Posts belonging to Category Christmas



The Christmas Spirit

Are you getting into the Christmas spirit yet? Here is a great quote from J. I. Packer on the true spirit of Christmas.

“The Christmas spirit is the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor–spending and being spent– to enrich their fellow men, giving time, trouble, care, and concern, to do good to others–and not just their own friends–in whatever way there seems need. There are not as many who show this spirit as there should be.” (J. I. Packer, Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus, p. 72.)

Click here for more Christmas posts.

Recommended Gifts and Resources for Christmas:
     

Free Christmas Kindle Books – 12/1/2010


Privacy

Welcome to December and four free Christmas Kindle books from Amazon! Grab them quick before they go back to full price!

Note: Amazon’s free book offers are temporary and usually end quickly. Check back often or subscribe by email or feed reader so that you don’t miss any future offers.

Related posts:
    • The Bible Memory Version for the Kindle
    • Top 10 Kindle Features
    • Amazon Kindle’s Most Popular Bible Highlights

(Note: For ebook and audiobook conversions, see Fowler Digital Services.)

Recommended Gifts and Resources for Christmas:
     

Operation Narnia – New Partnership with Samaritan’s Purse

As a big Narnia fan and a fan of Samaritan’s Purse/Operation Christmas Child, I think this partnership is a great idea.

Operation Narnia (Video length: 1:06)

Operation Narnia is a partnership with the Samaritan’s Purse program, Operation Christmas Child, to bring the joy of Christmas to kids all over the world! This is the perfect opportunity for your family and friends to spread cheer and hope to needy boys and girls in over 130 countries. With your help, our goal is to deliver more than 8 million shoe boxes, filled with items that will be meaningful to a child – toys, stuffed animals, school supplies, hard candy, and hygiene items. These boxes are then delivered to local collection centers around the country and shipped in time for the Christmas season.

Let me encourage you to participate in this wonderful program for kids all around the world this year. You could also talk to your pastor about getting your whole church involved.

Click here for Narnia products at Amazon.
Click here for more Narnia related posts.

Fowler Family Christmas Project

Fowler Christmas Photo

Here is a recording project our whole family worked on together over the Christmas vacation. Don’t let the piano intro fool you. The actual song kicks in after about 20 seconds. Enjoy!

Angels
[audio:Wind_Angels.mp3]

    – Recorded and produced by Sam Fowler
    – Arranged by Sam and Rose Fowler
    – Lead vocal by Rose Fowler
    – Guitars by Sam Fowler
    – Piano by Ramón Fowler
    – Percussion by Timothy Fowler
    – Background vocals by Rose and Ray Fowler

So, what did you do over your Christmas vacation?

Related posts:
    • A Very Merry Guitar Christmas from Sam Fowler
    • Guess the Famous Christmas Trees

Merry Christmas 2008!

The reason for the season:

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)

Merry Christmas!

What If the Wise Men Were Women?

What if, instead of God sending three wise men at our Savior’s birth, He had sent three wise women?

  1. They would have stopped to ask for directions.
  2. They would have been on time.
  3. They would have prepared the stable.
  4. They would have helped deliver the baby.
  5. They would have made a casserole.
  6. And they would have brought diapers as a gift rather than perfume.

HT: Pastor’s Weekly Briefing

Recommended Gifts and Resources for Christmas:
     

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A Christmas Quote from John Donne

Here is a Christmas quote from John Donne, one of my favorite poets (along with a bit of a mystery below). These were the opening sentences of a sermon Donne preached on Luke 2:29-30 at St. Paul’s on Christmas Day in 1626.

The whole life of Christ was a continual passion; others die martyrs, but Christ was born a martyr. He found a Golgotha (where he was crucified) even in Bethlehem, where he was born; for, to his tenderness then, the straws were almost as sharp as the thorns after; and the manger as uneasy at first, as his cross at last. His birth and his death were but one continual act, and his Christmas Day and his Good Friday are but the evening and morning of one and the same day.” (John Donne, “Sermon Number 11. Preached at St. Pauls upon Christmas Day. 1626.” The Sermons of John Donne, edited by Evelyn M. Simpson and George R. Potter [Berkeley: University of California Press, 1962], Volume 7, p. 279.)

Note: I have noticed the following lines attached to this quote online and elsewhere:

“From the creche to the cross is an inseparable line. Christmas only points forward to Good Friday and Easter. It can have no meaning apart from that, where the Son of God displayed his glory by his death.”

These are good lines, but they should not be attributed to Donne. I cross-checked Donne’s sermon in both the Simpson/Potter work cited above, as well as in Alford. (The Works of John Donne; by John Donne, Henry Alford; pp. 57-58) The additional lines do not show up in either work.

As far as I can tell, the lines were first attached to the quote in Joseph Skip Ryan’s book, That You May Believe (p. 50). Ryan credits The Book of Uncommon Prayer, edited by Constance Pollock and Daniel Pollock. The quote from Donne appears in Pollock’s book under the title, Epiphany (p. 49), but it does not have the added lines.

