VIDEO Carols That Count: “The Christmas Song”

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17


On a scorching hot day in July 1945, songwriter Robert Wells began jotting down phrases that made him think of being cool instead of hot: Jack Frost, Yuletide, Eskimos, and the like. Forty minutes later, he had expanded the phrases into the lyrics of “The Christmas Song,” also known as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.”

The third verse concludes, “And so I’m offering this simple phrase to kids from one to ninety-two; Although it’s been said many times, many ways … ‘Merry Christmas to you.’” His offer of a Merry Christmas to people of all ages mirrors the offer of the Gospel. There is no restriction on race, age, class, or gender as to who can come to Christ. As the Holy Spirit said at the end of the book of Revelation, “Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”

That invitation still stands. If you desire Jesus, He is yours. Make this Christmas your most joyful one by taking His water of life.

God commands all to repent and believe; Christ promises life and peace to all who do so. J. I. Packer

Revelation 22:16-17 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies

Caring for Those in Need

I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land. Deuteronomy 15:11

Elvis Summers answered the door to find Smokey, a frail woman who stopped by regularly to ask for empty cans to return for cash. This money was her primary source of income. Elvis got an idea. “Could you show me where you sleep?” he asked. Smokey led him to a narrow patch of dirt about two feet wide next to a house. Moved by compassion, Summers built her a “tiny house”—a simple shelter that provided space for her to sleep safely. Summers ran with the idea. He started a GoFundMe page and teamed with local churches to provide land to build more shelters for others who were homeless.

Throughout the Bible, God’s people are reminded to care for those in need. When God spoke through Moses to prepare the Israelites to enter the promised land, He encouraged them to “be openhanded and freely lend [to the poor] whatever they need” (Deuteronomy 15:8). This passage also noted that “there will always be poor people in the land” (v. 11). We don’t have to go far to see this is true. As God compassionately called the Israelites “to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites” (v. 11), we too can find ways to help those in need.

Everyone needs food, shelter, and water. Even if we don’t have much, may God guide us to use what we do have to help others. Whether it’s sharing a sandwich or a warm winter coat, small things can make a big difference!

By:  Julie Schwab

Reflect & Pray

Who do you know or have seen that may be in need of help today? What can you do to help?

Jesus, help me to find ways I can help those around me. Please give me a generous heart.

Joyful Witness

Christians are called to be witnesses for Christ, meaning that we openly share the good news with the world

1 John 1:1-4

Christians are called to be Jesus’ witnesses (Acts 1:8). This doesn’t mean we need eloquence or charisma in order to explain the good news to others. A witness is simply someone who testifies to what he has seen, heard, or experienced. That’s what John did in the opening of his letter. He shared his first-hand knowledge of having been with Jesus and how that made his joy complete. 

If you’ve ever shared the gospel with someone who gladly accepted Christ as Savior, you’ve probably experienced fullness of joy. Yet even if your message was not received by the other person, there’s a joyful satisfaction in carrying out Jesus’ command to tell others about Him. But if your main concern is how you are viewed, there will be no elation. Instead of rejoicing in the opportunity, you’ll likely be critiquing your explanation of the gospel. 

Witnessing is not a matter of persuasiveness or verbal skill. Rather, it’s an overflow of your love for Jesus Christ, along with a desire to invite people to know Him. As you allow the Holy Spirit to increasingly express His life and power through you, your joy will overflow and touch others.

The Christian’s Parentage

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1)

There are three descriptions of what we were prior to God’s work in us, as described in the second chapter of Ephesians and as listed below. We were “dead in trespasses [activities] and sins [character, attitude, condition].” The result was that we were unable to understand or seek God on our own (Romans 3:10-11). Nor are we able to know the “things of God” by our own intellectual prowess (1 Corinthians 2:14). “We walked according to the course of this world” (Ephesians 2:2) in “bondage” to the world (Galatians 4:3) and with the eyes of our minds “blinded” by Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4). We are “by nature the children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3). Both our natural desires (5:5-6) and our willful unbelief (John 3:36) have placed us under the ever-increasing wrathful judgment of God (Romans 2:5-9).

The transformation performed by God on us can only be “his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:10). It involves God’s rich “mercy” and “great love” (v. 4) to make us alive when we were dead (see John 5:21-24; Romans 6:4-6, 9-11).

That power “raises” us and “seats” us with God positionally in the heavens (Ephesians 2:6). That grace is effected through faith, and even “that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (vv. 8-9).

Whatever all of these promises may ultimately involve, they assure us of permanent status as the chosen, holy ones of God (Romans 8:29-39), “that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7). HMM III

David In Combat: Celebrating The Past

May the Lord my rock he praised, who trains my hands for battle and my fingers for warfare. He is my faithful love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in Him; He subdues my people under me. Lord, what is man, that You care for him, the son of man, that You think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow (Psalm 144 vv. 1-4).

