Christmas: Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!

There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. (Luke 2:8)

Only surviving autographed copy of the Mohr-Gruber collaboration of "Silent Night" dates from 1821.

Only surviving autographed copy of the Mohr-Gruber collaboration of “Silent Night” dates from 1821.

In 1816, Joseph Mohr penned the poem that would make him famous around the world.

Two years later, on December 24th, 1818, Mohr, a priest at the newly established parish of St. Nicholas in Oberndorf, Austria, gave the poem to organist, Franz Gruber. Mohr asked him to write a melody for two solo voices together with accompaniment by guitar.

Later that day Gruber gave Mohr his composition. The priest liked what he saw and included it as part of the Christmas mass that evening. Mohr sang tenor, with guitar accompaniment, while Gruber sang bass. According to Gruber, the song was met with “general approval by all” in attendance (mostly shipping laborers, boat builders and their families).

By 1955 Silent Night had become the most recorded song in all history.

The literal translation may surprise you.

Silent night, holy night!
All are asleep; alone awake
only the faithful and most holy pair,
Gentle boy with curly hair,
sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent Night as sung by Kelly Clarkson, Trisha Yearwood, and Reba McEntire.


Christmas: Glory to God in the Highest

"Adoration Of The Shepherds" by Antonio Allegri Correggio (1489-1534)

“Adoration Of The Shepherds” by Antonio Allegri Correggio (1489-1534)

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people.

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

All works of God are for his glory, but the redemption of the world is for his glory in the highest.


And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest,

“Glory to God in the highest” — not  a wish, that so it might be. Rather, an affirmation that so it was.


And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Not external peace, nor internal peace. Rather, it is Christ himself — “the man, the peace.”


Luke 2:10-15

Christmas: The Hinge of the World’s Fate

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Glade Jul (A Happy Christmas) by Viggo Johansen, 1891

Glade Jul (A Happy Christmas) by Viggo Johansen, 1891

Christmas: the hinge of the world’s fate, the turning point of life. It is the most important thing that ever happened — or at least the beginning of it.

Walter Russell Mead, writing in American Interest tell us, “Whether we know it or not, whether we appreciate it or not, we are part of the Christmas Event that has turned history upside down.”

“It’s not by accident,” continues Dr. Reed, “that we date the birth of Christ as the year 1 and why traditionally the world’s history was divided into BC, before Christ, and AD, anno domini, the year of the Lord.”

From all of us at Bent Creek Baptist Church, Merry Christmas to those of you celebrating the Lord’s birth, and seasonal greetings to everyone else.

However you understand the meaning and purpose of your life, may Christmas be a time of reflection. May it bring you closer to those you love, more generous to those in need, and more in tune with your hope, your duty, and — with the help of our merciful God — your destiny to become.

Merry Christmas and God’s speed on that journey.

Christmas: Christ Has Come

The early Christians did not rejoice because of better things to come.

They rejoiced because Christ had come.
God’s unspeakable gift was not provisional.
They rejoiced because it was final.


“We cannot remind ourselves too often that it is not our believing in things that makes them true. We believe them because they are true. (Handel H. Brown)


Christmas: A Time to Develop Selflessness

Rain Before Christmas. Leonid Afremov

Rain Before Christmas. Leonid Afremov

For God so loved the world that he gave…(John 3:16)

When we  ask our children “What do you want for Christmas?”,
we are asking a question that breeds selfishness.

In order to develop selflessness we should be asking
“What are you going to give?”

Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. (Deuteronomy 15:10)

Christmas is the celebration of God’s great gift giving.

Robert Flatt

Christmas Emotion. Leonid Afremov

Christmas Emotion. Leonid Afremov

Christmas: Peace in Distant Hills

A Misty Morning -- Graham Edwards

A Misty Morning — Graham Edwards

Teach us to value most eternal things…


To find the happiness

that giving brings…


To know the peace

of misty, distant hills…


To know the joy

that giving self fulfils…


To realize anew

this Christmas Day…


The things we keep are those we give away.

M. D. Winsett

Participate in the ABCCM Honor Card Program

Are you looking for a gift for someone who is hard to buy for?

untitledGive an “honor” Christmas card through ABCCM and help meet the needs of the homeless in Buncombe County.  You make a donation to ABCCM in honor of the person and send them a Christmas card letting them know that a gift has been given in their honor.

You can get make a donation and get a card at the information desk.

Christmas: The Spirit of Christ

The spirit of Christmas needs to be superseded by the Spirit of Christ.


The spirit of Christmas is annual;

the Spirit of Christ is eternal.


The spirit of Christmas is sentimental;

the Spirit of Christ is supernatural.


The spirit of Christmas is a human product;

the Spirit of Christmas is a divine person —


and that makes all the difference in the world.

[Stuart Briscoe]

Christmas: Love in Action

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Rogers

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Rogers

Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. (1 John 3:18)

Christmas my child, is love in action…

When you love someone, you give to them, as God gives to us.

The greatest gift He ever gave was the Person of His Son, sent to us in human form so that we might know what God the Father is really like!

Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.

Dale Evans Rogers

Dale Evans Rogers. actress, songwriter, singer (1912–2001)

Dale Evans Rogers. actress, songwriter, singer (1912–2001)

Christmas: BCBC Annual Poinsettia Presentation

A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children. (Proverbs 13:22)



Long-standing traditions become Christmas legacies when they are carefully fostered.

For the older generation, it’s a privilege to teach our children and young adults their role in maintaining Christmas beliefs and traditions at BCBC. There’s a feeling of unity and joy when our church family comes together to celebrate the birth of Christ and honor our Savior.

Legend has it that the tradition of presenting poinsettias at Christmas began in Mexico. A poor child knew the joy of giving gifts at Christmas but could afford only to spend time gathered weeds from the side of the road. She then placed them at the church alter on Christmas Eve in remembrance and honor of our Savior, Jesus Christ. As the congregation looked on the weeds turned into brilliant red and green flowers — it was a Christmas miracle.

In the same way, part of our Christmas celebration at Bent Creek Baptist Church is the presentation of poinsettia plants during Sunday service early in December. It’s an opportunity for all of us to remember loved ones who have passed on and honor friends and family with us still. Our young people play an essential role in this pageant. For 15 years this simple ceremony has never failed to bring a smile and a feeling of warmth to each member of the congregation.

Consider this your personal invitation to celebrate Christmas with your neighbors at Bent Creek Baptist Church. Come to enjoy the poinsettias. Stay and rejoice in His love and saving grace.

Thanks to Rick Shuford for the photographs.