Summary: What would Christmas be like if it was REALLY a celebration of Jesus birth, if He was the focus of all we said and did from rising in the morning until we went to bed? What would it be like? What impact would it have on our family and friends?
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 9:6-7
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
“Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
Can you even imagine what it would be like to have a day set aside to ponder this greatest gift of all? What would it be like to have a day to commemorate the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem in fulfillment of the ancient prophecies?
Let’s take a journey into a magical land.
A land where there are no Christmas trees, no ornaments, no Christmas lights.
A land where there is no Black Friday frenzy and no Cyber Monday madness.
A land where there is no Santa Claus, no Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.
A land where Grandma never got run over by a reindeer.
A land where there are no commercials inciting children to hound their parents for gifts they don’t need until, finally, one of the parents gives in and the other parent gets mad because they did.
A land where parents don’t have to worry about some child telling their child that Santa doesn’t really exist because they won’t know who Santa is supposed to be anyway.
A land where credit card bills do not hang on for months while the gifts that were purchased with those same credit cards are forgotten, lying in the corner of the bedroom.
A land where no one frets about whether to say Merry Christmas or happy holidays.
Just try to imagine such a place. A land of peace.
But sadly, we don’t live in such a land; not at all!
Let me read for you some of the websites that the world flocks to at this time of year.
Managing Holiday Stress - Cleveland Clinic
Understanding and Managing Holiday Stress – Verywell.com
Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping – Mayoclinic.org
Holiday stress? 10 Ways to relax and enjoy the season – sheknows.com
25 Ways to Fight Holiday Stress - Health.com
Coping With Holiday Stress - American Psychological Association
Holiday Stress | National Child Traumatic Stress Network ...
How can there possibly be so many negative side effects to setting aside a day to remember the miraculous birth of Jesus, God becoming a Man?
Could it possibly be that the holiday no longer has anything to do with the birth of Jesus?
It’s as if our society says, “Thanks, Jesus, for being born. Now just go sit quietly in the corner while we celebrate this day the way we want to celebrate it.”
Perhaps Jesus and His birth just isn’t exciting enough for us.
Have you ever tried to imagine what Jesus would say if He was to walk among us through the Christmas season? I’m not talking about America in general but among those who claim the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior and King.
What would He think?
Let’s just take one simple aspect about Jesus, the God in the manger.
A manger. A manger! Jesus, who would be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
A manger. Have you ever watched a cow eat? They drool. Now, we don’t know if this manger was used for cattle or donkeys or horses or goats or whatever. What we do know is that it was not intended as a place for a baby to sleep.
I doubt if there were any mangers in the palace of the Roman emperor or in the Herod’s palace or even in the houses of Bethlehem. Why? Because you don’t keep cattle in a house so there’s no need for a manger.
But a manger was just the perfect place for the newborn Son of God to be sleeping. Why?
Shepherds. Shepherds would not be comfortable or even allowed to go into a palace to search for the infant nor could they barge into someone’s home to look for a Baby in a manger. But, a shepherd would be right at home in a stable or a cave used to house animals.
Yep, they could walk right in and feel right at home.
And, talk about humility! Shepherds weren’t just humble they were routinely humiliated by their society. Shepherds were supposed to stay out in the fields with the sheep. They weren’t supposed to be in town, running around in the middle of the night claiming to have seen angels and looking for “a Savior who is Christ the Lord”. Sure an angel told them to go find the Messiah in a manger.