"The outward symbols disappear
From him whose inward sight is clear;
And small must be the choice of days
To him who fills them all with praise!

"Keep while you need it, brothers mine,
With honest seal your Christmas sign,
But judge not him who every morn
Feels in his heart the Lord Christ born!"

The Christmas holidays for some strange reason have most oft for me, been filled with feelings of melancholy. Oh I tell ya, I suffered some excruciatingly sad ones growing up and maybe it is that which haunts me. And then again, maybe there is a thousand unknown reasons why I have found little joy in the celebratory season. Well, this season has been different, in that I suffer a joy mixed with sorrow and a glory stirred with suffering. Such are the ways I believe, when one has even surrendered his emotions to the Lord. Surely it is His joy and sorrow, glory and suffering that are precious parts and golden parcels for the making of a priest after the likeness of Jesus. There is always the paradox in the Kingdom, so in keeping such my soul wrestles the spirit. The two parts of the inward man grapple dizzily, one mixing it up with the other, often times leaving my awareness in a pleasant slow motion bliss. It is in this state of surrender, where it matters not whether tears fall or laughter erupts. One might even describe this experience as an oblivious pleasant dream state of not knowing where spirit meets soul, but resting in a deep trust that there is sacred union taking place beyond any of our efforts. It is almost as the place, I have heard women, who have suffered labor, describe. They talk of the setting, where the foreign pain is so great, one finds escape in an out of body realm. There, the expectant mother feels like she is looking down on the scene of the workings of the birth of a child. So it seems, God has made wondrous escape for me this season. I have been miraculously translated from melancholy to the state of being a peaceful observer of the ongoing union and birthing process of spirit and soul bringing forth the mature son in Christ image. Tonight, with pleasant cleansing tears, born of a menagerie of emotions, I write in wonderment of God's ways with me. Bless His Name, for there is none like Him and He is good ........... so very very good.

Just so happened today, I enjoyed a lovely phone visit with the lady, in who's home I met Jesus, some thirty five years ago. She is a most wise and compassionate soul and she tells it like it is. I so love that kind of person. And what a wonder, my friend and I should be close after all these years and further more, miraculous is it, that we would know the same Sovereign God of Love that saves all. What are the odds on that!

So Caroline and I were catching up and I was sharing my strange and unique pleasant state, when she was quickened to a poem. She gave a little synopsis, after sharing the title and author. This was one of those eureka moments, as I was looking for the missing part for the blog I wanted to publish. I felt there was something out there that I would come across to introduce some video songs that reflect my many emotions these last few days. So with out further adieu, I share a most incredible gift of poetry and then some songs that really moved me this week. Be blessed my dear friends and I pray your Christmas season is as wonderfully filled with Him, as mine.

With this poem, just the title alone grabbed me, as I believe to really know Christ, one must enter the mystical realm of understanding.

The Mystic's Christmas
by John Greenleaf Whittier
Check Spelling
"All hail!" the bells of Christmas rang,
"All hail!" the monks at Christmas sang,
The merry monks who kept with cheer
The gladdest day of all their year.

But still apart, unmoved thereat,
A pious elder brother sat
Silent, in his accustomed place,
With God's sweet peace upon his face.

"Why sitt'st thou thus?" his brethren cried,
"It is the blessed Christmas-tide;
The Christmas lights are all aglow,
The sacred lilies bud and blow.

"Above our heads the joy-bells ring,
Without the happy children sing,
And all God's creatures hail the morn
On which the holy Christ was born.

"Rejoice with us; no more rebuke
Our gladness with thy quiet look."
The gray monk answered, "Keep, I pray,
Even as ye list, the Lord's birthday.

"Let heathen Yule fires flicker red
Where thronged refectory feasts are spread;
With mystery-play and masque and mime
And wait-songs speed the holy time!

"The blindest faith may haply save;
The Lord accepts the things we have;
And reverence, howsoe'er it strays,
May find at last the shining ways.

"They needs must grope who cannot see,
The blade before the ear must be;
As ye are feeling I have felt,
And where ye dwell I too have dwelt.

"But now, beyond the things of sense,
Beyond occasions and events,
I know, through God's exceeding grace,
Release from form and time and space.

