NRL Earflap Hat – Free Beanie Knitting Pattern

005.jpg

With the last game of the 2016 State of Origin series about to grace our screens, what better way to celebrate your team than by knitting your own beanie?

If you have wool left over, check out the other free knitting patterns HERE (cushion cover), and HERE (scarf).

006

NRL Scarf – Free Knitting Pattern

003

So we’ve had State of Origin NRL Cushion Covers (HERE), and now we have State of Origin NRL Scarves.

These are free knitting patterns from Lincraft, so make sure you go in store (or shop online) to get the very best colours and wool.

004

NRL Cushion Cover – Free Knitting Pattern

001

YAY! I’m so happy! My local Lincraft store has released a lot of new knitting patterns.

To help spread the love for those not near a store, I will be uploading them here. Let me know what your favourite is.

002

What’s Happening December 25th?

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 7.43.17 pm

There’s something special coming up, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Oh yeah…CHRISTMAS!!

I was looking on Facebook when I noticed the news trending bar on the side showed the image above. If it hasn’t loaded, it says: ‘Christmas: Dec. 25 Marks Holiday Celebrating Birth of Jesus Christ’.

A few thoughts went through my mind.

  1. Why would anyone need to be reminded of such an obvious event/holiday? Is this revelation really news? I’m more surprised we’re still allowed to mention the J.C. name.
  2. Are there people out there who actually haven’t heard about Jesus? Of course there are, and this makes me feel so sad. I consider Jesus to be not only my God, but my best friend. He is the only one who is always there for me, and always championing me on to do my best. AND lastly,
  3. I love the wording. One of the ridiculous comments Christians usually get around Christmas time is: “You know Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th right?” Like that’s something we’ve never heard before! Of course he wasn’t. With the shepherds out watching over their flock, that time of year wouldn’t make sense. And yes, it does fall on/near a Pagan holiday, but that was pretty much only to give Christians something to do and focus on while they were doing their thing (better explanations are available). What I love about the wording is that it shows that December 25th is a date set aside to celebrate Jesus. Personally, I try to celebrate Jesus everyday; but this is one day of the year where we all focus on the fact that our Powerful Lord Saviour came down to us as a vulnerable babe, lying in a trough.

What does December 25th mean for you?

black-baby-jesus

Little Drummer Boy – A Christmas Carol Study

This song quickly became my favourite after I heard it performed by a band called Pentatonix. I even wrote a review about it HERE.

If you’re after more, check out my other Christmas carol studies: O Little Town of Bethlehem, Away in a Manger, and Silent Night.

Listen to the song, and come along with me as we delve into the meaning behind the lyrics.

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum

412reXnu5+L._SY355_

Who came? This song tells the story of a young boy, coming to see baby Jesus. It does not hold true to any first Christmas records, so don’t try and find it in the Bible. As you will see, it is a beautiful telling of a child who travelled to see baby Jesus, and offering as a gift the only thing he could give: a song on his drum.

The use of a child, instead of an adult is, I think, a beautiful way of commenting on Jesus’ love for children. Jesus often spoke of the beauty of a child’s love and faith. This child was coming before Jesus’ ministry, with enough faith to come for his very birth.

Why a drum? I don’t know about this, and would welcome any thoughts and opinions. In the interest of expanding my knowledge and having an input for it here, I did some research.

There are a few times when percussion instruments were mentioned in the Bible. I found a great site (Drums & the Bible) which explains quite in-depth.

So while I’m not sure if this was what the song writer intended, it is cool to see the connection.

A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum

black-baby-jesus

Where would you expect a king to be born? In a palace? Surrounded by legions of loyal followers and servants? How about in a manger in a stable, surrounded by smelly animals? Jesus had only just been born and he was already a King. As both the Son of God, and God, he is the King of us all, and if we accept Jesus’ gracious gift of salvation, we get to spend eternity with him.

Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

5133MSPHvRL._SX425_

As I said above, who would bring expensive gifts to a baby from a no-name family? The Bible tells us of three gifts given to baby Jesus: Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. Have you ever thought what these specific gifts meant? Were they chosen by the wise men (remember, they were not kings and were most likely more than three) because they were symbols, or did they also have more practical reasons? Let’s have a look together.

GOLD – Gold represents kingship. At numerous times in the Bible, gold was a gift given to kings. It was also something that would pay for their journey.

FRANKINCENSE – Frankincense could have symbolised Jesus’ priestly role. At the time, frankincense had been used for health, funeral purposes, and in the temple. It was used in sacrifices, and could have symbolised the sacrifice they knew Jesus would have to make.

MYRRH – The gift of myrrh was possibly a comment on his future – as it was often used in death and embalming. I found an article on website (HERE) that explains it much better than I could. It reads:

Myrrh was also a product of Arabia, and was obtained
from a tree in the same manner as frankincense. It was a
spice and was used in embalming. It was also sometimes
mingled with wine to form an article of drink. Such a drink
was given to our Savior when He was about to be crucified,
as a stupefying potion (Mark 15:23). Matthew 27:34 refers to
it as “gall.” Myrrh symbolizes bitterness, suffering, and
affliction. The baby Jesus would grow to suffer greatly as a
man and would pay the ultimate price when He gave His life
on the cross for all who would believe in Him.

So to honour Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

While it is unknown where the little drummer boy was supposed to have come from, the wise men (Magi) most likely came from Babylon or Ancient Persia. Despite what the Christmas carols and nativity scenes show, a cursory read of the gospels shows that the wise men actually wouldn’t have been at the birth of Jesus. From their talk with Herod, and other mentions, they would have arrived 1-2 years later. They still brought gifts, but not at the birth.

Pum pum pum pum pa rum pum pum
pum pum pum pum pa rum pum pum
pum pum pum pum pa rum pum pum
pum pum pum ahh

Chinese-drum

Drumming…

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum

We have heard them call Jesus the “King”, but here we see another part of Jesus. He came down to Earth to live as a human. Here, he was a little baby. What is more precious that a little baby? The fact that the most powerful became something to little and vulnerable, is awe inspiring.

I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum

I’ve heard different opinions on the wealth of Jesus (well, at this time, Mary and Joseph).

What we know about Joseph was that he was a carpenter. Nothing seems to indicate they were wealthy in anyway, and we are repeatedly told Jesus was poor. During his ministry, they relied on the kindness of others to supply them with lodging and food.

At the time of Jesus’ birth, Joseph did not have enough money or prestige to get them an appropriate place to stay. The gifts from the Magi (even if they were given 1-2 years later) would have helped, but it most likely would have been used to fund their escape to Egypt.

I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give a king, pa rum pum pum
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?
(pum pum pum part)

Have you ever felt like someone has given you so much and you could never repay them? How about when Christmas comes around and everyone is swapping presents, and you realise a lot more effort and money went into the present you were given than the one you gave out? Wouldn’t you feel worse if the one getting the short end of the stick was God as human Jesus who came to earth to die for our sins?

In this song, the little drummer boy, he is a poor boy who travelled to greet the Lord in human form, and didn’t have anything worthy enough to give as a gift. With God doing so much for us, it is easy for us to feel inadequate, but we must remember that God loves us and only wants us to accept the sacrifice his son made. There is no list of good deeds that will make us worthy, and no gift we can give to God, because everything is already his!

So what does the little drummer boy do? He shares the gift of music that he had been blessed with. One common misconception about Christianity (from those that want to make it fit to their desires, not God’s) is that as long as you do your best, you will go to Heaven. While the little drummer boy did his best, he did it FOR Jesus. We need to acknowledge that Jesus is God (in the Holy Trinity), that he came to earth as a human, taught, healed, died on the cross, and rose again, all so that we could have eternal life with him in Heaven.

