Summary: This sermon examines the events of the first Christmas.
“AND IT CAME TO PASS” Luke 2:1-20
INTRO – Biggest hit this year in decorating homes is the inflatable figures for the yard. Santa, reindeer, snowmen, Christmas trees. See them everywhere. Tim Morrison has them in his yard in the subdivision. Reason they are so popular is that after Christmas is over they can be deflated and stored and don’t take up much room.
Many people view Christmas this way. Once the parties are over; once the Christmas cantatas and programs have been presented; once the gifts have been opened; then the Christ of Christmas can be “deflated”, removed out of the forefront of our lives, and stored away back in the dark storage rooms of our lives. We can stop talking about Him so much. We can stop giving Him so much attention in our lives. The nativity scene is no longer on the mantle, so Jesus can be relegated back to His box in our lives.
Is that really what Christmas is all about? When the Scripture says, “And it came to pass…” is it just referring to this crazy time of year? For many of us, we could conclude this verse by saying:
- “And it came to pass” that they ate too much.
- “And it came to pass” that they spent too much money.
- “And it came to pass” that they didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas.
- “And it came to pass” that they lost their temper in the return line at the dept. store.
In his book, God with Us: the Miracle of Christmas, John MacArthur writes, “I read a haunting newspaper story several years ago about a wealthy Boston family who had a christening party for their new baby. They invited all their friends and relatives to their magnificent home to celebrate the birth of their precious infant. A half-hour into the party, when it was time to bring the baby out for everyone to see, the mother made a tragic discovery. The large bed where she had left the baby asleep was piled high w/ the coats of the guests. The baby was lying dead underneath the mound, suffocated by the carelessly discarded wraps.”
MacArthur goes on to draw a parallel between the horrible scene in Boston and the manner in which our consumer culture “celebrates” the birth of the X child. He writes, “Lost is the realization that Christmas is first of all the birth of the Savior. He is all but forgotten…”
How sad, but true! Too often, He is forgotten in our lives the majority of the other 11 months out of the year. He didn’t come into the world simply to give us a theme for our worship services during the month of December. He didn’t come into the world just to give us a reason to decorate our homes and churches. He came into the world as the Savior of all mankind, the long-awaited Messiah, our Redeemer, our Lord, our King.
We must not forget what came to pass that night in Bethlehem. We cannot allow the almighty dollar to surpass the Almighty God in importance this time of year. We will regret so many things if we lose the wonder of Christmas and if we try to remove Christ from our lives the remainder of the year.
Let’s look at the events that came to pass that first Christmas:
I. AN AMAZING BIRTH – v. 1-7
A. All of the Christmas pageants and plays through the years have tended to soften the reality of the conditions surrounding Jesus’ birth:
a. The decree from Caesar Augustus – Nephew of Julius Caesar. Incredible world leader who transformed the world of that day w/ his armies and his roads. Everyone believed he was a god and was immortal. He was the mightiest man of his time. Issued the decree that moved Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
i. This mighty man who thought he was a god was used by the Almighty God to fulfill the prophecy about the location of the Messiah’s birth.
1. Micah 5:2 – “As for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah…from you One will go forth from me to be ruler in Israel, His goings forth are from long ago, from days of eternity.”
b. The trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem – As a result of Caesar Augustus’ decree, Joseph and Mary had to make the trip from Naz to Beth. This was a trip of about 70 miles that would have probably taken 4 days to a week to make walking or riding on a donkey. And ladies, imagine doing that while 9 months pregnant. Men, imagine having to travel like that w/ a woman who is 9 months pregnant!
c. The place of the birth – When they arrived in Beth, certainly exhausted from their journey, all they found were “No Vacancy” signs everywhere. The innkeeper had no idea what was about to take place there on his property. He, like many of us, was caught up in the busyness of the moment.