‘And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.’ Luke 2:17–20
Suggested Further Reading: Luke 4:14–22
Begin with the eighteenth verse—wondering! Wondering that you are spared, wondering that you are not in hell, wondering that his good Spirit still strives with the chief of sinners. Wonder that this morning the gospel should have a word for you after all your rejections of it and sins against God. I should like you to begin there, because then I should have good hope that you would go on to the next verse and change the first letter, and so go from wondering to pondering. Oh sinner, I wish you would ponder the doctrines of the cross. Think of your sin, God’s wrath, judgment, hell, your Saviour’s blood, God’s love, forgiveness, acceptance, heaven—think on these things. Go from wondering to pondering. And then I would to God you could go on to the next verse, from pondering to glorifying. Take Christ, look to him, trust him. Then sing ‘I am forgiven,’ and go your way a believing sinner, and therefore a sinner saved, washed in the blood, and clean. Then go back after that to the seventeenth verse and begin to tell to others. But as for you Christians who are saved, I want you to begin this very afternoon at the seventeenth and tell of your Saviour. Then when the day is over, get up to your chambers and wonder, admire and adore; go on tonight, tomorrow, and all the days of your life, glorifying and praising God for all the things that you have seen and heard.
For meditation: Wondering, pondering, glorifying and telling are admirable things to do on Christmas Eve as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s first coming; they are also appropriate ways in which to prepare for his second coming (1 Corinthians 15:51–58).
Sermon no. 666
24 December (1865)