More recently, Ryan’s chapter was picked up in Nancy Guthrie’s new advent book, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, where the full quote including the additional lines are reproduced (pp. 20-21). This is an excellent book which is getting a lot of well-deserved attention, and most of the quotes popping up online with the additional lines reference Guthrie’s book.

So, where did these mysterious lines come from, and how did they get attached to Donne’s quote? I am guessing the additional lines were probably written by Ryan and were meant to follow Donne’s quote as commentary, but were mistakenly included within the quotation marks instead. If anyone can shed further light on this, I would be interested to know.

Recommended Gifts and Resources for Christmas:
     

Related post:  7 Great Books to Read at Christmas

Favorite Christmas CDs – Number 1

I am sharing sound clips from my five favorite Christmas CDs this week. And now, let’s have a drum roll please for number one …

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS CD #1:

Kathy Mattea; Good News

Good News: Kathy Mattea Song list: 1. What a Wonderful Beginning; 2. There’s a New Kid in Town; 3. Brightest and Best (Star of the East); 4. Mary, Did You Know?; 5. The Star; 6. Emmanuel; 7. Somebody Talkin’ About Jesus; 8. Nothing But a Child; 9. Christ Child’s Lullaby;
10. Good News
 
 
 
 

Why is this my all-time favorite Christmas CD? Kathy’s voice soars on these songs with deep conviction and emotion. She sings what for me is the definitive version of “Mary Did You Know.” There is a good blend of musical styles from ballads, to classical, to gospel, to folk. There is acoustic guitar! But most of all, this is an album that meditates deeply on the incarnation of Christ as found in Scripture and draws me into worship. What can I say? It’s the best! Here are some sound clips:

What a Wonderful Beginning
[audio:KathyMattea_WhataWonderfulBeginning_sample.mp3]

Mary Did You Know?
[audio:KathyMattea_MaryDidYouKnow_sample.mp3]

Somebody Talkin’ About Jesus
[audio:KathyMattea_SomebodyTalkin_AboutJesus_sample.mp3]

Good News
[audio:KathyMattea_GoodNews_sample.mp3]

Well, that’s the end of my Christmas CD series. If you missed any, feel free to browse back to the earlier posts to check them out. And now that I’ve shared my favorites with you, let’s hear your favorite Christmas CDs in the comments.

Other posts in the series:
    Number 5: Shawn Colvin; Holiday Songs and Lullabies
    Number 4: Harvey Reid; The Heart of the Minstrel on Christmas Day
    Number 3: Amy Grant; Home for Christmas
    Number 2: Bruce Cockburn; Christmas
    Number 1: Kathy Mattea; Good News

Favorite Christmas CDs – Number 2

I am sharing sound clips from my five favorite Christmas CDs this week. Today is number two.

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS CD #2:

Bruce Cockburn; Christmas

Christmas: Bruce Cockburn Song list: 1. Adeste Fidelis; 2. Early on One Christmas Morn; 3. O Little Town of Bethlehem; 4. Riu, Riu, Chiu; 5. I Saw Three Ships; 6. Down in Yon Forest; 7. Anges Dans Nos Campagnes; 8. Go Tell It on the Mountain; 9. Shepheards; 10. Silent Night; 11. Jesus Ahatonnia; 12. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen; 13. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear; 14. Mary Had a Baby; 15. Joy to the World
 

Canadian Bruce Cockburn is my favorite singer / songwriter / guitarist, and I love what he has done with this Christmas CD. He takes familiar Christmas carols and sings them as simple songs. He digs deep into the past to find lesser known Christmas carols to share. He seeks to be faithful to the cultural roots of the songs. He mixes rollickin’ celebratory tunes with more reflective ones. He adds an original carol of his own. He communicates the true meaning of Christmas by focusing on Christ. And he does it all with his bright acoustic guitar fingerpicking lighting up the various musical offerings. This is a truly great Christmas CD! Here are some sound clips for you to enjoy:

Early on One Christmas Morn
[audio:BruceCockburn_EarlyOnOneChristmasMorn_sample.mp3]

I Saw Three Ships
[audio:BruceCockburn_ISawThreeShips_sample.mp3]

Mary Had a Baby
[audio:BruceCockburn_MaryHadABaby_sample.mp3]

Wow! It doesn’t get much better than that. But be sure to come back tomorrow for my number one pick!

Other posts in the series:
    Number 5: Shawn Colvin; Holiday Songs and Lullabies
    Number 4: Harvey Reid; The Heart of the Minstrel on Christmas Day
    Number 3: Amy Grant; Home for Christmas
    Number 2: Bruce Cockburn; Christmas
    Number 1: Kathy Mattea; Good News

Favorite Christmas CDs – Number 3

I am sharing sound clips from my five favorite Christmas CDs this week. Today is number three.

