Summary: The innkeeper's, shepherds', Herod's,religious leaders', wise men's, and Mary's response to Jesus' birth in poem and Hymn.
The Responses To The First Christmas
(adapted from “A Savior Has Been Born” by Melvin Newland; sermoncentral.com)
In the last 15-20 years we have seen a lot of change in how people of this country respond to Christmas. There seems to more and more avoidance of the use of the name of Jesus Christ. It is politically incorrect to mention Jesus, or read the Bible, or do anything Christian. Instead of saying “Merry Christmas” you should say “Happy Holidays”.
But, every time we say “Merry Christmas” we are witnessing to the fat of Jesus' birth.
How do you respond to Jesus' birth? Are you politically correct or do you set forth Jesus' birth in every way?
Today I would like for us to look at the responses to the first Christmas. See if you fit in one of these responses.
I. The Response Of The Innkeeper
So Joseph and Mary came to Bethlehem because of the decree of Caesar Augustus. It was hard trip on Mary because she was pregnant; but finally they made it. They are in Bethlehem.
In Bethlehem there came a very special night
As the world wrestled in its plight.
The world should have, with open heart, bowed down
When the very special guests came to town.
But the world was thinking of the king and his might
And the great burden of taxes that soon, on them would light.
So Joseph and Mary were there in the town of their kin.
They wanted to rest but there was no room in the inn.
Said Mary: “What will we do, where will we go?”
Joseph answered with his heart sinking: “I don't know”.
One last inn, there's the door, let me knock.
Sorry, came the reply, but you can stay with the stock.
So there in that stable with Mary so forlorn
The baby Jesus was born.
In that stable among the cows and sheep,
Lay Baby Jesus in the manger, fast asleep.
Now if only they can find an inn where they can stay. But, no, the inns are full. There is no room in the inn.
Do you know how many times the innkeeper is mentioned in the Bible? Well, that was a trick question. The innkeeper is not mentioned at all. We don't know for sure that there was an innkeeper. But, since there was an inn, we assume that there was an innkeeper.
Who was he? What was he like?
O Innkeeper, O Innkeeper
On Innkeeper, O Innkeeper, are you a man of sin
Because You said to Joseph and May: “there is no room in the inn?
Are you a man that is mean spirited, grumpy and weary
Who slammed the door in the face of Joseph and Mary?
Or, are you a kind-hearted man we should console
That was the victim of circumstances out of your control?
Whether you are a villain or a hero
For sure, we will never know.
But I believe your response was that of preoccupation
I doubt you ever gave them any real consideration.
Never had your inn been so full as on that night.
Never had demands on your time caused you so much plight.
All you wanted was to take care of the guests who had come.
After all, the price they paid added up to a tidy sum.
O Innkeeper, o Inkeeper you are so much like people today.
They are so busy: they run this way and that way.
They are so busy with all the things of the season
They don't have a clue about the holiday's reason.
They are so busy they don't open their heart to God's love.
So they never receive the Christmas blessings from God above.
Let it be our prayer that we will not do the same.
Let's let “opening our hearts to Jesus” be our Christmas aim.
So the innkeeper's response was preoccupation. Just like so many today are so busy with the activities of the season they don't have time for Jesus.
II. The Response Of The Shepherds
Shepherds were the lower class of Israel---the social rejects. Their job was a dirty one. It was one that kept them away from home for weeks. One that caused them to live in the wilderness ( live with the sheep).
But, God reached across the barriers of society and tells the shepherds: “ I want yo to be the first to know: in the city of David, a Savior has been born.”
The shepherds were so afraid their knees were knocking together; but their hearts were leaping with joy as they listened to the angels sing.
Hymn 88: Hark the Herald Angels Sing
So the shepherd's response was excitement. Excitement mainly because the Messiah had come, but, also because God had announced it to them. They felt so privileged.