“So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.” Job 1:5 (NKJV)
December 25th, 2020 will probably go down in history as being a very strange Christmas holiday. The phrase “We’re all in this together so let’s mask up, keep social distancing to help contain the spread” is a real head-scratcher for me and it has left me wanting someone, ANYONE, to say something else. Perhaps “Happy Holidays” instead? Now, please, don’t get on your “It’s Merry Christmas” soapbox just yet (after all, I’m on your side with that). However, I think with all the weirdness this holiday season will produce, it may be a good idea to head into the classics and reflect with those who had the talent to reflect.
Like any “proper” Christian out there, I keep a copy of Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” in my personal library. So, I decided to look and see what good ole’ C.H. had to say on Christmas Day, and rest assured I wasn’t disappointed. It’s funny how the book cut the dust as I pulled it off the shelf. It was as if 1868 had a special way of plowing snow…anyway.
Of course, Spurgeon would start with a quote from Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel” and then invite us to go to Bethlehem, let us see Him who was born King of the Jews. Spurgeon tells us, “The first promise involved the seed of the woman—not the offspring of man. Since adventuresome woman led the way in the sin that brought forth Paradise lost, she, and she alone, ushers in the One who could regain paradise.” It’s in this moment where I, just a mere modern man, wonders… “Did his wife ever lean over his shoulder and read his work? I can only imagine the eye-roll I would get if I left out the part that Adam was there too” However, this is a Christmas devotional and it’s Spurgeon , so I’ll just digress.
As it continues, I’ll read, “The babe of Bethlehem appears to be manifestly with us in weakness and in poverty.” The morning devotion ends, I turn the page, and when what to my wondering eyes did appear but a passage from Job and…. HUH? JOB? Job ain’t Christmas. How could Job be Christmas? He’s closer to the Book of Revelation than the birth of Christ. How is Job Christmas?
Spurgeon makes the answer clear. It isn’t Job that makes a Christmas devotional, it’s what Job faithfully did that makes this a devotional. Spurgeon makes use of how Job continually made atonement for his entire family then encourages his reader to do the same. His reason is simple, “Amid the cheerfulness of family gatherings, it is easy to slide into sinful frivolities and to forget our avowed character as Christians.” In my own past, Christmas celebrations turned away from the true Christmas story and into the many movie versions instead (I-triple-dog-dare ya!!).
Spurgeon will remind us that “To live at the altar is the privilege of the royal priesthood. As great as it is, sin is nevertheless no cause for despair, since believers may yet again draw near to the sin-atoning Sacrifice, and have their consciences purged from dead works.” A classic reminder that Christmas is more about why Jesus Christ needed to come to this earth and for who rather than rushing to see what’s under the Christmas tree (You’ll shoot your eye out).
Yeah…it’s true. This year Christmas may not be everything we’ve gotten used to but that doesn’t give us an excuse to step out of our reason for the season and protest against the masses just because we deem it so. Instead, maybe we need to ask ourselves, “Come, believer, in what have you sinned today? Have you been forgetful of your high calling? Have you been as those who speak idle words and have loose tongues?” If you’re like me then you’ve answered yes to those three questions and maybe we both need to take the same moment that Job did and offer up our confession of fault.
I’m sure there’ll be many more catchphrases that’ll attach themselves to 2020 but we would do ourselves a great service to possibly leave them behind (Nadafinga) and gaze up in containment and say a simple “Thank You for Jesus”. As I wrap up for today allow me to end the way Spurgeon ended his Christmas Day devotional…
“Gladly I close this festive day
Grasping the altar’s hallow’d horn;
My slips and faults are washed away
The Lamb has all my trespass borne.”
I hope all of you who join us daily have a Merry Christmas…AMEN?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at email@example.com