Summary: The birth of Jesus Christ should motivate us to exalt and worship God, just as the angels sang, "Glory to God in the Highest."
Christmas: Glory to God in the Highest
(Note: Although the points in this sermon are similar to a previous sermon I composed, this version contains more newly-added Jewish roots material; the skeleton may be similar, but there is more meat on the bones!)
1. Admiring the Christmas trees displayed in his neighbor's windows, Nathan asks his father, 'Daddy, can we have a Hanukkah Tree?'
'What? No, of course not.' says his father.
'Why not?' asks Nathan again.
Bewildered, his father replies, 'Well, Nathan, because the last time we had dealings with a lighted bush we spent 40 years in the wilderness.'
3. Christmas is more than trees, glitter, presents, and fruit cake. To those of us who know the Lord, Christmas can become a deeply spiritual time as well.
Main Idea: The birth of Jesus Christ should motivate us to exalt and worship God, just as the angels sang, "Glory to God in the Highest."
TS------→The events surrounding the birth of Christ reveal some special truths about God.
I. God is A God With A PLAN (1-7)
A. Good leaders know how to wait and be PATIENT
1. has influence
2. takes initiative or has a plan…
3. and that plan can be do nothing or wait; God, the ultimate leader, makes us wait
4. the Jewish people had waited over 400 years before God began acting…
B. God uses even UNGODLY people for his purposes (1)
1. Caesar Augustus: Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)…
2. This was all timed, Daniel 9 (crucifixion date after Mar. 30, AD 33)
3. God had a plan….line of David, place, time—all mapped out
4. History is heading somewhere….seems random (don’t like the way things going)
C. Joseph and Mary journeyed to BETHLEHEM (4)
1. Why was Bethlehem Joseph’s hometown? Is this based on David 1K years earlier?
2. Joseph probably inherited family land there, maybe had grown up there? His town.
3. Evidence of movement from Bethlehem first and then to Nazareth
4. Was land passed down in Bethlehem to the direct descendants of David?
D. Why didn't Joseph and Mary WAIT?
1. Could have gone earlier or later
2. No cell phone to call for reservations!
3. Inn (stone lodging area) filled, but with relatives (distant and near);
FYI, The history of “The Inn.” This land had been given to Chimham by David (2 Samuels 19:32-40); It was a place to accommodate a number of travelers (Jeremiah 41:17)
Holman Bible Dictionary, “ee' rewth) Part of a place name meaning, “hospitality” (Jeremiah 41:17) translated differently—KJV: “habitation of Chimham”; NAS, NRSV: “Geruth Chimham”; REB: “Kimham's holding.” Fugitives stopped there near Bethlehem on their way to Egypt fleeing from Ishmael, who had killed Gedaliah, whom Babylon had appointed governor of Judah after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. It apparently designated an inn or lodging place near Bethlehem. It may have represented the first stop across the border from Judah into Egyptian-controlled territory.”
4. Probably answers
--Joseph and Mary had planned to move to Bethlehem anyway; scandal to be expecting out of wedlock, would not broadcasted miraculous conception of Jesus,
---When the Magi came months later, lived in a house in Bethlehem (his own?)
---Probably did not expect baby to born yet…thought would have time to settle…
God's plans were different than Joseph & Mary's
----no matter how godly we are, we cannot perfectly predict God's direction
—- not wise to be overly spiritual, interpreting everything as a sign…
E. Jesus the firstborn both to Mary and legally firstborn to JOSEPH (7)
Matthew 13: 55-56, “Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”
Application: Our plans do not always go as we intend; God’s determined plans never fail. And his plans perplex us. Jesus could have been born in an Inn. He could have been born in a house. Joseph and Mary could have challenged God’s wisdom, love, or foresight. But they didn’t; they hung onto what they did understand and made the best of things.
F. Application: God’s plan centers around Jesus; to be in God’s plan, you need JESUS
II. God Specially Loves to INCLUDE the Humble (8-20)
A. Where Jesus was born and the shepherds reaffirm God’s love of HUMILITY
1. The Jews practically worshipped their rabbis; Jesus welcomed by shepherds
2. Considered a poor man's occupation…out in field (year round)
3. Perhaps Isaiah 1:3 foreshadows a deeper meaning: “The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”
B. An UNNAMED angel appears, makes the announcement
(1) fear…good news