How to Celebrate Christmas: God’s Glory

This is the final installment of J.M. Boyce’s “How To Celebrate Christmas” from the book, The Christ of Christmas.

If these four means of Celebrating Christmas seem right to you, and if you want to put them into practice, I suggest that you begin not with the first verse (Luke 2:17) but with verses 18, 19, and 20.  Verse 17 says that we are to tell others what we have seen and heard; but we can hardly do that effectively until we have first been amazed at Christ’s birth, pondered its meaning, and glorified and praised God for it.  You cannot tell that which you have not first felt and experienced.

So begin by wondering – wondering at the fact that you have not suffered the just punishment of your sin, that God has loved you, that Jesus came and died for you, that God called you to faith in Himself when you were yet without hope of salvation, and that you are now God’s child and secure in His love.  Continue by thinking upon these things.  Ponder the great doctrines of the Christian faith – doctrines of the incarnation, atonement, grace, sanctification, heaven, perseverance, and others – so that you begin to grow strong in doctrine.  Glorify and praise God for what you know.  Sing God’s praises. Then, when you have done that and are qualified to speak, go back and tell others.

Furthermore, do not think that you need to go back to church in order to do those things, but learn rather to do them wherever God sends you – in your home, school, business.  That is what the shepherds did.  We are told that they “returned,” glorifying and praising God.  To what did they return”  Why, to their sheep, obviously.  And there, where they had first heart the angels’ song, they themselves were heard to be singing God’s praise.

May God give you grace to do that.  If you and I and all others who call upon the name of our God should do it, the whole world would rightly resound with His praise.

SDG

How To Celebrate Christmas #3: Mary Pondered

J.M. Boyce writes in his book, “The Christ of Christmas”

The third way in which you and I can celebrate Christmas is to ponder it, for Mary, we are told, “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).  Pondering is connected with amazement, of course, for it begins with it.  But it also goes beyond amazement as an attempt to understand the mystery or figure it out.  It implies a diving beneath the surface.  If involves an effort to enter into the heart and counsels of God.  Do that.  Spend some time at Christmas thinking over what you know of God and trying to understand the ways of God more fully.

May I add one other thought to that?  Pondering is work.  It is not just brooding or getting into a pious frame of mind.  It is an attempt to take what you know and then by an exercise of the mind to build upon it.  Think what it involved in the case of Mary, Jesus’ mother.  First, it involved her member; for we are told that she “treasured up all these things.”  Second, it involved her affections, for she “treasures up all these things… in her heart.”  Third, it involved her intellect; for she “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Can you do that as a Christian?  Of course, you can.  You can remember the events.  You an remember the moment in which they became real for you personally.  You can sharpen up your affections; indeed, when you must, for it is a terrible thing to have your love for the one who is the Lord of love grow cold.  Then you can think about these things and allow God to teach you more about Himself.  Our time is poorly spent if we allow daily affairs to eclipse times of pondering upon God’s Word.

SDG