#708. ONCE IN ROYAL DAVID’S CITY (9/12/22)
Leading up to Christmas Day, I thought it would be good to look at 15 of the most popular carols (chosen by Classic FM listeners) and consider the content and what we can learn from them.
A reflection based on ONCE IN ROYAL DAVID’S CITY, number 11 in our chart of most popular carols.
Once in royal David's city
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little Child.
He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Saviour holy.
And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love;
For that Child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in heaven above,
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone.
Not in that poor lowly stable,
With the oxen standing by,
We shall see Him; but in heaven,
Set at God's right hand on high;
When like stars His children crowned
All in white shall wait around.
This carol paints a beautiful picture of the nativity. Beginning with the humility of Jesus’ birth, it takes us to His exaltation and our being with Him in heaven.
WHERE A MOTHER
I love the simple words that are used:
‘Where a mother laid her Baby.’
Mary is presented as any other mother except she has been chosen to give birth to The Son of God and had to to so in a stable and place her child in a manger! Her experience is ‘poor, mean and lowly’. This is taking place in Bethlehem - ‘Royal David’s City’; Jesus, of the line of David, the great Messiah King who was promised and has come to make David’s reign eternal, Is born in such humiliating circumstances!
HE CAME DOWN
We sing of Jesus’ descent from heaven:
‘He came down to earth from heaven, Who is God and Lord of all.’
Jesus, born in a stable, is God and Lord of all. What an extraordinary truth. Jesus is the eternal God who chose to leave the glory of heaven and come into this dark world.
Paul writes of this:
‘Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.’ (Philippians 2:5-9)
WE SHALL SEE HIM
The carol takes us on a journey from the scene where we stand and ‘watch’ Jesus’ lowly birth to our exaltation with Jesus in heaven in glory. We are promised that:
‘Our eyes at last shall see Him, Through His own redeeming love.’
‘We shall see Him; but in heaven, Set at God's right hand on high.’
Jesus’ death to redeem us in the guarantee that we will be in glory with Him. As the ‘the poor, and mean, and lowly’ were invited to see him in his earthly stable, so all the poor in spirit can see Him in heaven through faith. Jesus promises us:
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” (John 14:24)
TAKE A MOMENT TO LISTEN TO THIS CAROL:
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What do you most enjoy about Christmas and why? What do you most dislike about Christmas and why?
3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
On Sunday, Nev Floyd finished our series in 1 Corinthians. The title of his message was:
DO EVERYTHING IN LOVE
'Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.14 Do everything in love.' (1 Corinthians 16:13)
The book of Corinthians encourages us to be loving, particularly within the church community. Despite being very 'spiritual', the Corinthians were failing to love each other in many ways. Many people who are devoted to Jesus, can fail to be devoted, kind, forgiving, serving, generous... to their local church. Here are a few ways that we can 'do everything in love' from 1 Corinthians 16:
1. (16:1-4) TO LOVE IS TO BE GENEROUS (FINANCIALLY)
Paul opens this section with directions on how to give in order to support his ministry.
The church family at CCP is very generous. It's inspiring to see how this church community gives financially. Let's continue to be thankful and open to the Spirit's leading in our giving.
2. (16:5-9) TO LOVE IS TO WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH GOD'S PEOPLE
These verses reveal Paul's desire to visit the churches he's in relationship with. He writes: 'I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you...'
Do we want to spend time with our church family? How can we give quality time to our community? During this Christmas season, who can we include in our lives?
3. (16:10-12) TO LOVE IS TO HONOUR WITH OUR WORDS
Nev encouraged us to speak of others when they are absent as if they were present.
4. (16:15-18) TO LOVE IS TO REFRESH OTHERS
When we meet others, do we seek to love and refresh others or are we only seeking our benefit?
5. (16:19-24) TO LOVE IS TO SHOW LOVING AFFECTION
Paul speaks of his love for a number of people and encourages them to 'Greet one another with a holy kiss.' He ends with 'The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.'
Do express our love for people? How can we seek to do this?
i. Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?
ii. What of the above 5 ways to love from this chapter do you find most difficult and why?
PRAYER AND SIV
SIV - Let's give time to sharing and praying for the carol service, this coming Sunday.
SIC - Could you copy the image below and share it with someone?