Summary: By being laid in a manger he proved himself a priest taken from among men - one who has suffered like his brethren, and therefore can be touched with a feeling of our infirmities
TITLE: A KING SIZE BED
SCRIPTURE: ST. LUKE 2:7
What a blessed worship experience as we celebrate this final Sunday before Christmas. We have been reminded through the early hour Life Seminar Christmas Play and all the wonderful Christmas music we have experienced this morning of the very meaning of Christmas. Bringing the Christmas message at PPWC is not a task but an absolute joy. If a Preacher can’t get excited about delivering a message on the Birth of our Savior, I would question their calling to the Ministry. I am confident great and soul inspiring sermons are being preached all around the world today celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is:
• A message that Never Grows Old
• A message that Transcends Time
• A message that Captures the Hearts of Believers
• A message that the children and babies here this morning will one day fully understand
• A message that Encapsulates the Love of God towards us
This morning we will consider - A SCENE THAT IS UNMISTAKABLE. This scene is so identified with the birth of our Lord, that is has been BANNED FROM DISPLAY in public places because it might offend those who do not believe it ever happened. The scene before us unfolds within the INTERNAL ARENA of some unnamed families stable.
• Mary and Joseph
• A wooden manger before them
• In which the baby Jesus is lying
• Around them are shepherds with their canes
• And with some sheep beside them
This scene touches our hearts, but what our SANITIZED SCENE does not present is the fact that the stable would have been dirty and the smells not too appealing. Jesus was actually laid in a feeding trough for animals.
• The night air must have been cold
• Not the kind of place any of us would have liked to have been born or let alone to give birth in
• Any hospital inspector would have condemned the room and closed it
It wasn’t a MARRIOTT – HILTON - RAMADA. It wasn’t even a BEST WESTERN, or a MOTEL 6 where they promise to keep the light on for you -- This young couple initially stopped by what was termed an Inn, where they would have found maybe 2 or 3 private rooms, and a common area, where most people would lay a bedroll, and sleep the night away, in front of the fire. NO SHOWERS, probably the Judean equivalent of an outhouse, and a small cooking area. The Inn would have provided a HOT – MUGGY ROOM – REEKING of the evening meal, and wine which flowed freely, and EVERY INCH CRAMMED WITH BODY’S, SWEATY AND SMELLY FROM THE DAY’S JOURNEY.
But the Bible reminds us, there was no room there - none at all. Back then, there was no Christmas celebration, it was no major holiday that had so many people travelling. It was more like April 15th, when taxes were due - and the crowds were traveling to pay the tax that was derived from the Census.
• Therefore, patience was probably short
• Many probably concerned about money
• Frustrated with time away from home
But there was no room there in the inn, none at all. As a child I often thought, IF ONLY I WERE THE INNKEEPER - Mary and Joseph would have gotten the best room, no matter who I offended, no matter what it cost. No matter what I had to do. We usually picture the innkeeper as MEAN SCOUNDREL - who takes great joy in telling them there is no room – but that they can sleep in the stable, over back by the manger. Sometimes that is the IMPRESSION THAT WAS IMPLIED during our Sunday School Christmas Play or implied during the Christmas Sermon. As I grow older, I am not as sure, for I see in the innkeeper, a picture of myself. HARRIED and HASSLED, with too many distractions, too many needs, too many things to do. TO BE HONEST, I AM NOT SURE THERE WOULD BE ROOM AT MY INN, EITHER.
Jesus doesn’t belong here. He’s the Son of God from heaven. He doesn’t deserve to be treated like a VAGRANT or a CRIMINAL. He deserves the best the world has to offer. HE COMES FROM HEAVEN TO EARTH—AND ENDS UP IN A STABLE? How can that be? Let me press the point home another way.
• God could have done better
• Think about it for a moment
• Suppose you had all power and could choose the time and place and manner of your son’s birth
• Would you choose to have him born outside, in a stable?
• That doesn’t make any sense
• What’s going on here?
• Why is this happening?