In the space of seven days between December 21 and 27, I commemorate the birth of my marriage, my Savior, and my wife, in that order. Nineteen years; nineteen-hundred-eighty-seven years; and forty years respectively. The weight of my fortune is immense.
Take my marriage, for example. Yes, yes, okay: our marriage. (But what does “my” mean? It means that I feel like the main beneficiary in this relationship. I’m sure I am! So the marriage is mine. Mine! Mine! Like God is my God! Man-centered? Hardly! One of the main principles of Christian Hedonism says: to compliment someone, tell them that being with them makes you happy. To put someone at the center, tell them that they are your joy and treasure. To put yourself at the center, tell them that you have renounced all hedonistic delight in the relationship and intend from now on to preserve it by the performance of disinterested benevolence.)
As I said, take my marriage, for example. We fell in love June, 1966; soared and sublimated until December, 1968; and then vowed to be faithful ‘til death. I now firmly believe that Sovereign Grace rules the world, right down to door locks and leisure reading. Noël was locked out of her dorm and I was reading Guilt and Grace. And that was that. June 6, 1966. There was never anyone else for me—before or after. My favorite song as a teenager was Nat King Cole’s “When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever.” God knew it and kept her for me. Unspeakable mercy.
Then take Noël’s birthday. Yes, yes, I know I could call it “my” birthday because it turned out to be for my benefit. “Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” (Not that I admire Emerson very much. But if you focus on the word “foolish” that is a great line.)
As I was saying, take Noël’s birthday. Norfolk, Virginia, 1947. Her mother wired her father in the Navy half way ‘round the world: “Noël, born 12/27/47.” To which her father responded with another telegram: “Boy or girl?” The confusion was cleared up by 1966, and I have never been in doubt. “In the beginning God made them male and female.” So Grace was ruling already at the beginning.
Finally, take the birth of Jesus. And take it seriously!! It is infinitely more important than mine or Noël’s or our marriage. The Savior saves everything. And because we agree on this there is a Rock beneath. By putting our marriage and ourselves below Jesus, the center of gravity sinks. Down here we are not nearly so easy to tip over.
It is a good time of year. It has its unusual weight. But I have never been one to relish bags of feathers. O Lord, gold! What gold you have given me!