and throughout their little town.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in: Christian Reads

What Does Christmas Mean To You?

Jubilance radiates tranquil moments,
Young lovers pursue tender embraces–
Neighbourhood children join in games
Sweet aromas saturate festive appetites
Families share in united harmony.

Midnight services fill the churches,
Choirs sing in joyous proclamation–
Nativity scenes and dramas unfold,
Ascended praises announce His birth
Jesus Christ, Saviour and Lord.

Silence falls before the dawn,
Christmas excitement awakes the birds–
Gifts exchanged and children squeal,
Doorbells ring of kith and kin
Celebrations unfold with festive feast.

Church bells echo through the town,
God’s people gather near and far –
Scripture is read of our Saviour’s birth,
Mankind raise their voices with carols sung,
Christians celebrate the birth of Christ.

© Chrissy Siggee

 

It’s That Special Time of the Year

Giggles, Christmas trees and sweets,
Holly wreaths and jingle bells—
It’s that special time of the year.

Gift shopping, carols and holly,
We wander through decorated stores—
It’s that special time of the year.

Granny smiles and Poppy winks,
Sharing secrets and candy canes—
It’s that special time of the year.

Garland hanging on the door,
Wishing festive Christmas cheer—
It’s that special time of the year.

Greeting cards to choose and mail,
Sending wishes to someone dear—
It’s that special time of the year.

Good times remembered and shared,
Missing loved ones no longer here—
It’s that special time of the year.

God’s son, Jesus birth remembered,
Nativity scenes and Christmas plays—
It’s that special time of the year.

Glory to the new born king,
Remembering the reason—
It’s that special time of the year.

© Chrissy Siggee

 

Archived in: Christian Reads

The Christmas Star

It twinkles high above the earth
Once glistened on a royal birth—
Encircled by an angel’s choir
Proclaiming God’s desire.

Shepherds feared that dazzling light
Attending their sheep that holy night
It lured wise men from afar—
Vowed to follow this shining star.

Jesus was born in a cattle stall
Found wrapped in a shabby shawl
Beneath a clear night sky—
His mother Mary sits nearby.

No matter where we are
You can see the Christmas star—
Look within your heart He called,
It’s the brightest star of all.

© Chrissy Siggee

Archived in:  Christian Reads

A Cradle Fit for Royalty

Luke 2:15-16 says: “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.”

I’ve often heard of women not making it in time to a hospital to give birth. Even a well-prepared home birth can be messed up if the expecting mother is caught across town in the supermarket. Taxi births are common, so are babies born in elevators. But what would be more degrading for a mother in the modern world than to give birth in a tiny barn full of smelly animals?

It’s true that the birth itself is often quickly forgotten when the joy of holding your newborn baby in your arms follows. Your baby is the most beautiful princess, or little prince, you have ever laid eyes on. It’s then time to show your precious new family member the nursery that you have so lovingly put together during the months of waiting. The cradle that took you forever to choose, and don’t forget the bunny rugs.

But wait a moment! I don’t remember reading that part in the Christmas story. The shepherds found the baby lying in a manger. A manger is kept in a stable. It’s used as the feeding trough for donkeys and milking cows! There would probably even be hens and a goat or two sharing the small space around the manger. Here is where the King of the Jews was sleeping. And, sitting close by with watchful eyes, were Mary and Joseph; a humble pair who had traveled many miles to find no room in the inn.

This cradle was made for royalty. Jesus was born in a manger because He was, and is, and will always be “Lord of Lords and King of Kings”.

This same Jesus was found by the shepherds wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger—a cradle made for royalty.

Father, thank you for sending your son to earth. Help me never to forget the wonder of that first Christmas morning when the King of Kings came as a humble baby who was given by you to be called Jesus our Saviour. Amen

© Chrissy Siggee

Scripture Verses used are from the King James Version of the Bible

Archived in: 🦋 Christian Reads

Forester’s Assignment

All eyes followed the smartly dressed young woman marching between the rows. Her head moved from side to side inspecting the finest of specimens. She stopped occasionally for a closer assessment.

‘Stand straight Forester’, the commander yelled. ‘What happened to you anyway?’

Forester leaned back as far as his twisted limbs could take the strain. ‘Sir, I…’

‘Hush son. You’re a disgrace to the ranks.’

Forester watched farmer Stanley as he followed the woman who had turned into his row. Their conversation grew louder.

‘What kind of tree are you looking for? They all look the same to me.’

‘I need something… different.’

She stopped suddenly and pointed. ‘That one! It’s perfect.’

Staring forward, Forester focused on the woman’s jacket which blocked his view of the commander.

