Summary: At Christmas time we need to praise God for the simplicity of His coming, the majesty of the Savior, and the grandeur of His mission.
Christmas, a Time to Praise God Luke 2:14, 15
INTRO.: The story of the announcement of the birth of Jesus to shepherds in the pastures of Judea began with terror for those shepherds. "They were terrified." (V. 9) It ended with the shepherds "glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen." (V. 20). In 13 & 14, we see the angels praising and glorifying God..
Ever since that night, Christmas has been an occasion for praise. It is no accident so many Christmas songs are songs of praise. We sing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," "The First Noel," "O Holy Night," etc.
During this Christmas season and as we think about the Lord’s birth any time of the year, we should be moved to praise God for many blessings He sends. In this passage, we find some reasons for blessing Him you may not have thought of.
I. I want to praise God for the simplicity of His advent:
A. What if e had planned and carried out the advent?
1. The way we celebrate His coming gives us a clue.
2. First, we would have a huge parade a month ahead to prepare people.
3. Then, a "stable decorating contest."
4. Gifts, cards. Decorations in stores, parks.
5. Houses and neighborhoods would blaze with colored lights.
6. Songs would fill the air and women would cook for days.
B. Contrast this with the way the all wise God did it:
1. Announcement came to shepherds on a quiet hillside, away from all the bustle of the census.
2. Bethlehem was a rimy village in a politically insignificant country.
3. A tiny babe is born & laid in a cattle feed trough.
4. God used a tyrant’s tax decree to fulfill prophecy and the King of the universe came to earth virtually unheralded and practically unnoticed.
5. God is content to work like yeast in dough. We would have used dynamite.
C. We praise Him for the way He came:
1. Because He seems so at home among the common place of His creation, among folk like us.
2. We can know Him like we cannot know Presidents, Kings, and the rich and famous.
3. He cares for us common folk and gives a sense of worth and meaning to our lives.
4. Because of Him, the stable, the crowds, animals, family, even taxes have a sacred place in our collective memory.
II. I want to praise Him for the majesty of Jesus. He is King as well as peasant.
A. He is, after all, no one less than God Himself:
1. He has come in fulfillment of a thousand and a half years of prophecy. Living Word.
2. He is conceived of no one less powerful than the Spirit of God Who hovered over the face of the deep in the day of creation. The eternal God.
3. Arabian kings bowed at his cradle. Herod, the reigning king felt threatened.
4. Certainly, this babe in the manger is no ordinary child in spite of His humble surroundings.
B. In Him, we see the heavenly Father:
1. He made this claim later in life. John 14:9, 10
2. He lived to manifest the power and love of God.
3. He taught the Father’s will and commands to His subjects. The Father, spoke to and through Him.
C. Yet, for all His majesty, His was a life of service to people like us:
1. Came not to be served, but to serve. Matt. 20:28
2. Healed their illnesses, freed them from bondage, taught them, washed their feet, and, in the end, died for them.
3. Made lowly service honorable and we still honor those who serve. We never forgot the lesson.
III. I praise Him for the grandeur of His mission:
A. He came to bring abundant life to all men everywhere:
1. His goal is, firstly, to improve the quality of men’s lives: Luke 4:18
2. He wants to unite all men and bring about peace on earth if we will allow it.
3. He wants to free us from fear. It’s remarkable how many times the phrase "do not be afraid" appears in the Gospels.
4. He will bring inner peace to your life, if you will surrender to Him in trust.
B. He came to unite Heaven and Earth:
1. Sin had separated the realms of God’s creation. Seldom was the veil penetrated.
2. At His birth, angels came from Heaven to earth, a new star shone in the heavens to guide earthbound seekers to His cradle,
3. God entered His creation as a tiny, helpless child, both human and divine.
4. God cares about His creation and has made it possible for us to enter into Glory with Him.
C. He came to deliver us from death and bring eternal life. What could be more ambitious?