Allelujah!

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The strife is o’er, the battle done;
The victory of life is won;
The song of triumph has begun: Alleluia!

The powers of death have done their worst;
But Christ their legions hath dispersed;
Let shouts of holy joy outburst: Alleluia!

The three sad days are quickly sped;
He rises glorious from the dead;
All glory to our risen Head! Alleluia!

He closed the yawning gates of hell;
The bars from heaven’s high portals fell;
Let hymns of praise His triumphs tell! Alleluia!

Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee,
From death’s dread sting Thy servants free,
That we may live, and sing to Thee: Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

~ Author of the words is unknown
Author of the music is
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

 

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Touches of Spring

Although spring is one of my favorite seasons, I haven’t always decorated for it. Even as I collected some spring decorations over the years, I haven’t always gotten them out. But this year I was inspired by seeing blogging friends’ spring decorating, and I was just so glad for spring to come this year, even though we haven’t really had a harsh winter, that I almost couldn’t help bringing some springiness into the house.

This little table sits just inside the front door, and I was especially pleased with the decorations on top:

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The little flower arrangement on the left I got from a thrift store years ago, and the arched box on the right was a gift from Jason and Mittu some years back. It’s meant to hold Willow Tree figurines and has shelves inside, but I don’t have any that small, and don’t really want any more than I have. But I just like the box. Sometimes Timothy will tuck things in there, and sometimes I’ll put something in there for him to find. Those two are on the table year round except fall and Christmastime. The ceramic water pitcher I got at a thrift store years ago, and the little flowery bunny was a Hobby Lobby purchase a while back.

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So cute!

The little pedestal is new this year.

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I got the idea from Laura’s lovely spring decorations. I couldn’t find white like she had, but Hobby Lobby had these in pink, blue, yellow, and green, and they had all their spring merchandise 40% off last week. They had a package of ready-made nests with these eggs in them as well. I was originally looking for white or blue eggs, but liked these.

For a long time I avoided eggs and bunnies around Easter, but after a while I felt that they are fitting for spring, and spring is a picture in a way of the resurrection.

This is in the dining area and is a favorite. I forget where I got it.

I had wanted to come up with a new wreath or something for the front door – or actually for beside the front door. Our door has an oval glass insert which doesn’t seem conducive to wreaths or other decorations, and a little hanger was already installed in the brick next to the door, so we use that. In past years I’ve used this:

Roses and Hydrangea door ornament(That’s an older photo on a different door). I liked it, but somehow it looked funereal to me. Plus roses and hydrangeas aren’t blooming yet, so I wanted something a little more springy. I wrestled with whether I wanted it to look like spring in general or Easter in particular. On some of my shopping excursions last week, I looked around to see what was available. I definitely wanted tulips, but there were almost none in the fake flower departments, and what I did find, I didn’t like. I guess I should shop earlier in the year for fake spring flowers! After walking all around a few different stores, I finally found one lone tulip bunch at Hobby Lobby, a few half-off sprays at Joann’s and a small cheapy arrangement at Wal-Mart that I harvested to put together for this:

I don’t remember where I got that green pocket holder years ago, but I love it. It’s nice to just toss things in without having to use hot glue or a form to stick the flowers in. I had been considering the idea of a wreath with tulips and a little nest nestled in, and maybe I’ll try that next year, but for now I like this.

I ended up with some leftover flowers after all of that, so I put them in here:

I had an egg on a pick leftover from a flower arrangement years ago and found a package of them at Hobby Lobby, and tried a few of them in the pocket arrangement above, but it just looked too busy. I think if the flowers had been all one color, it would have worked better. I debated about whether to put any in this little arrangement, but finally settled on just the one.

In addition, these two are out year round, but they do look springy!

This is beside my kitchen sink. I don’t remember where I got the little pitcher: I’ve had it for years. But the flowers were just two picks from Home Interiors. I do change the flowers out for fall and Christmas.

The lighting wasn’t ideal for this photo – the sun was streaming in blindingly, but when I closed the blinds and turned on all the lights, it wasn’t quite enough for a clear shot. But anyway, the cloche with the bird nest in it was from Cracker Barrel (I think I may have hinted at it for a gift for Mother’s Day one year. 🙂 ) And the little birds were on sale at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago. The little plaque is metal and I think came from a Christian bookstore in SC.