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum

I read something the other day about Joseph not being mentioned in the birth records; not even a ‘midwife’. The Bible says Mary wrapped Jesus in the strips, and Mary laid him in the manger. Being a first time father, there might not have been much he could have contributed. In this song, Mary nodded. I love this mother-son bonding.

The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum

I don’t know what to comment about this part. If you have any comments, please leave them below. I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts.

I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,
(pum pum pum part)

As it was said before, there is nothing better than giving your best to God.

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

This song ends with Jesus showing not just his approval – which could have been a nod – but his love, shown in a smile.

I love this song and really enjoyed looking into the meanings behind the lyrics.

What did you think?

Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below so it can be made well-rounded.

Surroundings Beret – Free Beanie Knitting Pattern

It may not be Winter and beanie-weather here, but I found a pattern I wanted to share with you.

Lincraft is a one-stop-shop for all things art, craft, and homewares. They have a store quite close to my house, and I haven’t been able to stop myself from going in there all the time, almost opening my own store at my house!

On display for everyone needing a new project, I found a free knitting pattern.

20151122_213312

Today we will be making the Surroundings Beret beanie.

MEASUREMENTS
To fit head – 56cm

YARN REQUIRED
1x 100g ball

20151122_213505

NEEDLES
1x 6mm knitting needles (I used 5mm size because I didn’t have 6, and it worked well)

20151122_213452

1x wool needle for sewing up

TENSION
16.5sts and 19 rows to 10cm over stocking st, using 6mm needles

DIFFICULTY
Easy. You only need to know how to do a few different stitches.
Requires: K, P, K2tog, P2tog, M1

BERET
Using 6mm needles, cast on 79sts.

20151122_214848

1st row: K2, * P1, K1, rep from * to last st, K1.
2nd row: K1, * P1, K1, rep from * to end.
Rep 1st and 2nd rows twice.

20151123_010929
7th row: K1, * M1, K2, rep from * to end … 118sts.
Work in stocking st, beg with a purl row, until work measures 13cm from beg, ending with a purl row.

20151202_005636

SHAPE CROWN
1st row: K1, * K2tog, K7, rep from * to end … 105sts.
2nd and alt rows: Purl.
3rd row: K1, * K2tog, K6, rep from * to end.
5th row: K1, * K2tog, K5, rep from * to end.
7th row: K1, * K2tog, K4, rep from * to end.
9th row: K1, * K2tog, K3, rep from * to end.
11th row: K1, * K2tog, K2, rep from * to end.
13th row: K1, * K2tog, K1, rep from * to end.
15th row: K1, * K2tog, rep from * to end.
16th row: * P2tog, rep from * to end … 7sts.
Break off yarn, run end through rem sts, draw up tightly and fasten off securely.

20151219_200926

FINISHING
Join back seam. Sew in all ends.

Silent Night – A Christmas Carol Study

This is the third blog post in a series dissecting Christmas Carols. I’ve been going through the lyrics, and explaining how they are wonderful testaments to the glory and love that is the birth of Jesus, Son of God.

You can check out O Little Town Of Bethlehem (HERE), and Away in a Manger (HERE).

This post is about the classic carol Silent Night.

Silent night, Holy night

There are a lot of Christmas carols that refer to the night of the birth of Jesus as ‘silent’ and ‘still’.

While I do not think there are any records of a specific lull, and Bethlehem being inundated with many families coming to register for the census ordered by Caesar Augustus, I think it is referring to the lack of royal heraldry that should surround the birth of a king.

Jesus, the saviour and promised king, was not born in a palace surrounded by servants; he was born in a stable (although exact locations are still debated) and laid in a manger with animals and a handful of admirers around him. Despite all of the ‘clues’ throughout the Old Testament that pointed right to Jesus, barely anyone recognised the signs. It was both silent, and Holy.

