December 25, 1776

On the night of December 25, 1776, with the winter wind whipsawing the water, with waves ripping across the bows of their leaky boats, and sheets of ice impeding their path, American soldiers rowed across the merciless river, from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. The city of Trenton was their objective….

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze

Emanuel Leutze’s massive painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It’s approximately 12½ feet high by 21 feet wide. Reading the numbers doesn’t measure its impact—my daughter has seen it, and it is incredible. This painting has been scoffed at by those who like to point out various historical inaccuracies or implausibilities, but like all art it is symbolic. David Hackett Fisher writes that the debunkers:

…rarely asked about the accuracy of its major themes. To do so is to discover that the larger ideas in Emanuel Leutze’s art are true to the history that inspired it. The artist was right in creating an atmosphere of high drama around the event, and a feeling of desperation among the soldiers in the boats. To search the writings of the men and women who were there (hundreds of firsthand accounts survive) is to find that they believe the American cause was very near collapse on Christmas night in 1776. In five months of heavy fighting after the Declaration of Independence, George Washington’s army had suffered many disastrous defeats and gained no major victories. It had lost 90 percent of its strength. The small remnant who crossed the Delaware River were near the end of their resources, and they believe that another defeat could destroy the Cause, as they called it. The artist captured very accurately their sense of urgency, in what was truly a pivotal moment for American history.

I told the story of that momentous Christmas of 1776 in “…the acts and choices of ordinary people…”  and of the days that followed in The American Crisis: November 2012.

In our own valley of Delaware may our words, acts, and choices work to bring revival and awakening in our Republic.

“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;” and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty.
Thomas Paine Signature

The American Crisis
December 19, 1776

God bless you this Christmas night, and may God bless America in the coming year.
__________
David Hackett Fischer,Washington’s Crossing (Oxford University Press, New York: 2004) 4-5.

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“Hallelujah!”

Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.”
Revelation 19:6

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9

The formality of a concert setting is fitting for praising the Lord Jesus in His majesty and wonder, while listening in a food court reminds us the Gospel is for the reality of who we are. There have been several flash-mob settings of the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s Messiah. This one is from November 2010.

“…and He shall reign for ever and ever….King of Kings, and Lord of Lords….Hallelujah!”
__________
Messiah: Libretto: Old and New Testament Passages selected by Charles Jennens
Oratorio: George Frideric Handel

Christmas Candle Stars: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications: cropped with “Messiah” wording added.

“O Come All Ye Faithful”

I have always loved to sing O Come All Ye Faithful on Christmas morning. The last verse bursts into a crescendo of joy as it calls us to worship and adore Jesus Christ the Lord.

“Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
Born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be glory given!
Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing!
Oh, come, let us adore Him,
Oh, come, let us adore Him,
Oh, come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.”

This video is an orchestral arrangement by the Icelandic composer and organist, Stefan H. Kristinsson.

A very happy Christmas morning to you! Whatever our circumstances, we are blessed because of the birth of our King.

“Carol of the Bells”

Bells have been used for centuries to mark events of significance. Carol of the Bells was composed by the Ukrainian composer, Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych, and is frequently performed by handbell choirs. These handbell ringers in Taipei are unique, however; their entrance and processional as they ring out the notes enhances and expresses the joyous melody. The sights and sounds are a wonderful way to ring in Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas!

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us…

“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
Galatians 4:4-5

Anbetung der Hirten

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

“John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
John 1:1–18 (KJV)

Merry Christmas!
__________
Anbetung der Hirten: Gerard van Honthorst, Public Domain.