Thursday, 26 December 2013

Recollections of War: The Sinking of the Scharnhorst - December 26, 1943

        Today is the 70th anniversary of the sinking of the last of Germany's hard-hitting battleships in World War II - the "Scharnhorst".  In a short but fierce conflict, the British Royal Navy located, hunted down, and sunk the 26,000 ton warship off the northern coast of Sweden over the days of 25 - 26 December, 1943.

        After several attempts, the British ship, HMS Duke of York located and shadowed the Scharnhorst on December 25.  Calling upon other British warships in the vicinity, the Duke of York battled and chased the Scharnhorst for the better part of twelve hours.  On the 26th, the combined British forces caught up to the doomed ship - and sank her from close range.

        Thus the end began of Germany's hold of the seas - all of her ships were sunk, and she knew that this was only the beginning of the Allied offensive to defeat the Third Reich.  Six months later, a combined Canadian, British, and American force would land on the shores of France - beginning the end to the Second World War.

        Over the course of this coming year, I will chronicling the major events of WWII in the year 1944 - as it is the 70th Anniversary in 2014.  See you then!

Monday, 23 December 2013

"Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus!"

"Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart."

        The above stanza from "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus" is a beautiful song of longing and hope for the coming of Christ.  The hymn was, by all accounts, written by Charles Wesley for the season of Advent.  In the first verse, the singer yearns for the coming of Jesus to rescue us from the slavery of sin, and is comforted by remembering that Jesus is truly the only Comforter, and will come to bring peace and joy at the last.   This Christmas, rejoice in the fact that Jesus has come to save us from sin, and will come once more to take us home.

"Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne."

        In the second, and final, verse here, we see Christ as the One who died on the cross for our sins - the one who came in the likeness of man, condemned sin in the flesh, and is raised to the right hand of the Father, where he reigns forever.  Finally: by His Spirit, he will rule in those hearts which trust in Him, and by his work, not our own, raise us as new creations once and for all time.

        As we come to the last few days of this year, let us remember the One to whom we owe our salvation, and let us never cease to thank Him for coming to save our undeserving selves.

        "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. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forevermore." Isaiah 9:6-7.

Merry Christmas, Friends!

William Moore

Thursday, 12 December 2013

A Theology of Christmas

        In this post, I hope to outline my own theology of why I think we as Christians should celebrate Christmas.  You are perfectly free to disagree with me.

          It's probably heard often, yet the question stands: Why do we celebrate Christmas?  For many the reason is tradition.  Their family has celebrated Christmas for generations, and so it is only natural for them to do likewise.  For others, it is a time to do good to their fellow men, a specific season in which giving is encouraged and, enjoyed.
          But what about us, who as Christians, recognize the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, on that particular day?  Why do we celebrate Christmas?  The word "Christmas" comes from two words: 'mass', meaning 'celebration', and Christ, referencing the name of our Saviour.  So the name Christmas simply means 'Celebrating Christ'.  Unfortunately Jesus has not become the focus of many people during this season.  Instead Christ has relegated to a back shelf.  So I believe that we should celebrate the birth of Jesus all year round, but especially at this time, to be reminded of his coming - for us.

See amid the winter's snow, 
Born for us on Earth below, 
See, the tender Lamb appears, 
Promised from eternal years.

He who, throne'd in height sublime, 
Sits among the cherubim. 
Lo, within a manger lies 
He who built the starry skies.

        Think about that for a moment.  The wonders of the Incarnation are astounding.  The God of the Universe, the one who holds all things in the palm of his hands, came down as a little human baby, in the grand scheme of God's plan for our salvation.  If he had not been born as a man, and then throughout his life, kept the whole law perfectly, his death on the cross would have done us no good.  He had to be sinless, and yet be one of us, in order to take my sin and give me his righteousness.  Is not that a reason to celebrate his birth?
        Just like we have a particular season during which we give thanks (Thanksgiving), I believe that we should take time to remember and think and celebrate upon the wondrous birth of Jesus.  We may or may not have trees or gifts or parties, but take time to celebrate the greatest gift of all: the Son of God given for us, Jesus Christ, my Saviour.

Is He yours?

Written and Posted by William A Moore