I enjoyed working on this last week, and now I feel sufficiently springy inside. 🙂

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Hallelujah! He Is Risen!

He Is Risen!

 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:19-22

 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? John 11:25-26

See the Destined Day Arise

See the destined day arise! See a willing sacrifice!
Jesus, to redeem our loss, hangs upon the shameful cross;
Jesus, who but You could bear wrath so great and justice fair?
Every pang and bitter throe, finishing your life of woe?

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Lamb of God for sinners slain!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Jesus Christ, we praise your name!

Who but Christ had dared to drain, steeped in gall, the cup of pain,
And with tender body bear thorns, and nails, and piercing spear?
Slain for us, the water flowed, mingled from your side with blood;
Sign to all attesting eyes of the finished sacrifice.

Holy Jesus, grant us grace in that sacrifice to place
All our trust for life renewed, pardoned sin, and promised good.
Grant us grace to sing your praise, ‘round your throne through endless days,
Ever with the sons of light: “Blessing, honor, glory, might!”

~ Lyrics: Venantius Fortunatus (c.530-600), tr. Richard Mant (1837), Public Domain (original lyrics here); Alt. words, chorus lyrics, and music: Matt Merker, © 2014

Book Review: Songs of the Morning: Stories and Poems for Easter

Song of the MonringSongs of the Morning: Stories and Poems for Easter was compiled by Pat Alexander and includes excerpts from the writings of C. S. Lewis, E. B. White, Dickens and others, some (mostly poems) written by children. I had bought it ages ago from a clearance section, put it on my shelf, noticed it it off and on through the years, and kept forgetting about it at Easter time. Finally this year I remembered to pull it out in the weeks preceding Easter. I like to read something devotional pertaining to Easter during that time, and while this wasn’t that exactly, it was both pleasant and beneficial.

I don’t think I realized, or I had forgotten, that it was geared primarily to children, probably the same age as those who would be able to read the Narnia series. But adults can gain from it, too.

I like that it couches the Easter story within historical context. The first section is “How It All Began” and begins with a short excerpt from a children’s Bible about God creating the world and sin entering in (Pat Alexander also wrote The Lion’s Children’s Bible, which I had not heard of before this, so I don’t know how well it expresses Biblical truth, but the excerpts I read here were fine). Then there are Narnia excerpts about the founding of Narnia and the White Witch and a couple of other sources to further illustrate those truths.

Other sections follow a similar pattern and focus on the birth of Christ, the triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, the crucifixion, and the resurrection. There’s also a section of “The Greatest Love,” with several historical and story illustrations of sacrificial love (like Sydney Carton’s in A Tale of Two Cities and a story about a boy’s dog risking its life to save the boy’s), one called “It’s All Right,” dealing with how new life in Christ should affect our lives in practical terms, like forgiveness of others, and a final one called “A New Beginning.”

The stories come from a variety of countries. Some are old, some are new. Some are from adults’ work, some from children’s books. Some are fun, some are serious. Pat did a fine job putting all these sources together. It doesn’t look like the book is in print any more, but there are copies that can be purchased online, or perhaps you can keep an eye out for it at library sales and such.

(This review will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)

“Come. See the Place Where Jesus Lay”

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Come, see the place where Jesus lay,
And hear angelic watchers say,
“He lives, Who once was slain:
Why seek the Living midst the dead?
Remember how the Savior said
That He would rise again.

”O joyful sound! O glorious hour,
When by His own almighty power
He rose and left the grave!
Now let our songs His triumph tell,
Who burst the bands of death and hell,
And ever lives to save.

The first begotten of the dead,
For us He rose, our glorious Head,
Immortal life to bring;
What though the saints like Him shall die,
They share their Leader’s victory,
And triumph with their King.

No more they tremble at the grave,
For Jesus will their spirits save,
And raise their slumbering dust
O risen Lord, in Thee we live,
To Thee our ransomed souls we give,
To Thee our bodies trust.

— Thomas Kelly

(Full version is here.)

Wishing you a blessed Easter, filled joy, hope, and love because of what our Lord has done for us.