A Christmas message, based on Luke 2:1-20
I read an old legend about a Christmas party that satan and his pack of demons were having in hell. As the demonic guests were departing, one laughed and grinned and sarcastically said to Satan, “Merry Christmas your majesty!” At that, Satan replied with a growl, “Yes, keep it merry. If they ever get serious about it, we’ll all be in trouble.”
The focus of Christmas is Jesus, the Messiah and we need to be serious about it. It is the coming of God in the form of a person. It is the intervention of God’s presence among humanity. What we celebrate at Christmas is all part of God’s rescue plan for His created world.
But what a time for God to come to earth in the form of His Son Jesus. There was great tension between Israel and its overlord, Rome, who ruled harshly by imposed their military might. Many Israelites refused to toe the Roman line. There was sedition and plots whispered throughout the land. Revolution seemed to be close at hand! It was into this apocalyptic environment that Jesus came into the world… the son of David born in the ancient, holy, royal city of Bethlehem.
Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, the Messiah, (Luke 2:1-7)
Sadly, too many people don’t know the true meaning of Christmas; they don’t know the events of the season. Today we’ve just heard them through the readings we listened to, and the carols we’ve sung.
Luke told us that Joseph and Mary went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea to the sleepy village of Bethlehem because Joseph’s heritage was from there. The Old Testament prophet Micah wrote 700 years before the birth of Jesus that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:1-2). The meaning of Bethlehem is “house of bread.” What an appropriate place for Jesus to be born. Later in His life He said of himself, “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35a) and continued in that verse to say to people, “Whoever goes to me will never go hungry” (John 6:35b).
The gospel writer sketched in another character in his story…the innkeeper. This businessman has been painted as a villain by most of us. Probably, with a full inn he was just hassled and busy! He had no idea who he was refusing a room to at that moment. Tell me, what paying customer would he kick out? Wouldn’t you be upset if he tried to take your room? He did the best that he could with the situation at hand. He was being expedient like most of us today. So don’t be too hard on him. It’s too easy at this time of year to get so busy that we lose sight of what Christmas is all about. We fail to make room for Jesus. Like the innkeeper, we are not villains; we’re just preoccupied and harried.
Joseph and Mary took the stable offered by the innkeeper. It was there that Mary gave birth to her son Jesus, the Messiah. Messiah means “anointed one” who one day would spread the knowledge of the true God to the very ends of the world. So this baby Jesus who would grow into manhood and become God’s Messiah for the world. Today He is still our Messiah who came directly from heaven for our salvation!
So, Christmas is about the Incarnation of God (Luke 2:8-14)
Entering the scene were shepherds and angels… humans and celestial beings from the realm of glory. Going about their nightly duties, these shepherds of the temple flocks encountered a sobering and life-changing event. As they were watching over the sheep, no doubt sleepily — suddenly an angel stood by them, and the glory of God — that radiating, brilliant splendour or majesty of God, dazzled them.
Their unexpected guest told them not to fear for he had wonderful, glorious news for them. He was there on God’s behalf to tell them a secret. But the secret would soon be out for all the world to hear! He was there to tell them about the Saviour…. the one who would take away their sins… help them in their most desperate moments… who would save them from eternal hell… that Saviour was being born that very night! He was the divine Saviour the very incarnation of God himself.
We Christians firmly believe that the eternal second person of the triune Godhead joined himself with a complete human nature and was born as Jesus, the God-man. The apostle John wrote,
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us!” (John 1:14).
Jesus, The Messiah, our Saviour has thrown himself from the heights of heaven so all have an opportunity to hear the heavenly music that the shepherds heard on the hillside two thousand years ago.
Because of this, Christmas is about sharing the story of God (Luke 2:15-20)
The shepherds journeyed to find the baby, which they did. The Bible says that after they had seen the child, they spread the word concerning what had been told them…and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. They were truly the first evangelists of the gospel of Jesus!
That is our job once we have encountered this Jesus… Incarnate God… Saviour. We are to share with others the good news that we are loved by God. He has given his Son to us for our salvation!
Yes, they went back to the fields, back to being shepherds, back to the routine of life, but I’m sure that their lives were changed; they had a whole new perspective. This is to be true of us. Each year as we celebrate the joyous services, the festive parties, all of the excitement and thrill of the season, what have they done to change our lives? What difference will this Christmas mean when we go back to the lives we lead in our jobs, homes, families and daily lives? If we believe the message of the angels, we must go back to the ordinary with a new focus… a better focus… a spiritual focus on Jesus!
Do you know Jesus? The more people who turn to Jesus, the bigger the trouble satan will be in and we will experience less woes in the world!
Is Jesus your Christ, your Lord, your Saviour? He wants to be. That is the reason He came into this world, and that is the reason you’re here, to know Jesus personally for yourself!