Sermons

Summary: Is your life running so fast that you cannot hear God? His angels appeared to announce the birth of Christ but who was "listening?"

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Are You Listening?

The Christmas Season is closing in. We have do lists, shopping lists, and invitations to parties, as well as church and school Christmas presentations. It seems that when we need the most to slow down to appreciate the season, we are too busy to do so.

In fact, I sometimes feel “out of touch” because my life is racing ahead full speed. I don’t hear the sounds of daily life because my energy and attention is divided between so many things. It seems that Christmas loses its joy when it is about lists and things.

Most of us try to slow down a bit by coming to church and by trying to connect with a spiritual activity on Christmas Eve. But I have found that we can only resist the noise of the season if we have been prepared before the season began!

This morning we are going to look at two people who avoided preoccupation with busy-ness and paid enough attention so that they heard God’s voice in the middle of what would seem to us, a very chaotic time.

The Bible passages on the birth of Christ almost seem too familiar. We have heard them every year. We stop paying attention because it is the same old story. But what if you heard some of it in a brand new way? Let me read to you the passage following the birth of Christ.

Luke 2:21-38 NAS:

[21] On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

[22] When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord [23] (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"), [24] and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."

[25] Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. [26] It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. [27] Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, [28] Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

[29] "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.

[30] For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."

[33] The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. [34] Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, [35] so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."

[36] There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, [37] and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. [38] Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

I. Mary and Joseph

a. Mary was pregnant before she was married. The bible says that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit.

b. We know that Joseph struggled with this issue, but in obedience to God because of a dream he had, he moved ahead by faith and married Mary.

c. Next the baby is born in a manger.

i. Many of us know of the events of the Shepherds and Wise Men that occur between the time of his birth and a few short weeks later.

d. The event we just read, however, occurs 40 days after his birth.

i. Mary and Joseph are staying in Bethlehem for awhile.

1. This is a suburb about 6 miles from Jerusalem.

2. After the 40 day period has passed, in obedience to the Law, they go to the Temple to fulfill the law’s requirements.

ii. "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law..." (Galatians 4:4-5).

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