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS CD #3:

Amy Grant; Home for Christmas

Home for Christmas: Amy Grant Song list: 1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas; 2. It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year; 3. Joy To The World/For Unto Us A Child Is Born; 4. Breath Of Heaven (Mary’s Song); 5. O Come All Ye Faithful; 6. Grown-Up Christmas List; 7. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree; 8. Winter Wonderland; 9. I’ll Be Home For Christmas; 10. The Night Before Christmas; 11. Emmanuel, God With Us ; 12. Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring

Amy Grant has three Christmas CDs, but this second one is my favorite. Excellent song selection, strong arrangments, some great guitar work from Phil Keaggy, and Amy’s voice just shines with authority on these songs. Plus, this CD introduced me to the breath-taking song, “Breath of Heaven.” Here are some sound clips for your listening enjoyment!

O Come All Ye Faithful
[audio:AmyGrant_OComeAllYeFaithful_sample.mp3]

Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)
[audio:AmyGrant_BreathofHeaven_sample.mp3]

(Note: Amy also recently released The Christmas Collection CD with selections from all three CDs on one.)

Feel free to share any of your favorites in the comments, and be sure to come back tomorrow for number two!

Other posts in the series:
    Number 5: Shawn Colvin; Holiday Songs and Lullabies
    Number 4: Harvey Reid; The Heart of the Minstrel on Christmas Day
    Number 3: Amy Grant; Home for Christmas
    Number 2: Bruce Cockburn; Christmas
    Number 1: Kathy Mattea; Good News

Favorite Christmas CDs – Number 4

I am sharing sound clips from my five favorite Christmas CDs this week. Today is number four.

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS CD #4:

Harvey Reid; The Heart of the Minstrel on Christmas Day (Out of stock at Amazon, but you can order directly from Woodpecker Records here.)

The Heart Of The Minstrel On Christmas Day: Harvey Reid 1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen; 2. Deck The Halls; 3. Angels We Have Heard On High; 4. Greensleeves; 5. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town; 6. Silent Night; 7. Little Drummer Boy; 8. Away In A Manger; 9. Good King Wenceslas; 10. Ode To Joy; 11. Hark, The Herald Angels Sing; 12. O Tannenbaum; 13. Jingle Bells; 14. Carol Of The Birds; 15. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer; 16. The Heart Of The Minstrel On Christmas Day; 17. O Holy Night.

Harvey Reid is an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist who lives in Maine and makes his own recordings. This is a great collection of mostly instrumental Christmas tunes on guitar and/or autoharp. Here are some sound clips:

Good King Wenceslas
[audio:HarveyReid_GoodKingWenceslas_sample.mp3]

Jingle Bells
[audio:HarveyReid_JingleBells_sample.mp3]

Feel free to share any of your favorites in the comments, and be sure to come back tomorrow for number three!

Other posts in the series:
    Number 5: Shawn Colvin; Holiday Songs and Lullabies
    Number 4: Harvey Reid; The Heart of the Minstrel on Christmas Day
    Number 3: Amy Grant; Home for Christmas
    Number 2: Bruce Cockburn; Christmas
    Number 1: Kathy Mattea; Good News

Favorite Christmas CDs – Number 5

We love Christmas music at our house and have collected quite a few Christmas CDs over the years. We have a lot of the old classics such as Bing Crosby, the Vienna Boys’ Choir, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, as well as more modern ones.

This week I will be sharing with you sound clips from my five all-time favorite Christmas CDs. My favorite music revolves around singer/songwriters and acoustic guitar, so you will quickly notice a trend in each of these recordings!

I will do this in the form of a countdown, so today we start with number five.

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS CD #5:
Shawn ColvinHoliday Songs and Lullabies

Holiday Songs and Lullabies: Shawn Colvin Song list: 1. In the Bleak Midwinter; 2. Christmas Time Is Here; 3. Now the Day Is Over; 4. Rocking; 5. Windy Nights; 6. All Through the Night; 7. Love Came Down at Christmas; 8. Silent Night; 9. All the Pretty Li’l Horses; 10. Little Road to Bethlehem; 11. Seal Lullaby; 12. Evening Is a Little Boy/The Night Will Never Stay; 13. The Christ Child’s Lullaby; 14. Close Your Eyes.
 

This delightful CD features a unique blend of Christmas carols, folk songs, and lullabies. I love the way Shawn wraps her voice around each of these melodies in her own distinctive way. Here are a couple sound clips:

Little Road to Bethlehem
[audio:ShawnColvin_LittleRoadtoBethlehem_sample.mp3]

Love Came Down at Christmas
[audio:ShawnColvin_LoveCameDownAtChristmas_sample.mp3]

Feel free to share any of your favorites in the comments, and be sure to come back tomorrow for number four!

Other posts in the series:
    Number 5: Shawn Colvin; Holiday Songs and Lullabies
    Number 4: Harvey Reid; The Heart of the Minstrel on Christmas Day
    Number 3: Amy Grant; Home for Christmas
    Number 2: Bruce Cockburn; Christmas
    Number 1: Kathy Mattea; Good News