Round yon virgin, mother and child

d98795531843a4d2502ed106b6b9d5901

This line might be mistaken as saying “young”, commenting on Mary’s age. However, it is important to know that there are no indications that Mary was especially young. Instead, it refers to the prophecies and actualities of the event. In the Old Testament, we hear of Isaiah, a prophet who spoke God’s word during the time when Israel and Judah were separated. He foretold events that were close to happening, as well as those which would come long after he died. One of these things was the virgin birth of Jesus.

Isaiah 7:14 reads: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

A virgin becoming pregnant and having a child was not a common thing. It was a miracle, meaning it wasn’t happening all the time. But there is one ‘person’ who could make it happen, and that was the Creator God who made and implemented these laws of nature in the first place. But you might ask, why did God choose a virgin birth? There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, as I wrote above, a virgin giving birth was not something that happened. No one had heard of it before, and it was a clear sign that this event was the one God had spoken about since the first sin.

Secondly, even though all humans are sinful, and Mary was not immune to this, Jesus was not considered a sinner before birth, because Joseph was not technically his father. In ancient Hebrew culture, it was the head of the house – the man – that influenced the sinfulness of the whole family. When we talk about Adam and Eve, even though Eve was the first to break God’s rules, Adam was, in essence, responsible for her and her actions. The male line carries the sin, and with Jesus’ male line coming from God, he was sinless even before birth.

Holy infant, tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

baby-jesus-sleeping

At every stage, Jesus bucked the human-ideal of a King. Being referred to as ‘tender’ and ‘mild’ would not have been a compliment for them. However, Jesus never changed his mild demeanour. He taught against violence and hate, and performed wondrous miracles without demanding attention.

As the Son of God, the creator of Heaven, Jesus lived there before coming down to Earth, and this repeated line seems to point to his knowledge of his Godliness even as a young babe.

Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light

When you think of Jesus, you immediately think of love. No one, not even the Pharisees desperate to demean his name and Godly-personage, could truthfully state a sin he committed.

Jesus also called himself ‘the Light’. John 8:12 records: “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” This is a beautiful representation of God’s love and power, as light is not only comforting – as in a night-light to little children – but light drives out the darkness, darkness cannot drive out the light.

Radiant beams from thy holy face

How many of you have seen images like the ones above? Have you ever thought about why Jesus – and Saints in Catholicism – have their head surrounded by a circle of light?

This ring of light is called a halo and features in all sorts of art. When we see them in relation to Jesus, it is a way of attempting to capture the light that shone from his face. No, Jesus did not actually have a glowing head, it is a symbol of his pureness and the love that emanated from him. One definition of ‘radiance’ is: great joy or love, apparent in someone’s expression or bearing. (As a side-note, an example I found for this definition is about a bride’s radiant smile, which is an interesting connection, because Jesus is often referred to as being ‘married’ to the church).

A few Bible verses use this imagery.

The Lord make his face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
Numbers 6:25

So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel
saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face
shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
Exodus 34:30

Who is like the wise man and who knows
the interpretation of a matter? A man’s
wisdom illumines him and causes his stern
face to beam.
Ecclesiastes 8:1

There are many, many more examples, which you can find HERE.

With the dawn of redeeming grace,

Jesus was only just born, and already he was being praised for his Godliness and Holiness. Not only was this because the people knew who he was, but because it was the beginning of all they had been promised. They knew what he had come to do, and for that promise to have come true, it meant all the other promises would as well.

The Israelites hadn’t always had a smooth existence. We all know about the Israelites being held as slaves in Egypt and God’s miraculous rescue. However, it was far from being the only example. With every human tracing back to Adam and Eve, it is natural the story goes all the way back to them. God spoke to Satan, and Genesis 3:15 reads: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” This ‘he’ is Jesus, who Satan knew would one day destroy him. So at every chance he got, Satan has tried to turn people from God, and mess-up God’s plan to have Jesus be born. All too many times Israel turned from God and got their deserved punishment, and at the time of Jesus’ birth, they were under Roman rule. So with Jesus the fulfilment of the birth, they knew they were on the ‘dawn’ of their redemption from Satan and sin.

