For this first Sunday in December we post an excerpt from a sermon of George Whitefield (1714-1770) found in the book Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas (ed. Nancy Guthrie; Crossway, 2008).
The book’s title of this sermon is “Contemplating Christmas,” adapted from a sermon titled “The Observation of the Birth of Christ, the Duty of All Christians; or the True Way of Keeping Christmas.”
Here is part of what Whitefield had to say in the beginning of that message:
It was love, mere love; it was free love that brought the Lord Jesus Christ into our world. What, shall we not remember the birth of Jesus? Shall we yearly celebrate the birth of our temporal king [of England], and shall that of the King of kings be quite forgotten? Shall that only, which ought to be had chiefly in remembrance, be quite forgotten? God forbid!
No, my brethren, let us celebrate and keep this festival of our church with joy in our hearts: let the birth of a redeemer, which redeemed us from sin, from wrath, from death, from hell, be always remembered; may this Savior’s ;love never be forgotten! But may we sing forth all his love and glory as long as life shall last here, and through an endless eternity in the world above! May we chant forth the wonders of redeeming love and the riches of free grace, amidst angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim, without intermission, forever and ever!
And at the end, he had this to say about contemplating especially the love of Christ:
Let me now conclude, my dear brethren, with a few words of exhortation, beseeching you to think of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Did Jesus come into the world to save us from death, and shall we spend no part of our time in conversing about our dear Jesus; shall we pay no regard to the birth of him who came to redeem us from the worst of slavery, from that of sin, and the devil; and shall this Jesus not only be born on our account, but likewise die in our stead, and yet shall we be unmindful of him? Shall we spend our time in those things which are offensive to him? Shall we not rather do all we can to promote his glory and act according to his command?
…O be not so ungrateful to him who has been so kind to you! What could the Lord Jesus Christ have done for you more than he has? Then do not abuse his mercy, but let your time be spent in thinking and talking of the love of Jesus, who was incarnate for us, who was born of a woman, and made under the law, to redeem us from the wrath to come (pp.11-15).