1 March – St David’s Day.
Even google has a Welsh doodle
Those who know me will know I’m not the most patriotic Welshman you could bump into. I’m sure I’ll cheer the men in red shirts in the 6 Nations rugby for as long as I’ll live, but my sense of Welsh identity is weak and right now I’ve lived as much of my life in England as I have in Wales.
For every 10 things I could list that I admire about Wales, I could list at least another 20 that frustrate and infuriate me.
But I do know Wales is a nation that desperately needs the gospel of Jesus Christ. Wales needs men who will unflinchingly preach the good news of a crucified, risen and exalted Christ. Wales needs men and women who are ready to weep over and with their non believing friends, and who are ready to die for their Saviour King. Wales desperately needs God’s Spirit to own his word and work and awaken a hard, proud, comfortable, deluded nation.
Wales is no different to England, Ireland or Scotland in any of the ways above.
But on St. David’s Day, pray for the work of the gospel of Jesus Christ in Wales.
With December just days away, here are two helpful ways you could prepare for the most significant birth in history.
John Piper has released a new revised version of his daily readings for advent, Good News of Great Joy which can be downloaded in a multitude of ebook formats for free. You can even can purchase a paperback version from amazon.co.uk for a small price, should you require.
Alternatively you can download Doug Wilson’s God Rest Ye Merry: Why Christmas is the Foundation of Everything from amazon for slightly less than it would cost you to watch Netflix for the month. And you know which one is more likely to help fill your heart with joy at the Word made flesh.
It has long been said that art imitates life even as life imitates art. I would add to that. We do not believe our not believing. Our fiction imitates and undermines the fiction of our unbelief.
(Grant Horner, Meaning At The Movies: Becoming a discerning viewer, p. 129)
Facing a task unfinished
That drives us to our knees
A need that, undiminished
Rebukes our slothful ease
We, who rejoice to know Thee
Renew before Thy throne
The solemn pledge we owe Thee
To go and make Thee known
Where other lords beside Thee
Hold their unhindered sway
Where forces that defied Thee
Defy Thee still today
With none to heed their crying
For life, and love, and light
Unnumbered souls are dying
And pass into the night
We bear the torch that flaming
Fell from the hands of those
Who gave their lives proclaiming
That Jesus died and rose
Ours is the same commission
The same glad message ours
Fired by the same ambition
To Thee we yield our powers Continue reading
Christians, awake, salute the happy morn
whereon the Savior of the world was born.
Rise to adore the mystery of love
which hosts of angels chanted from above.
With them the joyful tidings were begun
of God incarnate and the virgin’s Son.
Then to the watchful shepherds it was told,
who heard th’angelic herald’s voice: “Behold,
I bring good tidings of a Savior’s birth
to you and all the nations on the earth.
This day has God fulfilled his promised word:
this day is born a Savior, Christ the Lord!”
Then may we hope, th’angelic throngs among,
to sing, redeemed, a glad triumphant song;
he that was born upon this joyful day
around us all his glory shall display;
saved by his love, incessant we shall sing
eternal praise to heav’n’s almighty King.
John Byrom (1692-1763)
Holidays are frequently times when people get trapped by the expectations game. Because everyone around you assumes that the day is going to be “really good,” “special,” or “fantastic,” and is constantly telling you to have a “merry” one, it is easy to assume that having a merry Christmas is an actual possession of yours, and if not a possession, at least a birthright. Consequently, the tendency is to sketch out in your mind what you would like that possession to be like. But it turns out, metaphorically speaking, that you get socks instead of the shotgun, or cookware instead of pearls, and the expectation lost is a set-up for real disappointment. This is one of the reasons why holidays can be such an emotional roller coaster ride for so many, and Christmas is no exception. (Wilson, God Rest Ye Merry, 100)
Celebrate the stuff. Use fudge and eggnog and wine and roast beef. Use presents and wrapping paper. Embedded in many of the common complaints you hear about the holidays (consumerism, shopping, gluttony, etc.) are false assumptions about the point of the celebration. You do not prepare for a real celebration of the Incarnation through thirty days of Advent Gnosticism. (Wilson, God Rest Ye Merry, 89-90)
As the prophet Isaiah prophesies the coming of the new covenant, he does so with the image of a glorious feast. The feast is prepared by the Lord of hosts Himself (25:6). What kind of feast is it? He prepares a feast of fat things, he prepares a feast of aged wines, of meat full of marrow fat, and then some more aged wines. This is the picture we are given of the gospel – not a glass of room temperature water and a cracker. (Wilson, God Rest Ye Merry, 88)