Summary: A sermon on 7 Things About the Christmas Story We May Have Missed based on Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 (Outline and material adapted from Joe McKeever at: http://www.crosswalk.com/church/pastors-or-leadership/10-things-about-the-christmas-story-you-may-have
There are things from the Christmas story that many get wrong, out of order or assume to be true when it might not be the case. “The cattle are lowing” in Away in a Manger, there is no indication there were cattle in the stable or anywhere nearby. “The First Noel,” the shepherds in Bethlehem’s fields did not “looked up and saw a star shining in the East beyond them far.” They were not “kings” from the east and we don’t know how many of them there were, could be 3 could be 300. The Magi were a group of educated men in the old Persian Empire. Very powerful and many times that class of people chose the next king. Sometimes called “king makers,” but not kings themselves. When they arrived in Bethlehem, Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus were not still in the stable, but in a house, contrary to many nativity scenes.
Thesis: Let’s talk about 7 aspects of the Christmas story that we might have missed.
Joseph has no speaking lines.
Go through Matthew and Luke and this is what we find. Like many men, man of few words.
One time there was a mother who called to inform a teacher that her son had a bad cold and would not be able to play Joseph in the Nativity play that morning. It was too late to replace him, so they did the play without Joseph. No one missed him. My sons were going to be Joseph, but did not want to because married to Mary. No lines.
Even when Jesus was 12 years old and they found him in the temple, Mary says, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
This man, Jesus’ earthly father, was a man of action. He heard and he obeyed. When an angel told him how Mary’s baby was of the Holy Spirit, Joseph obeyed and married Mary. When the census was going on, Joseph took Mary with him to Bethlehem. When King Herod wanted to kill the boy, Joseph obeyed the angel and took his family to Egypt.
Mary is a deep thinker.
We read that Mary “pondered” these things. When the shepherds came in Luke 2:19: But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. When they finally found Jesus in the temple in Luke 2:51: Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
This is a typical mother and father. Joseph is concerned about what is the next step, how am I going to provide, how is this going to be done. Mary is concerned with treasuring all of these things in her heart, like the first walk, the first baby tooth that comes out. Joseph is out working, while Mary is writing all of these things down in her diary.
Mary and Joseph each have their strong points. Joseph never seems to question a word from the Lord, but immediately obeys. Mary thinks it through, and even asks the angel of God how such a thing could be considering that she is a virgin.
The original Christmas had nothing to do with materialism and consumerism
Mary and Joseph are poor. Jesus was not born into even a middle class family.
When they presented their baby in the temple for the prescribed circumcision, dedication and redemption of the first born son, they were unable to afford a lamb for an offering, but they gave a couple of birds as outlined for poor people in Leviticus 12:8.
A Christmas cartoon showed a little boy gazing into a shop window, which had a sign saying, ‘Have the best Christmas ever!’ The boy thoughtfully said, ‘It’s pretty hard to beat the first one’! Think about that first Christmas, it was so simple and humble, unlike ours.
Notice the crossing of human lines and barriers in this story
A. We have the young (Joseph young man or at least middle aged, Mary probably a teenager and the baby Jesus) and the old (Simeon “the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” and Anna “She was very old- 84 years old” in the temple)
We have the rich (The Magi) and the poor (Joseph’s family).
We have the Jews (Joseph, Mary and Jesus) and the Gentiles (The Magi)
We have the highest (angels) and the lowest (shepherds).
This is clearly for “whosoever” and “all the world,” as John 3:16 informs us.
Right knowledge is not sufficient
In Matthew 2:3, all Jerusalem was abuzz with talk about the Magi who had arrived in town. King Herod was concerned, and to whom did he turn- The religious leaders. They knew exactly where the Messiah was to be born- Bethlehem.