David was the General MacArthur of his day—a conquering hero. He begins this stirring psalm by remembering past victories and enemies who have been subdued under him. But who forged David’s career? Who gave him genius for military strategy? Who trained his hands for war and his fingers for battle? The Lord!

David had a personal relationship with God, who is strong, solid, and immovable, yet warm, loving, and intimate. He was David’s Fortress, Stronghold, Deliverer, and Shield (v. 2). David went forth in God’s strength to crush his enemies in battle. We are to do the same (see Eph. 6). God’s character—his nature and attributes—sustained David and made him bold and courageous—a winner!

What is almost incomprehensible to me is that this mighty God of war invites me—weak and wandering though I be—into his presence to receive the same kind of strength that he gave David, He promises to be my Shield and Deliverer in the spiritual battles I must fight. Like David, I can be a conquering hero … in him!

Personal Prayer

O Lord, be my Rock, my Fortress, My Deliverer, and my Shield today. My battles are not as obvious as David’s, but they are just as deadly!

The Language of Music


Music for soldiers, usually involving strongly accented beats in groups of four.

Marches are usually dignified, ceremonial, and military. A good example is Arthur Sullivans stirring hymn. “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

The Searchlight of Truth

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns.—Psalm 139:23

To have “truth like a belt around [our] waist” means to be possessed by truth. If we are to defend ourselves effectively against the attacks of Satan, then truth and honesty are vital necessities.

The mental health experts tell us that being willing to face the truth about ourselves is an important part of our growth toward maturity. The same is true in the realm of the spiritual. How easy it is to hide from the truth and imagine ourselves to be truthful when really we are not.

Whatever his personal idiosyncrasies and his rebellious attitude toward Christianity, Sigmund Freud made an interesting contribution to our understanding of human personality when he documented with true genius the incredibly subtle ways in which we lie to ourselves. Psychologists call them “defense mechanisms,” but a more biblical view of them would be “lying mechanisms.” We would all much prefer to be called defensive than dishonest. But whenever we allow ourselves to be self-deceived, we not only impede our spiritual growth—we also lower our defenses against Satan. He thrives on deception, and if he can push us toward self-deception, he maintains a definite advantage over us.

Many of us might react with horror to the suggestion that we are being dishonest, for we would not dream of doing or saying anything that was not according to the truth. Yet it is possible to be open and honest on the outside and yet hide from truth on the inside. All of us, even mature and experienced Christians, are capable of hiding from truth.


O Father, I see that if I am to overcome Satan, then I must know truth inwardly as well as outwardly. Search my heart today, dear Lord, and bring to the surface the things within me that are untrue. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.

Further Study

2Ch 7:1-14; Isa 44:20; Jms 1:22

What are God’s people to turn from?

What does James warn against?

The House of Bread

John 6:48, 51

Bethlehem—the very name floods the imagination and stirs the emotions. God chose this tiny village, annually revered in churches and homes around the world, as the cradle of celestial joy, hope and peace. Each Christmas, young and old contemplate the reality and significance of the manger, the shepherds, the Magi and the Holy Family under the star of Bethlehem. In this hamlet, one quiet, mysterious night two thousand years ago, an event took place that forever changed the course of history!

Modern Bethlehem is remarkably unchanged since the time of Jesus’ birth. Its Hebrew name, “House of Bread,” well defines this fertile parcel of land on the edge of the Judean desert. As they have through the ages, Bethlehem’s fields still supply nourishing grain, the olive grove’s distinctive oil, and the vineyard’s succulent grapes.

At the time of Jesus’ birth, shepherds were keeping watch over their sheep in a nearby field, and “an angel of the Lord appeared to them” (Luke 2:9). While no one knows the exact spot where the angel appeared to the startled shepherds, tradition identifies two sites.

In the second century, Justin Martyr wrote that Jesus’ birth took place in a cave close to the village. At the urging of his devout mother, Queen Helena, the Emperor Constantine built a magnificent basilica over the site, richly decorating it with marble mosaics and frescoes. What had been a simple cave at the edge of an obscure village became the “heart” of the town of Bethlehem and the focal point of Christian thought and devotion throughout the world.

Descending into the grotto under the central altar, one follows a well-worn path. Numberless pilgrims have entered this cave believed to be the authentic site of Jesus’ birth. The grotto’s focal point is a fourteen-point silver star on the white marble floor, with the Latin inscription: “Here Jesus Christ was born to the Virgin Mary.”

Here, in a hostel’s basement cave in the village known as “the House of Bread” was born the baby who would one day declare, “I am the bread of life… I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:48, 51).

May the Babe of Bethlehem’s followers continue to respond as did His first century disciples: “Lord, evermore give us this bread” (John 6:34 KJV).

William Francis, The Stones Cry Out