Summary: A Christmas sermon that looks at the meaning of Christmas and the deeper implication of the holiday by seeing how we can learn from the child, learn as a child, and witness about the child.
(Portions of this sermon are based on the sermon by Deffner, Donald L., “Christmas as a Little Child,” Sermons for Church Year Festivals, CPH, St. Louis, 1997, pg. 36- 40.)
In the book Mrs. Miniver, the author, Jan Struther, described her family’s Christmas. She wrote, “However much one groaned about it beforehand, however much one hated making arrangements and doing up parcels and ordering several days’ meals in advance—when it actually happened, Christmas Day was always fun.”
Tomorrow, though, may be the big let-down. In fact, it’s already come for some. In the not so distant past, on Christmas Eve in one grocery store, the woman at the bakery counter was methodically tearing down all the festive decoration—at 3:15 in the afternoon! Another clerk said to a customer, “I had so hoped they’d leave the decorations up at least until New Year’s.” Yes, the world’s so-called Christmas is soon over. Many are not looking at the celebration of a Savior who has arrived, but are focused on the sales pitch of the Christmas event. For some, Christmas is over in their hearts before the first carol is even sung. Some don’t know why Christmas is even celebrated.
How will you properly celebrate this blessed Christmas Day—and the joyous days that are to come in its aftermath? There’s only one way to celebrate Christmas: “As a little child.”
Our text is the well-known Christmas Gospel. In this lesson, one point is repeated several times: a baby—a son—a child. God in his majesty and might could have chosen to dazzle us with his omnipotent power in some spectacular fashion. Instead he chose to reveal himself as a lowly Babe in a manger. But, only when a child came was there a Christmas.
Only as you become like a child can you have, and keep Christmas. This morning, I want to look at the meaning of Christmas and the deeper implication of the holiday by seeing how we can learn from the child, learn as a child, and witness about the child.
Learn from the Child
First of all, we need to be ready to listen when God speaks, even when his message to us doesn’t come in a way we expect it. Sometimes, “a little child shall lead them.” Look at the some of the events around Jesus life. As a child, Jesus told a military captain that he could be healed of his leprosy. A child was called to our Lord’s knee as an example to show how one should view life to enter the kingdom of God. With one of Jesus’ miracles, a child brought the bread and fish which our Lord used to feed the multitude. And in these latter days God revealed himself to us through a Son—a child, Christ the Lord—who fulfilled the promise made in the Old Testament. Isaiah wrote “To us a Child is born, to us a Son is given” (Isaiah 9:6).
When we see this Babe “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12), we are tempted to forget that he is the Almighty God. But when we hear a heavenly host of angels celebrating His birth, then the Spirit moves us to confess, “Surely it can be no other than the Son of God!”
But many people are not ready to receive God “as a little child.” Many people on that first Christmas night were not ready for this news. Camped around Jerusalem were the Roman legions, none of whom were child-like. It was Christmas Day there too, but it was only for the shepherds on the Judean hills that the angels sang. It was Christmas Day in Herod’s palace, but the Savior was born in a lowly stable and to a humble virgin named Mary. Around the world were many wise and astronomers, but they saw no star. Instead, it appeared to others: the Wise Magi who longed to see the Light of the world.
Learn as a Child
Are you ready for Christmas? Are you ready to get down on your knees before the manger? Are you ready to stoop down to the level of a child so you can see the miracle in a manger?
In a playground in Chicago, there are many playgrounds build for our little boys and girls. Small children enter a “tiny tot play lot” through a low gateway shaped like a keyhole. To enter the playgrounds, a child must be able to walk upright through a low gate. It’s their size that allows them to enter.
Your size, too—the size of your ego—determines whether or not you can have Christmas and the kingdom of heaven this lowly Babe would bring you. “Remember this!” Jesus said. “Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it” (Luke 18:17). This is the only way.