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“Christmas and Meditation”

9th Day of Advent

December 5, 2022

As the shepherds returned to their flocks that night, Luke tells us that Mary took time to reflect. “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2.19). How could she ever forget that night?!?

The shepherds find the infant Christ lying in a manger, Hole, William Brassey (1846-1917)

Take time to think, to meditate, to pray, and to be absorbed with the truths of Christmas. When I listen to our cultural voices of Christmas, one of the voices heard repeatedly is the voice of busyness. So many things have to be done – Christmas parties, shopping for the right gifts, decorations, travel, taking in Christmas concerts, attending the kid’s Christmas plays – all good things, but where is the time for personal reflection and thinking about the great truths of Christmas? The greatest truth of Christmas – Jesus?

We should all be like Mary, taking time to treasure everything about Christmas, pondering over the truths of our Savior’s birth in our hearts. Take time to think and meditate this Christmas. Meditate on how God has worked in your life. That’s what Mary did, and God is at work in and through our lives in the very same way.

That’s what I love about Advent.

Take these daily thoughts and process them. What would have Mary thought about that night after the shepherds had gone? Schedule daily time for quietness and reflection during this Christmas season. What is it that God wants to reveal to you about Himself? What is it that He wants to show us about ourselves and His work in our lives this Christmas?

Read the Christmas stories to your children and grandchildren over and over again. They cannot hear them too much.

Read them for yourself again and again. I willingly confess that teaching and preaching over 200 Advent sermons and lessons (that’s over 4 years of sermons on Christmas) during 50 years of ministry has deepened the way I think about Jesus and the Christmas season. The more you read them the more you will think about them.

Although I love the music, carols, and movies of Christmas, turn the media down and enter the world of quietness. Listen for God in the stillness. He does not and cannot penetrate the distracting noise that keeps us from focusing on Him. He invades our world through quietness. In our culture, however, we don’t like quietness – we always need to be doing something, hearing something, or watching something. Technology is addictive.

I think of the words of the prophet Isaiah;

“In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.But you were not willing" (Isaiah 30.15).

I pray his words will not be true of us this Christmas season. I pray that we would be willing (even eager) to be quiet in His presence this Christmas season.

Enjoy the worship of Christ each Sunday through the Advent services in your church. Be there a few minutes early. Stay a few minutes after the service and rest – pondering the truths of Christmas you just preached and/or sung.

Or if you are in a rush, do what my friend and mentor, Dr. Leon Ware, always taught me; “Rush ahead slowly.” Take time to ponder and absorb Christmas.

“But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2.19). We should all find time to be more like Mary this Christmas.

Happy 9th day of Advent!

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