Summary: His first coming brought you liberation, His second coming is going to bring you transformation. His first coming brought heaven down to you; His second coming will bring you up to heaven.
Christmas Is Coming Again
Scripture Reference: Acts 1:1 – 11
There is clear evidence that we are in the throes of the holiday season. It actually started the day after Thanksgiving. Someone even said that preparations where even being made after Halloween.
Have you caught the fever so far? Have you been swept up into the frenzy of the season? What around your house shows evidence that Christmas is near? Or are you the last minute preparer? You know if you don’t have the tree up by know you are already too late?
What mall is calling you? What sell or deal has been screaming your name in the final days before the big occasion? What’s your stress level, high blood pressure, sugar readings look like? I know some of you say Reverend, I ain’t there and I ain’t going to get that high.
Paul Harvey a radio announcer tells of a man in England who had rented an old bomb shelter. His intention was to stay there from the middle of December until sometime in early January. His purpose: to escape Christmas. Paul Harvey said that the sad thing was - there were 49 others in line behind him wanting to do exactly the same thing.
Reports declare that the suicide, homicide, and robbery rates are most high around the Christmas season stemmed from depression, loneliness, isolation, the sense of loss, the feeling of the overwhelmed, the reality that your money is funny, and your credit is wrecked.
You’ve tried to take Scott Donahue’s advice, “credit, forget it”, but you can’t because it still haunts you; through the mail, through the phone, and on the job.
I have to pause and say, that God has made a way and God will make a way. Not so that you can become drunk from shoppers gone wild or intoxicated with the commercialism brought on by the demands of the lovers and the little ones in your house.
Christmas day has been set to remind us visibly about the greatest gift that has ever been given in the history of man. It didn’t come displayed in a Hecht’s catalogue or a Macy’s brochure, but in flesh just like you and I. The greatest gift --- Jesus Christ.
This message though, serves to go beyond this Christmas. The thought is centered on the fact that Christmas is coming again and my prayer is to unfold the idea in the coming moments.
I am not seeking to be evangelistic, though if one comes to Christ today, it will be by the power of the Holy Spirit alone. I am not seeking to be prophetic by bringing gloom and doom as it relates to the evils and ills of commercialism and its effect on the true meaning of Christmas.
I want to speak from a pastoral frame of reference to remind us that Christ is the cornerstone of the season, not the Christmas paper or the Christmas party. It is about the fact that Jesus came.
I. The Initial Coming of Christ
Matthew 1:23 records, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which is being interpreted is, God with us.”
Think for a moment about the implication of that verse. This holiday season is about God being with us. Jesus wasn’t born in a stable to be with the animals. He didn’t come all of this way to identify with the chickens or to run with the horses.
He did not exit eternity and step down through forty-two generations to hang out with the dogs or to howl with the wolves or to hoot with the owls.
Jesus Christ came as God to be with us. Charles Wesley, the co-founder of the United Methodist church wrote of the glory of God coming to us in human form in his powerful Christmas message:
Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King.
Peace on Earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see. Hail the incarnate Trinity.
Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus Our Immanuel.
The good news is that the estrangement is over. In Jesus we know who God is and what he is like. Jesus is not the God of thunderbolts but the Son of God the loving Father.
A. We Celebrate His Humanity
When He came the initial time, it was in skin like you and I. We celebrate His humanity.
He was carried and weaned by a mother
He became hungry
He became tired
He became angry
He was emotional
He showed compassion
He talked, walked, he saw, and he heard
He felt pain, was talked about, rejected, and experienced death threats.
He was very much a baby, a boy, and a man in His humanity.