Stanley was scratching his head. ‘Why would anyone want a Christmas tree that looks like this? It’s just a mangled mess. It’s stunted and undeveloped.’ He ran his calloused hands over the branches.

A fearful Forester tried to keep still.

‘There’s too much space between these limbs’ Stanley pointed. ‘There’s more on one side than the other. It’s worthless.’

‘Nevertheless, it’s the one I want.’

‘OK, Ma’am, but I’m not going to charge you. I don’t want you coming back for a refund or giving my plantation a bad name.’

Stanley removed his axe from its belt that hung loosely under his protruding belly.

‘Where are you going to put this…thing? There has to be a reason for choosing such a pathetic looking tree for Christmas.’

‘It’s was my son Sam’s idea.’ She took a deep breath then exhaled slowly. ‘Sam’s a paraplegic. He fell from his horse a few years back. He spends a lot of time in the children’s hospital and since I have to work over Christmas, well we have to make the most of it. I’ll be the paediatrician on call over Christmas.’

Stanley smiled. ‘A doctor, aye?’

‘Yes, Dr Anne Shepherd. Anne, please.’

She accepted his out-stretched callused hand before continuing in a more subdued manner. ‘Sam’s father is in the army and has been serving in Iraq but he expects to be home for Christmas. Anyway, Christmas with the children is going to be the only way we’ll spend any time together.’

Stanley was staring at the woman for a few moments before he shifted his attention back to the narrow trunk and lifted the axe.

With one crack Forester fell sideways and looked up at his commander. ‘Sorry Sir.’

The commander glanced momentarily at his fallen comrade. ‘It’s all right Forrester. I think you may be worthy of this important assignment after all. Do us proud.’

‘Yes Sir’, Forester replied as he swayed back and forth in Stanley’s hand.

Stanley walked behind Anne to where she had parked her vehicle. There he waited while she opened the rear door.

‘Sam, I found one.’

‘Cool! Let me see.’

Hanging almost upside down, Forester appreciated Stanley’s strong grip and watched Anne climb into the back of the modified van. Anne pulled a small lever at the base of the boy’s seat and turned it around.

Forester became suddenly dizzy and almost lost his bearings when Stanley unexpectedly flipped him upright.

‘Here it is’, Stanley called.

‘WOW! It’s perfect Mum.’

Forester blinked and opened his eyes wide so he could see clearly a child who sat in a strange chair with big wheels. The boy was smiling broadly and Forester realized it was he, Forester, who Sam was so excited to see. Forester felt six feet tall.

‘Thanks Mum. Thanks Mister.’

‘You can place the tree here beside the wheelchair in a moment’, Anne told Stanley. She turned Sam’s chair back into place and secured it before climbing back out through the rear exit. ‘Thank you, we appreciate your kindness.’

‘It’s my pleasure Ma’am and you have a great Christmas Sam.’

Resting beside Sam’s chair, Forester was overwhelmed by the excitement that had glowed in the boy’s face. Forrester didn’t even flinch when the door closed and latched.

‘Come on Mum! We need to get to the hospital so the kids can decorate it. It’s going to be a neat Christmas and with Dad home, everything will be perfect.’

Forrester heard the front door open and close. Anne’s sweet response and cheerful laughter sounded beautiful. When the engine started, he felt Sam’s fingers wrap around his feeble trunk. He shivered with pride. His assignment had begun.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in:
Children’s Corner by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Jesus, Hope to the world.

Psalm 72:12-13 For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death.”

Colossians 1:27 “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

It’s sad to think that for many people Christmas means nothing more than parties, decorations, holidays and time off work. I see more to this time of year; it’s a blessed reminder of the birth of Jesus Christ. My hope is founded in this baby; a baby that was born to save mankind. My hope in him is real.

In reality though, it’s difficult for many people to find hope. We live in a misplaced world of social injustice, crime, poverty, homelessness, unemployment, disease, pain and loneliness. Jesus means hope to all mankind, but we have to grasp the promises of God and take them to the world – whether it be across the road or a across the ocean.

When you find Jesus, you find hope, and there’s no false hope in Jesus. It’s not a fanciful fairy tale wishing for a happy ending. We as Christians need to spread hope; not just by preaching The Word but by doing The Word. Millions of people do not even know Christmas is just around the corner, or what the fuss is about. Many people don’t know where their next meal will come from, and wouldn’t know what turkey and Christmas pudding is. They don’t see any hope. They see nothing but despair…

As Christians, we are supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus. As His hands and feet, we are to serve Him by serving others. Christmas is a renewal of hope. It reconfirms for us the revelation that Jesus is the reason for this season. It was settled long ago, so we don’t have to doubt. Jesus is the fulfillment of our hope; our deepest longings come true.

