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Every Christmas and all throughout the world, people are acknowledging Christ. Christmas songs that proclaim Jesus’ birth are still played in shopping malls and sung on the lips of those who may not know Him. Jesus receives the kind of glory that He should in the month of December.

Of course, many of the carols we sing are simply traditions. They’re considered to be classics rather than hymnals that glorify our Savior. And unfortunately, even Christians—including myself—tend to forget the true meaning behind these songs that we habitually sing. 

But they’re more than just songs to celebrate Christmas. The intention behind these songs was to remember our Savior’s birth. 

Since it is easy for these carols to lose their meaning after hearing them dozens of times, I’ve decided to take one of my favorite ones and reflect on its lyrics, paraphrasing the truths behind each line. 

Below are 5 takeaways from the song “O Holy Night”:

1. Jesus is the light in our darkness.

“O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of Our dear Saviour’s birth.”

All throughout the Bible, God uses analogies and symbolism to illustrate Biblical truths. I believe that the birth of Jesus is one of the most beautiful examples of this. 

It is no coincidence that the wise men were led into the city of Bethlehem by a bright and shining star. Similarly, in the midst of the darkness of our life, God will be our light. He can guide us through this world and bring hope, guidance, and peace in each step. 

2. In the midst of despair, we have a reason to celebrate. 

“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn”

It’s a shame that the holidays can cause so much anxiety for us at times. It’s the exact opposite of how God wants us to respond to the birth of His son. 

Jesus came to rescue us. He came to bring salvation for humanity, to offer hope in the midst of our weariness. 

And this is the greatest gift of all. This is why we should be full of joy this season, celebrating our Savior’s birth. 

3. In Christ, we are all created equal. In Christ, there is only love. 

“Chains He shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in His name, all oppression shall cease.”

The one who belongs to Christ should never have a reason to feel rejected. God’s law is love—it is not rules. Those who follow Him should never have a reason to feel condemned. 

Christmas offers the perfect opportunity for Christians to spread this love by reaching out to the needy and to those who may feel unloved, just as Christ did. It is our job to become a representation of this love, to become a light in this dark world, and to share this freedom with others without judging or discriminating.

4. The first Christmas was a precious and sacred night, despite the circumstances. 

Even though Jesus was born to a nobody in small-town Bethlehem—in a stable, nonetheless—this was a moment to be glorified. 

“O hear the angle voices
O night divine!
O night when Christ was born
O night divine!
O night, O night divine!”

Jesus was worth the highest honor and royalty treatment, and yet God allowed Him to enter into this world as if he were an average human. 

Maybe God wanted us to realize that what the world deemed as significant really wasn’t significant at all. Despite the fact that Jesus’ birth was not triumphant in the material sense, it was still sacred. The earthly circumstances could not have taken away the peace and joy that were experienced in the stable on that night.    

And that alone should give us hope. 

5. We get to praise His name forevermore.  

“Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord!
Their name forever praise we”

When we think of Jesus’ birth, we can experience the same joy that pierced through the darkness 2000 years ago, despite what our circumstances may look like. And from the joy in our hearts will rise a desire to glorify Christ’s name forever—from now and into eternity, from earth and into heaven.  

As you sing the classic Christmas carols this season, I challenge you to look behind the words. Let’s receive the true Christmas spirit that God wanted us to have while we celebrate Christ’s birth, remembering that precious, holy night.

“Noel, Noel
O night, O night divine
Noel, Noel
O night, O night divine
Noel, Noel
O night, O holy night”

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About the Author :

Tessa E. Hall is a 19-year-old author of Purple Moon, her YA Christian fiction novel, published September 2013 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She has a passion for youth ministry, especially in the area of the written word. She also loves acting, music, Starbucks, and her imperial Shih Tzu—who is named Brewer after a character in her book, as well as her love for coffee.

"Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above."
-Robert Robinson

My heart has a tendency to wander.  It has a tendency to fixate on the things it wants or thinks it wants. My heart gets impatient when my days all start to blur together. These are the moments I feel it the most; the disconnect between my wandering heart and God. As the song says, “Prone to wander, prone to leave.”  It leads me to the question of why.  Why do I long for God with all my heart and soul, yet still face times where all my heart wants to do is wander?  I am then lead to Romans 7:15, and it resonates so deeply within my soul that it shakes my bones:

I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate. (Romans 7:15 NLV) 

Yes, I long to do what is right and yes, my heart still wanders despite my good intentions.  It is the battle between flesh and spirit as the Bible describes:

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. (Galatians 5:17 NIV)

The definition of “bind” is to tie or fasten (something) tightly.

I believe the main reason our hearts tend to wander is because they go where our minds go.
I believe one of the most important things I can teach you is that your thoughts are powerful and they will actually determine your future. Have you heard the saying, 'It's all in your mind'? Well, that's exactly where our successes and victories begin. You can think yourself into a mess or you can think yourself into a place of victory. -Joyce Meyer                                                                                                                
Take notice of when your heart tends to wander. Is it during a movie or song? Is it while you are daydreaming? Is it in memories that you are reliving? Is it while you are scanning social media? Are you desiring what others have?

