Who would think that what was needed To transform and save the earth Might not be a plan or army, Proud in purpose, proved in worth? Who would think, despite derision, That a child should lead the way? God surprises earth with heaven, Coming here on Christmas Day.
Shepherds watch and wise men wonder, Monarchs scorn and angels sing; Such a place as none would reckon Hosts a holy helpless thing; Stable beasts and by-passed strangers Watch a baby laid in hay: God surprises earth with heaven Coming here on Christmas Day.
Centuries of skill and science Span the past from which we move, Yet experience questions whether, With such progress, we improve. While the human lot we ponder, Lest our hopes and humour fray, God surprises earth with heaven Coming here on Christmas Day.
John Lamberton Bell* (1949- ) and Graham Maule* (1958- ). This Christmas hymn was published in Heaven Shall Not Wait (Wild Goose Songs 1) (1987), under the title ‘God’s Surprise’. It was written for the American tune SCARLET RIBBONS by Evelyn Danzig written in 1949.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
Paul’s Epistle to Titus is believed to be one of the last written before his departure to Rome, and so we find ourselves being given a blessing, a sending out by Paul as the early Church is established. “Bringing salvation to ALL”… Jesus Christ has appeared and brings salvation to every person on earth. A very sound grounding on which we can live our lives and share this news with others as we are sent out. This passage also teaches us how to be more Jesus-like, by being zealous for good deeds. And as disciples of Jesus we should always be striving to be more Christ-like, in return for salvation.
Father God, Help us to continue to strive to be more Christ-like Help us to take Paul’s blessing and be that blessing to the world. Send us out as your people, sharing our story, and your word. Amen