Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Pondering Christmas

The reason one does not rejoice in the incarnation is for lack of holy meditation upon the subject, its miraculous nature, the promises, the Person, the fruits and this great salvation brought about by His suffering and death. What reason for rejoicing would he who does not attentively reflect upon this have?
- Wilhelmus à Brakel, as quoted by Joel Beeke

We must both read and meditate upon the nativity.  If the meditation does not reach the heart, we shall sense no sweetness, nor shall we know what solace for humankind lies in this contemplation.  The heart will not laugh nor be merry.  As spray does not touch the deep, so mere meditation will not quiet the heart.  There is such richness and goodness in this nativity that if we should see and deeply understand, we should be dissolved in perpetual joy.
- Martin Luther, as quoted by Nancy Guthrie

These words slay me. They convict me of what I should be should be doing this Advent season. Meditating upon the glory of the incarnation. Pondering these things in my heart, as Mary did. I may celebrate the babe in the manger, but I don't fully consider the impact of his coming.

This doesn't mean I shouldn't watch White Christmas and sappy Hallmark movies. Or shop for Christmas gifts and bake cookies. Or even set out the ceramic Santas my mom painted years ago. I can celebrate Christmas because Christ has set me free. But in the midst of Christmas carols, holiday specials, and halls sufficiently decked there is a miracle to be considered. Every day, Jesus rescues me from my pit of sin. Every single day. And that deserves more than a cursory glance of my Bible, a fleeting thought as I sing along with "O Holy Night", and a quick prayer as I light the Advent candles. I cannot fully meditate upon the nativity, as à Brakel and Luther intended, in one month or even a year.

Persis wrote, "We can meditate on the incarnation and have our minds blown away by the mystery of the hypostatic union in December as well as the rest of the year." Her words remind me that the miracle of Christmas isn't confined to a season. Nor should our celebration of it be. Long after the nativity sets are nestled away for another year, may we, like Ebenezer Scrooge, keep Christmas well.

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