Luke 2:10-19 New King James Version (NKJV)
10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”
16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely[b] known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.
18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Like a gift, Christmas is ours to keep! Forever.
--Not just a day, or season. Praising God, always.
--It is God's magnificent gift - Himself! In Jesus!
--God's presence. With us in our heart, day by day.
--To let the Lord live in us .. we in Him .. all the way to heaven. We thus are keepers of Christmas.
Where do we get this? In your Bible, in Luke 2:19.
--Mary kept all these things and pondered them .. in her heart." That is, she often meditated on them.
--Mary was a keeper of Christmas. A model for us.
--So godly God chose her, a virgin to bear God to us.
--A God with skin so we may know, love, be like Him.
--A God who knows us best, yet loves us most.
--A God who came down to show us what God is like as well as to seek and to save lost sinners, as we.
--A Savior worth knowing. Loving, obeying, serving.
--A God "common people heard Him gladly" (Mark 12:37)
This amazing mystery of God come into the world, was announced by angels, to both Mary and Joseph.
--Matthew and Luke give us the valuable details.
--According to perfect fulfillment of prophecies, in due time, Jesus was born in Bethlehem as foretold.
--Humble shepherds in the fields were first to hear.
--And see the angels, as they said, "There is born...to you..this day.. a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11). To do what the Law, others, can't.
--The shepherds were first in an endless line of worshipers, to come "and behold Him." God with us.
--"All those who heard marvelled at those things which were told them by the shepherds" (v 18). Do we?
Joseph and Mary marvelled also, took it all to heart.
--"Mary kept all these things and pondered them .. in her heart." Let's join her in doing that.
--Mary was one of the many keepers of Christmas.
"Wouldn't it be wonderful," someone said to me, "all over the world, if we could keep Christmas always?"
--Indeed it would! Why not? It is meant to be kept.
--Blessed are all who daily seek God's presence.
As a new-born baby can change parent's lives, so Jesus' miraculous birth changed all who believe.
--The Lord demonstrated His deity, by what He did.
--His love and salvation brings out the best in us.
--Of purity. Humility. Compassion. And obedience.
--As we do, "times of refreshing may come from the Lord" (Acts 3:19). We are keepers of Christmas.
This holy season can be difficult for lonely ones.
--Be guided by His leading, as the star led the wise men from afar to find the Lord and worship Him.
--Let us give our kind words..smiles, prayers..for all we can so all may know this dear Savior.
--It is a hurting world, and many need more of Jesus.
"Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and often thought about them" (Luke 2:19 LB).
--Mary never forgot, when at the well in Nazareth an angel came to her. Where we have also stood.
--The angel said, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women," we read in Luke 1:28. Mary, blessed; but "troubled."
--Nevertheless, said to the angel, "Let it be to me according to your word" (v 38). What obedience.
I also imagine Mary pondered her visit to Elizabeth - near Jerusalem, to the Mother of John the Baptist.
--John is an answer to prayer; a miracle in old age to Zechariah and Elizabeth. Later, he baptized Jesus.
--Though godly, Mary needed a Savior, as we all do.
--Mary was bearing that very One - our only Messiah.
What a beautiful song of faith Mary sang to Elizabeth.
--She praises the Lord. Shares her faith and story.
--Do we have a song to sing? A story to tell?
--Of what Jesus has done in our own life? Tell it.
--As we do, we are keeping Christmas.
In the presence of Mary, Elizabeth rejoices, sings, "Blessed are you among women," to Mary, "and blessed is the fruit of your womb" (Luke 1:42). Of Jesus.
--Elizabeth understood Messiah was coming by Mary!
--The long-promised Savior, for a world to keep.
--Mary's presence brought the presence..of God!
Our daughter and husband flew up for a long weekend at Thanksgiving, and to celebrate Christmas.
--They live in Virginia. We, in Maine; so we don't get to visit in person very often.
--So their presence is very special; holy, for me.
--They brought a number of Christmas gifts, including home-baked goodies. They helped me so much.
--Attended the church service. Heard me preach.
--We worshiped together. Ate together. Laughed.
--They did so much, but the best present of all was their presence! Together. Keeping Christmas.
Like Mary, I keep "all these things and ponder them in my heart," being alone, for her Mother is now in heaven. Her laughter, love, singing, gone from us.
--We reminisced on past memories, and made new ones.
--We were, like many of you, being keepers of Christmas, in our hearts. He is the God of all comfort.
Don't you imagine Mary remembered all the times, of Jesus growing up .. His birth .. fleeing to Egypt to be safe from the slaughter of jealous king Herod.
--Of their return to Nazareth, of those years when Jesus was maturing as a special Child.
--Of His helping in the carpentry shop of Joseph.
--And when Jesus left home, for His ministry work.
--The growing awareness, revealing that Jesus is God for "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
--Circle these words in your Bible from John 1:14.
To me, God's presence, by the coming of Jesus, into the world from His heavenly glory, and dwelling with us, going to a cross to save us..is the very best of all presents! A Savior, in us, with us, for us.
--Add to that, His resurrection gives eternal life!
His is the greatest story ever told and greatest life ever lived..bringing the greatest joy.
--What a blessing, to know Jesus as one's Savior.
--That God came down, in Person, at Christmas.
--Not someone else - no angel or substitute - God.
--To be with us, so what comes we can keep Christmas.
Dad was in a nursing home in Texas, we in Michigan.
--He had been alone for some years as Mother was already in heaven. My brother, Charles, lived near.
--We only got to visit Dad about once a year, but we called, especially every Saturday, and talked.
--I asked, "What would you like for Christmas, Dad?"
--I knew the holidays were hard on folks like him.
--His answer, "Just you to come see me, if you can."
God's presence, and that of loved ones, is precious.
So treasure one another, and each day, while we can.
--Do that good deed. Go that second mile. Turn the other cheek. Make that call, or visit. Write the note of greeting .. and of thanks. Offer prayer.
--Or, make that decision for Christ and Church.
--The best present..is God's presence.. and yours.
--As John the Baptist said of Jesus, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). That's it!
--Then, "keep all these things, and ponder them..."
The Gospels tell us a lot about our Lord, but little more about Mary..except coming, with His brothers, to see Jesus..and being at the cross at His death.
--I believe that Mary kept "all these things in her heart," maybe a diary. Of a dear Son, she lost.
--So she could share the facts with Dr. Luke for his Gospel account, "that you may know the certainty of those things" (Luke 1:4). So we have God's truth.
--What we face, may it turn us to God, not from Him.
My dear friend, do you have Jesus? As your Savior?
--Do you know Him as your Lord? Living for Him?
--One can only keep Christmas, if we have Christ.
--He's as near as a prayer. Or a simple decision.
--We may not understand it all; believing, we will.
--A decision you will never regret. "Born again!"
--Then, keep Christmas!
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD. DD. 660