Benjamin Franklin said:
“How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, His precepts!”
I find this rather interesting since history and biographies tell us that Benjamin Franklin did not believe in a God who was active in the world – the God he believed in was far off and distant. I find myself wondering how such a brilliant man could be so misled about God’s activity in the world around us. But how often do I do things my way without even a thought, acting independently, not listening for if God would have me do something another way – I just get so wrapped up in what I’m doing. I know He walks beside me, He’s in me, He’s with me every step of every day. It’s just that it is so easy to get caught up in life, especially around Christmas, that it takes effort to focus on Him even though we’re surrounded by Christmas through music, sermons, decorations, etc. Things get busy and it’s harder to make the time to sit at His feet and just be still, to listen, to be filled. But I find that this time of year, I have to be more intentional about seeking Him so that I stay in communion with Him. So in an effort to be intentional this year, I came up with A Joyful Plan (I blogged that a few posts ago).
One other thing that struck me about this quote is how true it still is for today’s culture. Our culture is so into celebrating the season that the meaning is usually lost. We should celebrate! But we should remember why we’re celebrating. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord (Luke 2:11). We have a Savior and his name is Jesus! He came to redeem, restore, rebuild, rescue, and ravish us with his love. With a God as amazing as that, why wouldn’t we want to celebrate the day of His birth?? That’s why part of my intention in my Joyful Plan is to spend time reading back through the Gospels again, to spend time getting to know Jesus. And what has proved to be so helpful in this is by reading a harmony of the Gospels. It is a combination of all four Gospels in chronological order, melded together to tell the four accounts in one story.
When I read this quote, I found myself pondering the second part of the statement. So I went searching through the Bible and found Psalm 19:7-9:
7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
The decrees of the LORD are firm,
and all of them are righteous.
When we obey His precepts, His laws, it brings joy to our hearts. And isn’t that really what Christmas is about? Experiencing the joy of our Savior coming to earth? I guess that’s what I need to ponder: Is there something God is calling me to obedience in? I want to be walking in obedience to Him so I can experience the fullness of joy in my heart while celebrating Him this Christmas!