December 8, 2008

Contemplating Christmas

My much anticipated Advent book arrived late last week. I was so excited! Fortunately, there are only 22 readings so I wasn't really behind. So what is this little Christmas wonder? Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus edited by Nancy Guthrie. The readings are a compilation of "works and sermons" by men of proven character such as George Whitefield, Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, and Augustine. Yet it also includes some of today's men who are faithfully bringing us the gospel: John Piper, Ligon Duncan, Randy Alcorn, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, just to name a few. There are many more and even Joni Earackson Tada makes an appearance (which is good because I have read through her A Christmas Longing for the last two years). I love the variety. Martin Luther's chapter, "The Maiden Mary" was a delightful introduction to the man himself. He is very witty and, for a 16th century author, very concise and readable.
I've tried to incorporate some type of Advent book into my December Bible reading over the last few years, but have found truly meaty ones few and far between. This one not so, as these thoughts from George Whitefield's chapter, "Contemplating Christmas," demonstrate, "And as, my brethren, the time for keeping this festival is approaching, let us consider our duty in the true observation thereof, of the right way for the glory of God, and the good of immortal souls, to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ; an event which ought to be had in eternal remembrance" (12).
Whitefield then describes four ways of how we can best celebrate Christmas:
  • Read the Bible, "...to read that the King of kings and the Lord of lords came from his throne and took upon him the form of the meanest of his servants; and what great things he underwent" (12).
  • Pray, "...these things call for prayer...do be earnest with God, that you may have an interest in this Redeemer, and that you may put on his righteousness..." (12).
  • Declare, or spend time in profitable conversation. Instead of talking about your clothes, parties, end of year bonuses or lack thereof, "let it be the wonders of redeeming love. O tell, tell to each other what great things the Lord has done for your souls" (13).
  • "Have a particular regard to your behavior...for indeed the eyes of all are upon you" (13). "Use the good things of this life with moderation...instead of running into excess, let that money which you might expend to pamper your own bodies, be given to feed the poor..." (13). Now is when they "commonly require relief" and as "Christ was always willing to relieve the distressed...can you better commemorate the birth of your King, your Savior..." (14)

Whitefield ends the chapter with this plea, "...be found in the ways of God; let us not disturb our dear Redeemer by any irregular proceedings; and let me beseech you to strive love, honor, and obey him, more than ever you have done yet; let not the devil engross your time, and that dear Savior who came into the world on your accounts have so little" (14).

What soul food this is! Not only good for contemplating Christmas, but truth for contemplating everyday.

1 comment:

Anna at Joy In Every Step said...

Hi Molly,

Thank you for sharing about this book! Last night I was catching up on my blog reading and read about it over at Girl Talk. As soon as I read about it I knew I wanted to get it and read it. Now knowing that you are enjoying I know that I will defiantly be getting it to read next Christmas.

I wanted to also let you know that the little book gadget that I have up on my blog now is very easy to do. All you would have to do is click on mine were it says get widget to get your own. There are two things that I do not care for. First is that the right half of mine is cut off. I am not sure why that is. Second is that once you post it to your sight, if you want to add or change anything you have to re-enter everything again and start all over. Hope that this helps! Have a wonderful Christmas!

Anna

PS. I like your Christmas Background!