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Summary: Christmas is the celebration of the Good News that God loves us and has acted on that love. It is God’s supreme attempt to communicate with his creation through this amazing act of love.

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Celebrating a Christ-centered Christmas

2003 Advent Series

“A Prophetless Christmas”

Luke 2:1-7

December 21, 2003

Purpose: Christmas is the celebration of the Good News that God loves us and has acted on that love. It is God’s supreme attempt to communicate with his creation through this amazing act of love.

Introduction – sing “Nuttin’ For Christmas” (Roy Bennett & Sid Tepper, © 1955 Intersong Music)

(have congregation join in on “somebody snitched on me” and the chorus)

*****

I broke my back on Johnny’s head; somebody snitched on me. I hid a frog in sister’s bed; somebody snitched on me. I spilled some ink on Mommy’s rug, I made Tommy eat a bug. Bought some gum with a penny slug; somebody snitched on me. Oh…

I’m getting nuttin’ for Christmas. Mommy and Daddy are mad. I’m getting nuttin’ for Christmas.

‘Cause I ain’t been nuttin’ but bad.

I won’t be seeing Santa Claus; somebody snitched on me. He won’t come visit me because; somebody snitched on me. Next year I’ll be going straight, next year I’ll be good, just wait. I’d start now, but it’s too late; somebody snitched on me. Oh…

I’m getting nuttin’ for Christmas. Mommy and Daddy are mad. I’m getting nuttin’ for Christmas.

‘Cause I ain’t been nuttin’ but bad.

*****

For some, this is the theme song of their Christmas season. In it we find the theology of Santa Claus, the practice commercialism, and the system of rewards instead of giving that this holiday is all about. But it doesn’t make it any less fun to sing!

Michael Martin from the Christian Century tells of a friend who is fed up with this type of Christmas-thinking…

“Scrooge was right! Christmas is humbug!” shouted a friend of mine. “I can’t stand this commercialize excuse for a religious holiday.” He growled with a grinch-like grimace that I fear at any moment he would rush down to Santa’s village in the nearest shopping center, push his way through the line of mothers with their sticky little children, accost Santa Claus, rip the fake beard right off his face and, holding it high in the air, shout at the terrified children, “He’s a fake! A shill for merchants exploiting Christmas!”

In retaliation, no doubt, the mothers would hold him down, while their enraged preschoolers stoned him with half-eaten lollipops and candy canes. As the paramedics carry his candy-coated body away, he would be heard to mutter, “There is no profit in being a Christmas prophet.”

I believe that this is how some Christians feel about Christmas. Can anyone see yourself doing it? Just as there are those so wrapped up into the Santa Claus thing, I think that they’re are as many Christians fed up with it! In short, we need a prophet.

What questions would this prophet ask? Well...

What if most of what people knew of Christmas was what they heard in Santa songs and in what people who want our money will do for us in order to get it?

Worst of all, what if all they knew about the Christmas celebration is how we, as Christians, followers of this little babe in the manger, actually live it out?

What would happen if we all became prophets and told the whole word through our thoughts, words, and deeds that Christmas is the celebration of the Good News. It’s the celebration that God loves us and has acted on that love. It is God’s supreme attempt to communicate with his creation that, because of His Son, born to Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem, the world has been changed.

Isn’t that the prophetic proclamation found in Luke 2?

I. The text – Luke 2:1-7

In our text this morning, I am always amazed that the calm nature of Mary. Now, granted I will never be pregnant, but even if I could, I cannot begin to imagine riding a donkey from Nazareth to Bethlehem only to find that the only place available to rest, the only place for me to have this child, was in a barn. Talk about simple living.

But in all the Christmas texts, we never see Mary upset. She is never anxious. She doesn’t complain. As Joseph moves from inn to inn, house to house, trying to find a place, we never see Mary throwing a hissy-fit because Joseph didn’t bother to call ahead.

Our Bibles tell us that once Jesus was born, Mary “pondered all these things in her heart.” In many ways, I see her as our first Christmas prophet.

Instead of being wrapped up by the events surrounding her, instead of being fed up with it all, Mary sang a spiritual song, which I am sure, calmed the nerves of many present. She knew of the blessing that was occurring. She was not poor in Spirit, but rich in Spirit. She’s a great prophet...

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