"I listen, from no mortal tongue,
To hear the song the angels sung;
And wait within myself to know
The Christmas lilies bud and blow.

"The outward symbols disappear
From him whose inward sight is clear;
And small must be the choice of days
To him who fills them all with praise!

"Keep while you need it, brothers mine,
With honest seal your Christmas sign,
But judge not him who every morn
Feels in his heart the Lord Christ born!"

I have listened to these two renditions of "Silent Night" over and over again and each time I cried for different reasons. This first song video brought a ticklish joy to my heart mixed with some sorrow. Oh, how I wish I had some children come to visit some times. How I miss the innocent magic they possess.

Here are fifty three little angels of Nagasaki with Andrea Rieu. Please enjoy.

Wow, what can I say about this next one and to say too much would be a shame, as I would wrongly color your experience in measuring this awesome song. I wept deeply with this one, as it made me think of my father, whom I lost some weeks ago. In reality, Dad was lost from me before I was even born. His overwhelming distance from my sisters and me, I believe was, in part, wrought from the ravages of war. He fought three of them as a career Naval Officer. The most damaging to Dad, I believe, was as a submariner in the Second World War. Could you imagine the harrowing horror of depth charges being dropped on you, as you lay at the bottom of the sea. How very tragic these wars and we sometime loose sight of the post traumatic ramifications that effect the many that love these warriors. May you be moved.


The truce began on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium, for Christmas. They began by placing candles on trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols, most notably Stille Nacht (Silent Night). The British troops in the trenches across from them responded by singing English carols.

The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were calls for visits across the "No Man's Land" where small gifts were exchanged — whisky, jam, cigars, chocolate, and the like. The artillery in the region fell silent that night. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently-fallen soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Proper burials took place as soldiers from both sides mourned the dead together and paid their respects. At one funeral in No Man's Land, soldiers from both sides gathered and read a passage from the 23rd Psalm.

The truce spread to other areas of the lines, and there are many stories of football matches between the opposing forces. The film Joyeux Noël suggests that letters sent home from both British and German soldiers related that the score was 3-2 in favour of the Germans.

And then, how could I not end this heartfelt and emotional writing without a most beautiful rendition of the song of all songs. I pray, you might reflect on just how amazing His grace is and how it has been so uniquely and lovingly extended to you.



Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2Cor12:10

I cried some days ago when I received an E-mail from Florian, as I knew he was dying. His state of impending mortality is not in the sense of dying as the world knows. No, it is a state of his soul dieing to this world and himself, that Christ might ever live and reign in and through him. There are so many beautiful souls I know, that are currently in this very same process, as our dear brother. One way or another, diverse trials seem to abound but each that is counted as elect of this age, are finding that there is a supernal contentment in the midst of these fires. So it is, that we should all occasionally weep, as we view the death of a son. For as it is with the Lord so it is with us as we witness pure and beautiful souls in the making.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Ps 116.15

And we are not afraid, but are quite content to die, for then we will be at home with the Lord. For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth. After my skin is destroyed, this I know -- that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain,
for the former things have passed away.
2 Cor 5.8, Job 19.25-27 & Rev 21.4

Here, in the E-mail mentioned, our brother Florian describes his death and his appointed fire between the bookend thoughts concerning others which I have omitted.

"I am working two jobs at the moment and the money is barely enough to pay the bills. Sometimes I'm so tired that all I can do is fall on my bed and say 'Papa meet me' just before I fall asleep. We are going probably through one of the toughest times of our lives right now but we also experience Father's provision in new ways. The worst thing I guess is not really getting around to pray and the lack of vision. On the other hand we sense we are entering a new realm of intimacy with Him and a level of compassion for the broken and hurting. In other words, I have no clue what is going on. I just know that He is holding on to us even if we let go of Him."

An hour or so after being moved by Florian's letter, I happened upon a writing by one of his favorite teachers. I knew then, I would share his letter and part of this writing below, that others might gain strength and encouragement. You will love how this author describes the Divinely appointed tension we often feel. Better yet he gives the "why of it."

