Summary: A sermon on the TRUE meaning of Christmas.
“Christmas: God With Us!”
Dr. John McArthur, in his book The Miracle of Christmas, tells an interesting story about the confusion and error which abound at Christmastime.
A little girl came home from Sunday school triumphantly waving a paper. “Mommy!” she said, “My teacher says I drew the most unusual Christmas picture she has ever seen!”
The mother studied the picture for a moment and concluded it was indeed a very peculiar Christmas picture. “This is wonderfully drawn, but why have you made all these people riding on the back of an airplane?” the mother gently asked.
“It’s the flight into Egypt,” the little girl said, with a hint of disappointment that the picture’s meaning was not immediately obvious.
“Oh,” the mother said cautiously. “Well, who is this mean-looking man at the front?”
“That’s Pontius, the Pilot,” the girl said, now visibly impatient.
“I see. And here you have Mary and Joseph and the baby” the mother volunteered. Studying the picture silently for a moment, she summoned the courage to ask, “But who is this fat man sitting behind Mary?”
The little girl sighed. “Can’t you tell? That’s Round John Virgin!”
In one sense, that story is humorous. But, in another, it is quite reflective of the misunderstanding and absolute error which abound at this time of the year. Open your Bibles, please, to Matthew chapter 1 – and let’s read about the greatest event in all of history!
You say, “Well that’s Easter!” No, for actually, without Christmas, there would have never been an Easter! Amen? The greatest single event in all of history, the event which the prophets foretold, the event which made the Invisible God – UP THERE the very personal God – DOWN HERE! – is the story of the incarnation of Jesus Christ!
[Read Text: Matthew 1:18-25]
This evening finds us well into the Christmas season and all of its attendant busy-ness, plans, programs, and travel. And yet, it is possible – in all of the “rush” of this season, to miss the entire meaning of Christmas.
In fact, if you were to ask the average person just what “Christmas” really means, I imagine that you would get all sorts of answers. Some would say that it is presents – and, to some degree it is. Some would say that it’s spending time with family – and, of course, that too is a part of it. Others might say it’s a few days off from work or school – school and college students, especially, might include that into their answer. But, as it concerns the real meaning of Christmas, they would all be wrong.
The title of this message is also the true definition of Christmas, and that is: “God with us.” Our key text – and the true meaning of Christmas – is found right here in Matthew 1:23. “Behold, the virgin shall be with Child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, ‘God with us.’”
The fact of the matter is, we are in danger today of losing Christmas – and we have been for quite a long while. Yes, it is one of the most popular holidays of the entire year – but we are losing it just the same. We are in danger of losing Christmas because we have made all of the lesser things of Christmas the MAJOR things! We have exalted the trappings of Christmas, and minimized (or even ignored) the TRUE “reason for the season.” We, as a nation, have become so preoccupied with presents and tinsel and gifts, that we have overlooked the true “reason for the season.”
ILLUSTRATION: We are not unlike the couple who threw a lavish party to introduce their new baby to their community. On the appointed evening, people from all around came to celebrate this new birth. As each one entered, their coats and gifts were taken to an adjoining bedroom and laid upon the bed. Finally, the big moment arrived, and the new mother went to get the child only to find, to her absolute horror, that the baby had been smothered by all of the coats and presents – and was dead!
In a very related way, that is what has happened to Christmas!
ILLUSTRATION: I am reminded of a man who, on the day after Christmas, asked a little girl if she had gotten everything she wanted. “No,” she said. “But then again, it’s not MY birthday!”
In America this very evening, there are constant and endless assaults upon God and upon Jesus Christ – and the true meaning of Christmas. Just as surely as Herod asked the Wise Men to find Jesus and report back so that he could find the babe and kill Him – just as surely do we have our “Herods” today who, if they can possibly get their way, will make Christmas about everything BUT honoring the Lord Jesus Christ!