Tonight Dick and I begin our twelve nights of Christmas, which our family implemented about thirty years ago. In many countries Christmas celebrations begin after Christmas Day with parties, family gatherings, giving of gifts, and of sharing many, many cookies! Each night we included the reading of Christmas cards and praying for those who sent them, naming a blessing we had received during that year, and then enjoying an activity or gift. Tonight after sending this out to you, I think we will watch one of our Christmas movies (life was too full before Christmas with other wonderful events).
Several thoughts have been on my mind throughout this month as I meditated on the story of Jesus’ birth from the gospel of Luke and I want to share them with you in hopes that you, too, might have hope, joy, and peace this Christmas season.
“Pass me not”
First was the idea that God will not pass us by. The shepherds were going about their business of tending sheep when suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared with a message and then told the shepherds where to find this newborn babe (Luke 2:6-12). I was encouraged that no matter what is happening or not happening in our life at any given moment, when God has something for us know or to do, He will not pass us by. Are you feeling forgotten or constantly wondering about what the future may hold? Keep on “tending your sheep.” God will not pass you by.
Joy and Peace
Second was the joy and peace the angels brought with their message of the newborn babe. “Fear not: for, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10, 11). Isn’t it amazing that this message was for all people including you and me? And then a “multitude of the heavenly host came praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:13, 14). This message gave us hope for peace on earth and good will toward men. But I wonder if it first begins in me. Do I have an internal peace and a heart to do good toward my fellow man? Yes, but only because I have believed the message that the angels brought 2000 years ago.
And thirdly the idea of pondering things we hear or see. Mary, the mother of Jesus, “kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). What does pondering mean? Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary 1961, (left over from my grade school days), says “ponder: to weigh in the mind; to meditate; deliberate.” It appears this young mother had the ability to ponder the happenings in her life and keep them deep in her heart. Did she understand the implication of this Savior born to her? Maybe not at that time, but her heart seemed to be at peace, full of joy over the birth of her baby son, and thinking of the future hope yet to come.
I wish you all joy, peace, and a hope knowing God will not pass you by
Well, these are my thoughts concerning the Christmas story this year and I have been checking my life to make sure I am at peace, have joy, and a hope for the future. It is certainly good to ponder rather than to rush into a hasty decision or judgment. I want to be like Mary and hide these sayings and precious things in my heart. I wish you all joy, peace, and a hope knowing that God will not pass you by. Keep pondering.
Merry Christmas and God’s blessings in the New Year.
Lovingly yours, Sharon