Designed Tension

"There is a strange tension involved as we walk along the Jesus-Way. Though the tension has been designed by God to bring out His best in us, a feeling that this ought not to be persistently dogs us. One of the marks of spiritual maturity is the recognition and acceptance of this tension as a dynamic necessary for the believer to come to an intimate knowledge of "the glory of His grace."

If we are to know God, we must come to know Him in His glorious givingness. Grace is just that---God's givingness. God is glorious in His givingness. It is by His givingness that we know His glory. "The glory of His grace," literally means "His grace's glory." That's His nature, to pour out Himself into us from within us. He is, in Christ, the artesian well in us springing up into aeonian life.

The goal of that up-springing is that the artesian well in us should become rivers of living water flowing out of our innermost being as we become extensions of the out-pouringness of the Divine Nature, that is, to love as He loves, to give as He gives.

God gives out of His infinite supply, and the supply, paradoxically, is infinite because God is always emptying Himself into His Son, and His Son into others, and by that emptying, His own fulness is always a fresh supply. I dare say that God's fulness in the aeonian flow of His life, grows by the dynamic of His self-emptying.

His fulness is not a static condition. From out of His eternal infinitude, within our creaturehood, He increases Himself so that in the interplay of His eternality with His aeonian immanence, the eternality of God gives increase to creation, and draws forth from itself increase in the process.

This is seen clearly in Mary's exclamation, "My soul doth magnify the Lord...." The Greek word translated as "magnify" most essentially simply means to make large, to increase. The word can include the idea of extolling God, and though we usually think of that in terms of saying great things about God, more essentially, we extol the excellence of God by His increase in our soul-life.

So enters the strange-feeling tension. We are called to walk the Jesus-Way conscious of BOTH infinite supply, and extreme need. Even God by His Spirit in the aeons experiences this consciousness, for He, with us, and us, with all creation, groans for the revealing of the sons of God ......

So enters the strange-feeling tension. We are called to walk the Jesus-Way conscious of BOTH infinite supply, and extreme need. Even God by His Spirit in the aeons experiences this consciousness, for He, with us, and us, with all creation, groans for the revealing of the sons of God.

We are often made to feel, by unbalanced teaching, that we ought to walk only in the consciousness of infinite supply, so when those times come when we are engulfed in a sense of need, we are made to feel that we're so lacking in divine consciousness that those who preach this perception to us must certainly live on a much higher spiritual plane.

Jesus didn't live that way. Paul didn't. John didn't. They prayed for God's supply. They prayed from a consciousness of infinite supply AND profound need. That's what prayer is. We have religiousized it, and turned it into a formula. In fact, prayer is living in the Presence of infinite supply with a consciousness of neediness. Prayer, dear ones, simply is having the eyes of our human need fixed on Jesus.

The process often involves being exhausted from drawing out of our own resources, from a deceived expectation that our own endurance is up to life's challenges. Just naturally, our existential state is a state of neediness, when deception enters in, things become really complicated as we egotistically try to be to ourselves what we need.

That's what creation is all about. God has brought into existence a dimension of neediness as a complement to His provision, and then He exacerbates the situation through the lie of the serpent about our capabilities. Read Paul carefully, and you meet a man keenly aware that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him, but you meet a man of weakness also; a man in whose weakness, God's strength is perfected.

See, to know God's strengthening, you must be in touch with your weakness. God strengthens the weak."
(excerpted from a writing by John Gavazzoni)

"Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." 2Cor12:10

Hopefully, as I add to the anointed message of Gavazzoi, we might see, there is even a deeper revelation of our need meeting His supply. It is even a rest from tension and He is bringing some into it, by varying degrees. One day this freedom from care of self will fully overtake us and like Enoch we will be found no more. Lord help us to judge the glorious meaning of "no more."

Considering our weakness, as it lays before His almighty strength, I believe the starting place of pure faith is found with the surrender of our soul mixed with a trust that God is good in all His workings toward us. Our futility is so complete, we cannot possibly ever find faith. Instead, faith is given to us, as an unmerited gift. It is only given, as we are caused to recognize our need. So it is, in recognition of our futility, we learn to trust Him to carry us through the times that try our souls and rend our flesh. After suffering my fare share of trials, I have deduced, that there is a most sacred intersection, in which Christ is found in His greater glory. This Holy place is located where "I don't know" meets "I can't". With tears flowing, I will tell you, this is where one finds direction for life and rest for one's soul. And it is, that from the Holy place we enter into the Holy of Holies and the very ark of God's Christ. I know you, like me, are learning it is all Him and when we have come to the point of having nothing to offer but the sacrifice of the whole of our self, there we find in return, our personal setting at His table, overflowing with Heaven's bounty.

