Today's history is not about a Christmas carol, but about a hymnwriter born on Christmas Eve.
Yesterday I commented to a friend about how many hymns were written out of tragedy, giving them a greater depth and meaning than we often realize. Amazingly, God redeems our challenges and trials, not only for our growth, but so we can develop a greater compassion toward others, and encourage them when they find themselves on the same rocky path.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When I read Miss Flint's story I realized how my life has been touched by her music, and how grateful I am for the grace God gave Annie on her rocky path of life.
"Annie Johnson Flint was born on Christmas Eve 1866 in a small New Jersey town, and her life was hard from the beginning. After her mother's early death, Annie was taken in by the Flint family, and she grew up to become a schoolteacher.
"Her professional life was cut short, however, by a crippling form of arthritis, and Annie was left an invalid with little income.
"Grasping a pen in gnarled fingers, she began writing poems and hymns such as 'He Giveth More Grace' and 'What God Hath Promised.' On July 28, 1916, her poem on heaven was read by Dr. James Gray at the funeral of Harry Monroe, the famous leader of the Old Lighthouse, the Pacific Garden Mission of Chicago."
Christmas, the celebration of Christ's first coming so many years ago, is a wonderful time to re-focus our gaze on the promised second coming of Christ and our eternal Home. One day we will be forever in our Savior's presence - liberated forever from pain, loneliness and death. Hallelujah!
by Annie Johnson Flint
"Tis not the golden streets,
'Tis not the pearly gates,
'Ti not the perfect rest
For weary hearts that waits,
'Tis not that we shall find
The joy earth has not given,
For which our souls have longed,
That makes it Heaven.
"But 'tis because we know
Our Savior King is there
With all our loved and lost
In that blest land so fair;
That when to each of us
A place prepared is given,
His face and theirs we'll see,
That makes it Heaven."
Hymn history from "Near to the Heart of God - Meditations on 366 Best-Loved Hymns," by Robert J. Morgan.