Summary: This was the conclusion of our series Christmas a Line in Time, and it was preached on Christmas Eve
A line in Time Christmas Eve
It was almost as if someone had dragged a stick though the sand drawing a line that said that was then and this is now. There has never been an event in the history of man that has so defined human history as the birth of Jesus.
Because of that event we are all sitting here tonight. We’ve been talking about this during December, how that first Christmas; the birth of a child born to unknown couple in an obscure village 2000 years ago literally drew a line in time.
That single solitary event has shaped the world like no other event. It has shaped how the world is viewed and how people are viewed. This month, in most countries in the world, literally billions of people will gather to celebrate, to various degrees, the symbolic birth date of a child who was born to an unknown couple in an obscure village over 2000 years ago.
Even the most disinterested and antagonist will in some way acknowledge tomorrow as something special, even if it’s only as a paid day off. When folks replace Merry Christmas with Happy Holiday, they are acknowledging that it is something special. If it’s a holiday, then what are we celebrating?
When we use phrases like “the prodigal son” “turn the other cheek” and “The blind leading the blind” we are quoting the one who was born on that day two thousand years ago. When we teach our children values like “Do unto others” and speak of the “Golden Rule” we are sharing the teaching of the Christ Child. And as I have said before every time we write the date, even without adding the AD, Anno Domini, we are saying this happened this number of years since Jesus was born.
And sometimes it’s easy to see the big picture, to realize that the world was we know it exists with hospitals named after Saints because the child that was born 2000 years ago taught his followers to care for the sick. Relief agencies such as the Salvation Army, World Hope and Compassion touch the least of these in the world they do it in the name of Jesus because he taught his followers that we had an obligation to the poor. Most of the atheists who attack the church will even acknowledge that many of them received their education in universities that were started by followers of the God they deny.
The world today is what it is because of the birth of a child 2000 years ago in a stable located in an obscure village country considered insignificant by most of the known world.
But, Jesus didn’t come to change the world, he came to change people, the line that was drawn on that first Christmas would radically change the lives of people.
Of course the first people who were changed were those who were closest, Christmas changed Mary and Joseph’s World. How could their lives not be changed? The entire story is summed up in Matthew 1:18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The couple was engaged, that’s normal. From the very foundation of time men and women have been choosing to spend their lives together in a socially and legally recognized union that we call marriage, and Mary and Joseph were no different. We don’t know how they met and we don’t know how old they were. What we do know is that they were engaged to be married, they weren’t yet married and Mary was a virgin. Everything is going well, just the way it was supposed to be going. They were probably planning for the big day and dreaming of their lives together. And then an angel shows up with an announcement that changes everything. Reminds me of John Lennon’s words “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
Just imagine what the news meant to Mary and Joseph. People would never view them the same, to some they would always be that couple, who had to get married. And they would always feel the weight of the responsibility that God had entrusted them with. This is my son, he’s going to save the world, and I want you to take care of him, make sure that he stays safe and healthy and bring him up knowing about me.
And for thirty three years Mary marvelled at the son she called Jesus and the responsibility that was hers. And to be truthful she probably couldn’t comprehend the plan when she held her son before he was laid in a borrowed manger and still couldn’t comprehend the plan when she held her son before he was laid in a borrowed grave. But her words were words of trust in Luke 1:38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”