Celebrating Christ This Christmas
How do we celebrate Christmas? Easy! Even the youngest among us knows how. We put up a Christmas tree, decorate our houses, go to Christmas parties, give and receive presents, drink hot cocoa and so much more. Perhaps I could ask a more specific question. How do we celebrate Christ at Christmas? How can we center our celebrations around the one who matters most?
The very first Christmas is recorded in Luke 2. Mary has just given birth to the promised child, and the shepherds in the field have been visited by angels with a message and a grand show of angelic worship (Luke 2:8-14). The Shepherds, curious about the boy, come to find him and report to Mary all they had seen and been told by the angels. Mary’s response is revealing. “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (2:19). What is Mary doing? She is fixing her mind and her heart on the full glory of her savior Jesus. By treasuring up these thoughts, she is guarding them, protecting them. Like a precious object we lock away and keep safe. Nothing else will steal her mind away from the thought of her child and savior.
Not only that, but she also ponders these things. That is, she considers them over and over again. Like a person in such deep thought that they begin to converse with themselves! She is peering into a deep mystery. One that is profound, mysterious, and overwhelmingly magnificent. What are these thoughts? No doubt she is thinking about the good news that Christ brings. The angels tell us that Christ himself is “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (2:10). He is called a “savior” (2:11). Simeon will later proclaim to God, “my eyes have seen your salvation” (2:30) as he gazes upon the infant child. Mary is in awe that God has provided the greatest gift. A light in the darkness! A hope for everlasting life!
Perhaps even greater than this, Mary is fixated on the divine identity of her baby. He is the Christ of God, the Son of God, Immanuel forever. He is “Christ the Lord” (2:11). Yet, shockingly, he is the one “wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (2:12). Mary is pondering the great doctrine of the incarnation, full of awe and wonder.
Most of all, Mary is considering the glory of this one she has been given. The angels proclaim at his birth, “glory to God in the highest” (2:14)! In Christ, God’s glory is displayed. He displays God’s mercy as a savior. He displays God’s faithfulness as the fulfillment of promise. He displays God’s holiness as the redeemer from sin. He showcases the glory of God like no one else!
This Christmas, do as Mary did. Treasure Christ in your heart. Treasure the fullness of his character, mission, and identity. Set you heart and mind on him and let nothing steal your gaze from him. This Christmas, let us celebrate Christ!