And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate 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 children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did continually.
What Job did early in the morning, after the family festivities, it will be good for the believer to do for himself before he rests tonight. Amid the cheerfulness of household gatherings it is easy to slide into sinful frivolity and to forget our declared character as Christians. It ought not to be so, but sadly it is, that our days of feasting are very seldom days of sanctified enjoyment but too frequently degenerate into unholy amusement. It is possible to experience joy as pure and sanctifying as a dip in the rivers of Eden: Holy gratitude should be just as purifying an element as grief. Sadly for our poor hearts, facts prove that the house of mourning is better than the house of feasting.
Come, believer, how have you sinned today? Have you been forgetful of your high calling? Have you been like others in using empty words and unguarded speech? Then confess the sin, and flee to the sacrifice. The sacrifice sanctifies. The precious blood of the Lamb removes the guilt and purges the defilement of our sins of ignorance and carelessness. This is the best ending of a Christmas day—to wash anew in the cleansing fountain. Believer, come to this sacrifice continually; if it is good tonight, it is good every night. To live at the altar is the privilege of the royal priesthood; to them sin, bad as it is, is nevertheless no cause for despair, since they draw near once more to the sin-atoning victim, and their conscience is purged from dead works.
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.
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.