If I might share one other thing; standing in the middle of "I don't know" and "I can't" is truly the closest thing I know, to being translated to another world. Really! For those that trust not in themselves, but only in Him, He is taking them into that which I might term the "unknowing." This blessed state, more fully described as the "unknowing of self" is where one senses he or she is blissfully adrift and being carried by the Spirit above the cares of life. It is an almost subconscious state, where one easily entreats that which satiates real goodness within our soul. Even in the midst of great trial this can be experienced. And in such, it is all the more greatly needed.

The world with it's people and it's circumstances will try us with the taunt, "Can God spread a table in the desert? Ps 78:19
And while it may not be fully perceived by others you will feel the latter rain falling about you and refreshing your soul.
In the wilderness the latter rain of the Spirit will be poured out and there will be justice, righteousness, peace, faith, and rest in the Lord. Til the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be esteemed as a forest. Then justice shall dwell in the wilderness; and righteousness shall abide in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and confidence for ever. And my people shall abide in a peaceable habitation, and in safe dwellings, and in quiet resting-places. Isaiah 32:15-18

If you are like me, you probably scratched your head when you first read of Paul and Silas singing in jail. I mean, how in the world could these crazy loons possibly be happy?! Now you know and may you cause others to scratch and think lunatic as you demonstrate that unspeakable joy in the middle of trouble. I know I have family that looks at me and I have heard the whispers, "Jack's not right. Because of his sickness he is not right in his head as he seems to throw care to the wind. So they gather to care for me in my blissful state. And my bliss only increases. lol

Please now suffer me, an unexpected rant. God! I am so dang tired of those that prophesy, for the world, "end time predictions of doom and gloom" or worse yet "it is finished and this is as good as it gets." Yeah, I am sick of it and I bet some of you are too! It all strikes my spirit wrong, as I believe these self appointed prophets of doom either love the sensational, are bored or want for others their portion of fire and the sooner the better. And the "it is finished" crowd seem to care little for anything resembling personal judgement as they would rather illusion their ease and thus pretend ease for all. Well, I say take a safari in Congo or a trek through Gaza and then tell me how easy it is there! There is great gloom and doom in this world today and there always has been. Such is the nature of this world for man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward*. Yes, I am sick and tired of the voices that walk the ditch on both sides of the narrow. However, even in this I can take solace, knowing one day, both the gloomy prognosticator and the New Age illusionist will find full surrender and be dragged up hither. There, they will wish good for all, knowing all will eventually find the Christ of the Cross and shelter in His side. Rant over

Anyway, with rant behind, I am overjoyed because some I count as friend, are learning like me to say, "where ever and when ever, Lord. I am all Yours, to be moved by and also into Your almighty, all knowing and immeasurable goodness."

So in closing let me say , it is the Spirit of God that translates us from the darkness of our fallen world into the peaceful radiance of the Kingdom of the Son**. For a surety our salvation is realized on Christ's path where our ignorance bows before His omniscience, our weakness reveals His strength, and our emptiness is replaced by His fullness. What an amazing journey God has set before His prized pilgrims of this age. These selfless sojourners are those who are not afraid to forsake all and follow where ever He goes. Truly, the heaven bent soul is moved by His careful hand along a sparsely traveled path, found in this world but not of this world.

Dear reader, as we find sweet surrender and rest in Him, we are being raised, and being TRANSLATED into His Kingdom NOW. You will never be able to explain this, for it is in the experience, we realize the wonderment of resting in Christ. So,I pray you find the sacred place of surrender, for out of your weakness, He will carry you into the dawning day, of the fullness of His power and glory. And there you will find that all that was once lost and marred is now made new and perfect. There is no more glorious hope in Christ, thus I share with you and I hope you share with others, that GOD IS GOOD!


* Job 5:7
** Col 1:13