A. I wonder what Christmas means to a mother who has lost her husband, who must take care of 3 or 4 children, working every day, never quite getting everything done, never making ends meet? What does Christmas mean to her?

ILL. I wonder what Christmas means to the little man in Zimbabwe, 80 years old, living in a hut, who knows nothing of shopping malls or Christmas trees? What does Christmas mean to him?

ILL. I wonder what it means to little Korean children with smudges on their cheeks, & sparkling eyes that look up in wonder as you walk past? What does Christmas mean to them?

ILL. I wonder what it means to missionaries who are half a world away from families & friends, who are sacrificing so much to take the precious gospel message to others who have never heard? What does it mean to them?

B. Iím sure that it means different things to different people.

To merchants it is the busiest time of the year. Stores stay open longer, & hire extra people to accommodate all the shoppers. It means more profit, hopefully enough profit to see them through lean times ahead.

For some employees it means a Christmas bonus, a little more money in their pockets to do things that they want to do.

For many teen-agers & adults it is a time of fun & parties. For children it is a time of impatience, with time seeming to pass so slowly, as they wait for Christmas morning.

ILL. But sometimes I get the feeling that we are like the folks who decided to throw a party to honor a very special friend. They sent out invitations, decorated the hall, & had the food catered. All the people came together at the designated time, but to their surprise, the guest of honor was not there.

Finally, they made the embarrassing discovery that no one had ever invited the guest of honor.

APPL. I wonder if that happens at Christmas time? Do we go through all the decorating, & buying presents, & preparing elaborate meals, but somehow forget whose birthday it really is?

ILL. One family tried to overcome that by putting an extra place at their Christmas table for Jesus, & calling Christmas, "His birthday party." When one of their daughters was asked if she got everything she wanted for Christmas, she answered by saying, "No, but then itís not my birthday."

It isnít our birthday, is it? Itís the Lordís birthday & itís a time to remember His birth & what it is supposed to mean to us. So letís turn to Luke 2:8-14. Listen as I read.

(READ Luke 2:8-14)

C. The fact that God made the announcement to shepherds helps us to understand the real meaning of Christmas. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son," & He chose to announce that to shepherds first of all.

Shepherds were at the opposite end of the social strata from King Herod & all the influential people of the day. They lived in the fields with their animals. They werenít respected.
I loved it! As a shepherd [pastor] myself I always wondered at the awesomeness of the announcment coming to those watching after their sheep while darkness was all around. It pays to be about our Father''s business...even more so in the dark times.
May Ann Retardo
December 23, 2010
I do believe that you are a good preacher!..your sister in Christ Ann,,a bible School student..Evangelical Christian Outreach Foundation.. God Bless You!
May Ann Retardo
December 23, 2010
Pastor Newland, youre sermon outline touches everyones heart! I''am so much blessed...may our most gracious Father will bless you abundantly..
Gary Black
December 23, 2009
I always find an excellent perspective in Melvin''s messages!
Derek Schoenhoff of Pu'uanahulu Baptist Church
December 13, 2009
shepherding was a pretty good job with lots of responsibility. i wonder if the angel came to shepherds because Jesus was coming as the lamb of God and that He was born in a manger because that''s where sheep were born?
Paul Mazzio
December 7, 2009
Pastor Newland, You are a blessing. Your messages are all practical and engender the heart of the Father.Thank you for your ministry! Blessings, Pastor Paul Mazzio
James Jeyasekaran of Riverhill City Church
December 26, 2008
Ps. Melvin, that is the most refreshing sermon on the meaning of christmas I have ever heard in a long long time. People today want not just the TRUTH but also the REAL. You have made the truth real here. It is an inspiring internal call to check my own heart, on how i see God''s greatest gift - His Son, and what He means to Him, me and others. I am truely blessed! Keep preaching my brother! - Your fellow colleague in ministry, Ps. James Jeyasekaran, His Sanctuary Of Glory AOG, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I Mosiman of Salem Umc
December 22, 2008
A double WOW - A god given gift of words for sure!!
Donna Szalacsi
December 22, 2008
Definetly a message for the entire world!
Reginald Perry of Gethsemane Baptist Church
December 22, 2008
This sermon is truly a masterpiece. It registers deeply in the hearts and minds of believers. We pray that all who hear or read it will be moved to a closer relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
John Stratton of Gateway Christian Fellowship
December 20, 2008
Melvin Newland is the Best! He can relate to anyone anywhere! Keep Preaching! Your Friend! John
Leslie Courtney, Jr. of Macedonia Revival Center
December 20, 2008
Excellent and needs to be preached to the whole world.