Summary: God’s Promise at Christmas-to be your Eternal Father
Sermon Series: God’s Promises at Christmas for YOU
Today’s Message: A Father Watches Over You
Pastor Ken Squires December 24, 2006
Edited by Dale Weaver
(18) This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. (19) Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. (20) But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. (21) She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (22) All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: (23)”The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”-which means “God with us.”
(24) When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. (25) But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (Matthew 1 – NIV)
In December 1903, after many attempts, the Wright brothers were finally successful in getting their “flying machine” off the ground. Thrilled, they telegraphed this message to their sister Kathrine: ”We have actually flown 120 feet. Will be home for Christmas.” Kathrine hurried to the editor of the local newspaper and showed him the message. He glanced at it and said, “How nice, the boys will be home for Christmas.” He totally missed the big news -- after thousands of years and hundreds of attempts -- man had achieved flight. (1)
An expert, who by virtue of his profession was undoubtedly skilled at writing and spotting news stories, missed one of the biggest ever! Perhaps it was because he wasn’t expecting it. After all, nothing significant was ever going to come from the family of Wright brothers. Or maybe this editor was concentrating on more pressing and more impressive stories, failing to see the obvious. It happened in Herod’s day and still happens in ours! Christmas comes and Christmas goes -- Jesus will be home this Christmas. So, what’s all the fuss?
While the story of Christmas may still impress us with a fresh and still-like-the-first-time reading, how many see only a baby and somehow miss the Savior! This Christmas, many who stroll through malls, stand in line at Starbucks and drop off packages for overseas delivery to military personnel, really miss the big news -- God sent a Savior to secure salvation from our sins.
Do you realize that on the first Christmas a heaven-sent child begins to breathe for the first time? He who was used to breathing eternal air, now breathes human air? Who flung the massive stars now flails his little legs. Filling those tiny lungs for the first time with dry Palestinian air, humanity gets another chance to make it.
As we approach the 3rd of Isaiah 9:6’s promises this Christmas, we find ourselves asking a puzzling question: How unusual is it that the child Jesus -- who is the Son of God in the flesh -- should be called the Everlasting Father? Why is this phrased as such? The answer is found in the Jewish use of the word “Father.” The word father meant “originator” or “author.” The Christmas story is filled with the fingerprints of an Eternal Father who is at work!
For centuries Jesus Christ had been stepping toward Bethlehem. Every time an additional descendent was born and added to the Savior’s genealogy, the shout of Isaiah’s prophecy, “for to us a child is born, to us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6) rang out that “Christ is Coming!”
As another link was added to the genealogy, and another ancestor arrived; the voice of prophecy awoke and shouted still louder: “Christ is Coming!”
As the genealogy was revealed it was repeated over and over, generation after generation, until that moment in Bethlehem when local shepherds, Magi who had traveled thousands of miles, and a star millions of miles above all declared:
“Christ has Come!”
Isaiah reminds us that this future child will possess qualities that are found in that of a father. The Eternal Father found an eternal-minded father to physically superintend all the challenges and cares of that first Nativity: Joseph of Nazareth. But who was this Joseph? He was the answer to the question: Whom could God trust with the most prized possession in eternity?