Below, you will find a few ways to bind our wandering hearts to God:
  • Mediate on God’s word and promises.  Through meditating on God’s word and promises, we can stay focused and be reminded of His goodness. God's goodness gives us the motivation we need to keep going. Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. (Deuteronomy 11:18 NIV)
  • Fix your eyes on God always.  To “fix” your eyes means that you, direct your eyes, attention, and mind steadily or unwaveringly toward.” He is your focal point.
  • Renew and recommit your mind and heart to God daily.  It is a daily recommitment, not a one-time thing.
  • Respond to God through thanksgiving. The more you praise God for His goodness, the more you will see it manifested in your life. That’s the hidden power of praise.”-Stormie Omartian
The most beautiful thing about God is that He always draws our hearts back to Him. Nothing will ever seem as right as when our hearts are firmly rooted in Him. This is because we belong to our Creator. 

We wander because we feel we can find better.  We wander because we are never satisfied.  We wander because we are walking out our flesh instead of our spirit.  But the reoccurring outcome we always find at the end of our wandering is this: God is enough. God is everything and without Him we have nothing. Outside of Him everything else fades.

I want to leave you with the last few verses of the hymn I opened with. I pray that no matter where you may be at in your life right now, you run back to God with all you have.

"O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I'll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day." 

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About the Author :

Leilani is a single mom to a beautiful 4 year old little girl. She is in love with the Creator of the stars. Her mission is simple yet so big, to encourage and bring Jesus to all in need. To bring hope by loving people, writing, photography, music, poetry/spoken word and meeting people right where they are. God's Grace is her air.

Around this time of year, we are constantly hustling from one place to another from morning until night. All this busyness means our makeup can get greasy, fade easily, get splotchy, or crease up. This is especially the case for bold and heavy party makeup. Below, I have included some tips to help your makeup stay on all day long and keep you glowing for the holiday season.

Prep- The first and most important step to helping makeup last is to prep the skin. Make sure that your skin is clean by using a gentle cleanser to wash away dirt and oil that can build up. Also, be sure to exfoliate a couple times a week to keep dead skin flakes from dulling the skin. Last, moisturizing allows the skin to have a smooth surface for the makeup to adhere to.

Prime- Primers can be found almost anywhere and at every price range these days. Primers set the skin for makeup and keep oil from allowing the makeup to slide off during the day. Start by simply applying the primer onto the skin after you have applied moisturizer, but before your concealer and foundation. Also, be sure to prime your eyelids as well. If you do not have a primer on hand, blending a little foundation onto the eye lid and dusting on some translucent powder will work just as easily. In order to banish shine and keep your look in place, set foundation and concealers with a translucent pressed powder.

Eyes- When applying eye shadow, be sure that the product is a powder, as a cream formula will only cause creasing. For eyeliners, gel and liquid formulas last longer and do not smudge as easily as pencils. Last, a couple of coats of waterproof mascara will prevent flakiness and eyelashes from losing their curl.

Cheeks and Lips- If you are looking at a long day ahead, layering blushes is a great way to keep from losing that pretty flush. Start by blending in a cream blush, then apply a layer of powder blush to create a long-lasting formula. The same tip of layering products also helps with keeping bold lip colors on all day and night. Start with a light coat of moisturizing lip balm, then apply a light nude-pink lip stain to give the lipstick a good base. Always make sure to use a nude-pink lip liner as well in order to keep the lipstick from bleeding or smearing. Finally, finish off with a long-lasting lipstick formula that will keep you radiant from morning until night!

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About the Author :

Ashlyn is a small town girl with a big heart for family, laughter, and all things beautiful. This history nerd enjoys taking walks, yoga, delicious food, and of course, fashion and beauty. She desires most to see a world where women have true and deep relationships with themselves through Christ.

The holiday season marks change for many of us. Doubtless, it involves heartache and loss as well as Christmas joy. I know it does for me.

Earlier this year, I lost my dearly loved adopted aunt to cancer. Adjusting to life without her has been difficult – particularly during the holidays. Not seeing her smiling face at church events and Christmas plays has been a strange adjustment, filled with the sense of aching loss that only those who have lost a loved-one can understand.

Yet, as the Lord often arranges it, He did not just take this year – He gave as well. Earlier this year, He brought my sweet boyfriend into my life. The joys have been indescribable.

I remember being congratulated on my new relationship on the very day my aunt died. It was such a strange incident, accepting warm congratulations while dealing with intense loss. I recall mentioning how mysteriously the Lord works – how He often mingles joy in the midst of our sorrows.

And, for some reason, I have not been able to erase what is commonly known as the Magnificat from my mind. In loss and in joy – the words have continually been with me.

In case you do not know, the Magnificat is Mary’s words of praise to the Lord. She, too, was faced with immense emotions. The joy of bearing the Savior of the world was great. But so were other emotions – the sorrow of false accusation, the worries of facing her betrothed, and the haunting reality she might perish under Jewish law if no one believed her story. Yet, Mary sang praises to her God.

…And Mary said, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation," (Luke 1:46-50 KJV).

Beautiful. Reverent. In the midst of her turbulent worries and joys, Mary was praising the Lord. Whatever came her way, she knew God was in control and had a special purpose for her life. She was humble, but she still publicly proclaimed her gratitude to Jehovah God, rejoicing in what He had done in her life.

This Christmas, we, too, can proclaim our gratitude. In loss, pain, loneliness, or even radiate happiness, words of praise are for today. Like Mary, our joy may be mixed with worry or uncertainties. Let us still magnify His name.

For He has regarded us, and His mercy is from generation to generation.

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About the Author :

Alicia A. Willis is a home-school graduate, published author, and avid historian. She is a firm believer in the principle that one can accomplish anything by substantial amounts of prayer and coffee. Visit her at her blog or Facebook to view her historical-fiction novels and all the goings-on between writing.