Lord, let your hope and joy radiate through us. Help us to embrace the hope we have in you and share it with those less fortunate than ourselves, whether it be spiritually, emotionally or by using our hands and feet for your glory. Amen.

© Chrissy Siggee

Scripture Verses used are from the New International Version of the Bible

Archived in: Christian Reads

Don’t Waste Those Christmas Cards

We sing our Christmas carols
and pray our saintly prayers—
We decorate our Christmas trees
and share our Christmas cheer.

We are tempted to dispute,
a waste on Christmas cards—
Buy a ten-for-a-dollar pack
and write some worthless words.

Do we ever take the time
to choose a better card?
Do we really want a Santa
who drives a flying sleigh?

There’s something more to Christmas
than dashing through the snow—
A message of the new-born King,
is what I want to see.

Scenes of Mary and her child
with shepherds kneeling near—
Angels in the realms of glory,
announcing Jesus’ birth.

Do you see the Christmas star
reflect against the sky?
Those tiny specks of glitter dust
bring gladness to my heart.

Treasures of the Saviour’s birth
displayed upon each card—
To decorate our mantle shelf
and hung in every room.

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh
three very special gifts—
Each to honour the new-born King,
asleep within a stable.

I want to share the joy I feel,
with every card like this—
Each one affirms our Father’s gift
and hope to all mankind.

So precious is our Savour’s birth,
we need to spread the news—
It’s time we took a stand
and share Him with the world.

Take some time to choose a card
it’s really not that hard—
Perhaps you could design your own,
but make it from your heart.

Come; let’s rejoice in His birth,
spread the news, Christ is born—
Choose a card that declares the truth;
don’t waste those Christmas cards.

© Chrissy Siggee

Archived in: 🦋 Christian Reads

Mary

Luke 1:26-28 says “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”

The New Testament begins its account of Mary’s life with the visit of Gabriel the angel who was sent by God as His messenger. The Lord God himself selected Mary to be the mother of Jesus. The Bible records Mary’s role in key events of the life of Jesus from his virgin birth to his crucifixion.

Christians acknowledge Mary as “blessed among women” (Luke 1:42) but we do not all agree that Mary is to be venerated. She is considered to be an outstanding example of a life dedicated to God.

Luke 1:38 says “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”

Mary used the word “handmaid” which is usually translated as “bond-servant” or “slave”, which refers to someone whose will is consumed by the will of another—in this case Mary’s will is consumed by God’s. From this I see her attitude being parallel with what John the Baptist said in John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease” (KJV) or, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (NIV).

Whichever argument you choose, or doctrine you follow, Mary had to have been one special lady for God to choose her to be the mother of Jesus. She was a handmaiden of the Lord.

This Christmas let us remember that we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ who came to earth as a human child. It was Jesus who died for our sake and put our sins upon himself. He is the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.

He was born of Mary—a servant of the Lord.

© Chrissy Siggee

Scripture Verses used are from the King James version of the Bible unless otherwise stated.

Archived in: Christian Reads

A Summertime Christmas

I see a lot of winter Christmas posts and they’re all wonderful but I thought some photos of a summer Christmas needs to be shared.

It’s our 2nd Christmas at our new home but because we only moved in a few weeks before Christmas last year we didn’t decorate much.
Simple decorations in a little house can look good too.
Poinsettias are common here too.
Outdoors is where you will find us most days.

Archived in: Retirement

Live Long and Prosper

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (King James Version)

This is one of our favourite verses in the entire Bible. You may have noticed we have used the KJV of this verse above and although Norm and I use the New International Version for our every day use, this verse doesn’t work for us in the NIV.

This is how it’s written in the NIV: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Do you see the difference? Does it contradict? Does it make you feel better as a person reading the NIV version of this verse? Does it make you think you’ll be wealthy?

After discussing this, we decided that it’s more likely that the author of Jeremiah meant this for the Jewish nation as a whole; to grow stronger or to flourish. We read in the Bible that this promise was fulfilled. That is: those in exile returned, and the nation of Israel was restored for a time. God made a promise through the prophets, and that promise came true.

Our God is the God of salvation. He wants to redeem people and put them on a path of wholeness, just as He wanted the nation of Israel to be redeemed and to be whole again. He really wanted them to thrive and flourish.

As any fan of Star Trek knows, to “live long and prosper” is good advice.

Have a very happy and prosperous New Year.

© Chrissy & Norm Siggee

Resources:
Origin: 1425–75; late Middle English prosperen < Latin prosperāre to make happy, derivative of prosperus translated as prosperous
https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/live-long-and-prosper.html
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/prosper

Archived in
Christian Reads by Chrissy at Riverside Peace