Jesus, Lord at thy birth
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

black-baby-jesus

It is in the New Testament that we learn the most about Jesus. Throughout the Old Testament, we are told what to expect and look for, but it is through the Gospels that we fully learn about our Lord, Jesus. Most of the accounts tell of Jesus’ ministry, with a few telling of his birth, and very little about his childhood.

So does that mean Jesus was not God when he was younger? Did he not know? I, personally, believe Jesus knew he was God from birth, and that is what this repeated line means to me. They were not back-projecting praise when he became God later-on in life, they were saying that he was God since birth.

Silent night, Holy night
Shepherds quake, at the sight

lluu8

Despite a lot of Christmas carols saying three Kings came to visit Jesus, there are no actual account of this. Instead, it was shepherds, and then Wise Men (there are no times when it says three, people just assume that because they brought three gifts).

The shepherds were watching their flocks one night (also noteworthy is that Jesus most likely wasn’t born on December 25 because the weather wouldn’t have permitted shepherds and their flocks at that time). Suddenly, Angels of Heaven appeared to them. These beings are not the angels seen above, and were strange looking creatures.

I found a good description on a website called What Christians Want To Know:

Angels are not composed of physical matter but are spirit
beings created by God (Heb. 1:14).  They can resemble human
form when God permits or wills it (Gen. 19).  There are different
orders or ranks of angels in heaven.  Those that covered the
throne in heaven were mighty seraphim angels.  They had six
wings that hovered over the throne of God.   Two of the
seraphim’s wings covered their faces because God is so holy that
even the seraphim angels could not look upon God (Isaiah 6:2).
Another set of wings covered their feet for they were in the midst
of holy ground where God abided and Moses (Exodus 3:5) and Joshua (Joshua 5:15) had to remove their shoes while in the presence of
God.  Angels do have some human features like feet, voices,
and faces (Isaiah 6:1-2).

If you witnessed something like this, you would “quake at the sight” too. Even if they were in human-like form, there was still something about them that wasn’t usual.

Glories stream from heaven above
Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.

angels-singing-1

We read in the above section that the shepherds were terrified of this strange sight. Imagine their amazement when the angels began singing! ‘Hallelujah’ means ‘Praise the Lord’.

I recently got a children’s picture Bible (reviewed HERE), and I think it explains this part so all people can understand:

Then, all at once, the whole sky was full
of angels. They were singing together,
praising and thanking God for his gift to
the world. “Glory to God in heaven,” they
sang, “and peace on earth to those who
love him.”

What a spectacular sight and something to write about!

Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born.

What is a ‘Saviour’? The dictionary defines it as: “a person who saves someone something from danger or difficulty.” Sounds interesting, but still kind of bland. Jesus is the Saviour, but he is definitely not bland.

There’s a lot to this, so I’ll summaries it in points and can explain further upon request.

  1. We were made to be sinless and live with God. God is holy and perfect, so can’t be around sin and let it continue.
  2. When Adam and Eve sinned, they were telling God that they wanted him to take a step back, so he did.
  3. With God’s eternal life for us now gone (remember, God can’t let sin continue and thrive), we were going to die. God didn’t want that to be the end.
  4. God taught Adam and Eve (who taught the continuing generations, etc.) how to conduct sacrifices. This death of animals wasn’t pleasant, and each time, they would have to see what their sin was doing (there was no death or suffering before the first sin). This death was to take the place for their death, making them once again right with God. But these were only animals, and it wasn’t enough to cover ALL of their future sins.
  5. There was only one sacrifice that could cover the sin, and that was a pure and sinless being. Not only this, but this being needed to defeat death. Death is an enemy to be feared, and needed to be overcome. Jesus was this being.

Jesus was – and is – definitely our saviour. He saved us from the danger of sin and eternal death.

Will you be thinking about these reasons the next time you sing Silent Night?

What is it about this song that you love the most? Let me know in the comments below, or write your own blog post and link me!