Text: Luke 2:1-20
Introduction: Christmas – As a child growing up, Christmas was always a stressful and sad time of year. It accentuated the fact that my parents were divorced. I knew from an early age that Santa Clause was just a hoax. And why did we sing a song eulogizing a tree at my 4th grade Christmas program when we sang “O Christmas Tree”, and furthermore, this religious “stuff” about the birth of Jesus didn’t make any since either. In the mist of celebration and mirth life seemed empty, unsatisfying, and simply confusing. By my teen years I was asking, “Why was I here on earth?” Could God really exist? Was there any purpose for living except seeking my own selfish desires and trying to make a name for myself in the world? In the summer of 1978, at a high school youth group meeting, my whole perspective on life was miraculously transformed. I put my faith in Jesus Christ to save me from my sin and was finally at peace with God, others, and myself. Since then every Christmas becomes more meaningful, as I ponder and think about the true meaning of Christmas with a thankful heart for God’s willingness to humble himself to save me from my sin. My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, the simple facts of Scripture are truly the most profound and meaningful in life. Sadly, it is easy to grow callused and hardened to the wonders and marvelous truth in the story of Christ’s birth. Although we have heard the story many times, let’s examine the story of the Saviors birth by considering 1) The earthly conditions, 2) The heavenly messengers, and 3) The earthly messengers at Christ’s birth.
I. The earthly conditions of Christ’s Birth: (vs.1-7):
A. It was a timely birth (vs.1-6).
Application: God’s Sovereignty – Caesar Augustus
B. It was a lonely birth (vs.7).
See Jesus’ John 16:21
C. It was a lowly birth (vs.7).
Inn – Kataluma – an enclosure for animals with a small shelter for travelers. (GCM p.36)
“When He came He passed the court, and passed the palace, and passed the dwelling-place, and passed the inn, and passed the kataluma; and was born into this would so low down that no baby can be born lower.” G, Campbell Morgan
Manger- “A trough or box in which fodder is laid for cattle” (N.W. 1828)
The implications of the phrase, “Laid him in a manger”- Appears 3 times – vs. 7, 12, 16
In his book, In Search of the Real Spirit of Christmas, Dan Schaeffer says, “these four familiar, beautiful, magnificent, and glorious words describe far more than the place where baby Jesus was laid. Here is a message from God, a parable in four words, a testament in wood and straw that contains more truth than would fit in a volume of books. In these four words we find the answer to the most pressing questions of life and faith, for there are important reasons why the Christ Child had to be found lying in a manger.” He gives the following reasons:
- A Sign for the Shepherds
- A Confirmation for Mary and Joseph
- No Room for God in the World He Had Made
- So We Could Understand
- Anyone Could Approach Him
II. The heavenly messengers at Christ’s Birth (vs. 8-16):
A. Revealed the identity of the child: This is truly Good tidings – GOOD NEWS!
1. Savior – “Someone confronting sin, all the sin of the world with regal authority, based upon redeeming power.” (GCM p.37).
2. Christ – “Someone confronting all the chaos of the would, the Messiah, who will be able to realize the true . . . Kingdom of God”
3. Lord – “The One Who confronts all eternity and all ages; and He is born, He is born today, . . .”
B. Revealed the mission of the child:
1. Glorify God: Before His crusifiction Christ prayed,
“I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was”.
2. Bring peace: Between God and Men on earth
Question: If Christ came to bring peace on earth, why don’t we have peace on earth?
Explain: “Good will to men” Literal translation – Among men of (His) good pleasure
“There is no peace for the earth, except among men in whom God is well-pleased. That is the basis of peace, men of His good pleasure.” (GCM p.37).
Our peace is in Jesus Christ – He pleased the Father
During Christ baptism Luke 3:22 says, “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”
During Christ’s transfiguration it says in Mathew 17:5 “ While [Jesus} yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
We don’t have peace on earth because all men are not in Christ. Christ himself said,
“Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.” Luke 12:51-53
III. The earthly messengers at Christ’s birth (vs. 17-20):
They were not the rich and famous, the highly educated – They were simply shepherds.
What they did: “And when they had seen it, they make known abroad . . .”
Application: Being a witness for Christ means telling others what you have seen Him do in your life. It should start at home – sharing with others what God is teaching you.
Conclusion: It is not the presents, the decorations, the music, and whatever else that are important at Christmas. It is Christ. The Savior was born. What a profound message! He was laid in a manger. The wonder, the awe, and the praise and thanksgiving that should ring from our voice as we say Merry Christmas – Merry Christmas! – Merry Christmas to you my friend – Christ the Savior is born!