OPINION COLUMNS

Hey! Everybody come check this out!

By Gerry Lewis | Published Wednesday, December 18, 2013

{{{*}}}As a blogger and columnist in 2013, I am pretty much free to write what I want, and to do so with little risk.

About the worst thing that could happen if I offend people is that: 1) They would stop reading what I write and 2) The newspapers would stop running the columns of this guy causing such grief.

Since I try not to be the source of offense or grief, probably my greatest risk is that readers or newspapers will just get tired of me and send me on my bloggity way.

Not that there is anything wrong with some occasional controversy, you understand. There’s just not a lot of risk in my context.

Not so for James Montgomery (1771-1854), an English poet and newspaper editor. Twice imprisoned for sedition as a result of his controversial editorials, he championed the causes of the poor, focusing on the abolition of slavery and the exploitation of child chimney sweeps.

However, one of his poems, “Angels from the Realms of Glory,” met little controversy when it was first published on Christmas Eve, 1816.

This is the third in our Life Matters “ADVENTageous” series during December, and may be the last one you’ll read before Christmas. As you read these words, I invite you to imagine a traditional nativity scene. Each guest at the scene receives the same invitation: “Come and worship, Come and worship, Worship Christ, the newborn King!”

“Angels from the realms of glory, Wing your flight o’er all the earth;

“Ye who sang creation’s story, Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.

“Shepherds, in the fields abiding, Watching o’er your flocks by night,

“God with man is now residing, Yonder shines the infant Light;

“Sages, leave your contemplations, Brighter visions beam afar;

“Seek the great desire of nations, Ye have seen His natal star.”

For the final stanza, we move from the ancient nativity to present-day worshipers anticipating the Second Coming of Christ.

“Saints before the altar bending, Watching long in hope and fear,

“Suddenly the Lord, descending, In His temple shall appear:

“Come and worship, Come and worship, Worship Christ, the newborn King!”

Our lives matter so much to God that He came and will come again. This is the message of Advent: The Coming of the King!

As you prepare to celebrate Christmas, I invite you to a sense of wonder. Neither the size of your gathering, the extravagance of your decorations, nor the abundance of your food or gifts are what truly matters.

Luke 2:10-12: “But 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.’”

Merry Christmas.

Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association headquartered in Decatur.

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