Summary: If you want to turn your worry into worship, then come to Jesus this Christmas, and then go tell the world what He has done for you.
A woman was doing her last-minute Christmas shopping at a crowded mall. She was tired of fighting the crowds. She was tired of standing in lines. She was tired of fighting her way down long aisles looking for a gift that had sold out days before.
Her arms were full of bulky packages when an elevator door opened. It was full. The occupants of the elevator grudgingly tightened ranks to allow a small space for her and her load.
As the doors closed, she blurted out, “Whoever is responsible for this whole Christmas thing ought to be arrested, strung up, and shot!” A few others nodded their heads or grunted in agreement.
Then, from somewhere in the back of the elevator, came a single voice that said: “Don't worry. They already crucified him.” (Homiletics, November/December 2006)
Christmas, for so many people, is a hurried, harried event. People are literally in a state of panic. They have added to their already busy schedules all the holiday shopping, holiday parties, and holiday hoopla.
The good news is: it doesn’t need to be that way for any of us. If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Luke 2, Luke 2, where we see how some very anxious people found peace on that very first Christmas.
Luke 2:1-7 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (ESV)
Don’t you sense the anxiety in these verses? Caesar wants to raise everyone’s taxes. Mary, an unmarried teenager, is 9-months pregnant; and after a long journey, she finds herself in labor with no place to go except for a make-shift, lean-to, cow shed next to an inn.
Now, having a baby produces enough anxiety in and of itself. But a young girl, delivering a baby in a shed, a long way from home, in a strange city where nobody cares, that’s really scary! Then there were the shepherds.
Luke 2:8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. (ESV)
Now, when you read this, don’t think about little boys in bath robes in a Christmas pageant. These are homeless, street people, with a reputation for being thieves and liars. Their testimony was not even allowed in a court of law. They are “living out in the fields,” because they have no where else to go, and they have to keep an eye on the precious few possessions they do have, namely their scrawny, little sheep.
Like any homeless person, they live in fear every day, and especially at night, of being molested and robbed. That’s when a stranger appears and scares them all half out of their wits.
Luke 2:9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. (ESV)
This alien creature comes with a blinding flash of light, and you can be sure “they were terrified!” They could handle another thief. They could handle a wild animal. But this? How could they handle the supernatural?
Their worst nightmare was coming true, or so they thought, but the angel had a message for them. And he has a message for us, as well.
Luke 2:10-12 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (ESV) i.e., in a cow’s feeding trough.
God Himself has become a homeless person just like you. God Himself has entered our pain to deliver us from it.
DON’T BE AFRAID any longer.
Calm your anxious hearts. Lay aside the worry and be at peace.
Nearly 200 years ago, in 1809, a war-weary world was anxious as they watched Napoleon Bonaparte lead his invincible army across Europe.
In that same year, Willaim E. Gladstone was born in Liverpool. Alfred Lord Tennyson was born in Summersby, England. Oliver Wendell Holmes was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Felix Mendelssohn was born in Hamburg, Germany, and Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky.