Summary: Christmas is still the good news that unto you is born a Savior. It is still a message of hope, joy, and peace that causes men to glorify and praise God.
When I was a shoeshine boy back in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 1945, I remember
being down town when suddenly horns began to blow, bells ring, whistles shriek, and people
everywhere in the streets, and stores began to sing, hug, laugh, and shout. Paper began
flying from the windows all over town. The good news had come that the war was over. It
was a message that brought forth an immediate and enthusiastic response of joy. If you
took that same message today and read it from the history book to the people in Sioux Falls,
or any other city where the same time happened, they would not respond as they did then.
The reason is obvious. It is no longer a message, but only a record of what was a message of
good news in the past.
The message of Christmas, however, is so profoundly significant for all time that it can
never become a mere record. It is forever a message of good news. It is a continuously
contemporary message that is as relevant today as it was when the angels first proclaimed it
to the shepherds. Christmas is still the good news that unto you is born a Savior. It is still a
message of hope, joy, and peace that causes men to glorify and praise God. Martin Luther
said, "To us it is not simply an old story of an event that happened 1500 years ago, it is more
than an event that happened once; for it is a gift and a bestowing that endures forever."
This past event is a present experience for every generation. We want to enter into the
experience of Christmas again as we examine three aspects of Luke's account of this historic
and eternal event. First-
I. THE ADVENT OF THE SAVIOUR. vv.1-7
The first message that comes to us from the record is The Hope of History. The story of
Christmas begins with Augustus Caesar. God used a pagan ruler to fulfill His promise to
Israel and the world. There would have been no good reason for Joseph and Mary to go to
Bethlehem for she was near her time of delivery. It was no time for going on a trip. But in
meetings of the Roman government decisions were being made for an enrollment of all the
people for tax purposes. Little did these pagan leaders realize they were passing legislation
that would fulfill prophecy, and eventually spell doom for their pagan worship. God was
using men with no compulsion of their wills, to accomplish His will. This is more than a
record of what God did in the past. It is a message to us that we need not fear the future,
regardless of who rules in history, for God's ultimate purpose will be accomplished. The
good news of Christmas is God is in control and there is hope in history.
The second message we see in verse 7 is The Hostility of Man. This is symbolized by the
statement there was no room in the inn. You would think that with all the providential
guidance of God in this whole story, it would have been no problem for God to have seen to
it that there was a room available. God could have, but He did not, and this is significant.
He did not make everything convenient for His own. Jesus was born into a world where men
were hostile to God. Sin had made men basically self-centered and indifferent to the needs of
others. God did not arrange that all of this be bypassed for His Son. He came unto His own
and His own received Him not.
It would be easy to denounce the inn keeper at this point and hold him guilty for being a
hard-hearted, penny pinching scoundrel. There is not the slightest evidence that any of this
is true. If the evidence tells us anything about the inn keeper, it tells us that he had
compassion on Mary, and even though he had no rooms left, he at least saw that they were
not turned away. He made room for them in the stable. It is not likely they were the only
travelers that could not find a room. Others were no doubt turned away completely.
The text says there was no room. It does not say they were refused a room, nor does it
imply that the inn keeper should have turned someone else out to make room. Joyce Kilmer,
in an obviously Catholic poem, even makes a saint of him, "There was a gentle hostler, and
blessed be his name! He opened up the stable the night our Lady came. Our Lady and St.
Joseph, He gave them food and bed, and Jesus Christ has given him a glory round his head."