I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago (Psalm 77:10,11).
We are entering the season of remembering. Our thoughts will fly back to earlier days and Christmas seasons now gone by. We will recall sights that thrilled us in our youth. In our mind’s ear, we will hear again the friendly voices and the special music. Somehow, what we remember from the past often seems better than what we have now. Remembering the good is good.
Remembering the bad and the sad is not. Some people refer to the holidays as the horrid days. Following the death of a loved one, the empty chair at the family gathering, or the missing voice, brings pain to what should be a happy event.
Sometimes just the sight of others being happy can bring sorrow. For a person who is struggling with PTSD or some other emotional strain, the happiness of others just underscores the lack of joy in the victim’s life. No wonder it is hard to join in on the festivities! Not surprising that the hurting one concludes, “I don’t belong here.” The psalmist who lived long before the first Christmas gives the answer to painful remembering. If we dwell upon people and human events, we will always find something sad lying there. Instead, he said: “I will remember the deeds of the Lord.” The deeds of the Lord are always good. “I will remember your miracles of long ago.” Isn’t that what the celebration of Christmas is all about? Are not the best customs of Christmas, the decorations of Christmas, and the religious music of Christmas there to point us back to the miracles of Christmas? It wasn’t just the virgin birth that was miraculous.
It wasn’t only the miracle of God taking on human flesh. Think of all the miraculous acts that led up to Christmas. Remember all the marvelous deeds recorded in the Old Testament that show the eternal God directing the flow of world events to the climax of Christmas. Then remember everything the Lord has done since then. The events of Good Friday stand out. We dare not forget Easter. We can track the marvelous works of God down through the ages until we come to the point in time when he brought us into his Kingdom. Those wondrous deeds followed us to today. “Lest we forget.” A century ago, the poet Kipling warned his countrymen against forgetting the “God of our Fathers” who had done mighty things for England. Those are words we need to hear, too.
So, let us look forward to the season of remembering. Let us do so without remorse, without pain, and without fear of what we might find there. When we focus on what God has done, we are bound to have a merry Christmas. We are remembering that.
We pray: Lord Jesus, who came to this earth as our Brother and died as our Savior, help us to remember the joys you have given us in the Advent and Christmas seasons past. But keep our eyes and hearts focused upon what you have done for us. Lest we forget. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida-Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military