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Summary: A sermon for Advent.

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Luke 1:26-38

Isaiah 7:14

“Christmas Is Not Your Birthday: Expect a Miracle” (based on Mike Slaughter's Book "Christmas Is Not Your Birthday)

What do you suppose God looks like?

Artists have given a shot at attempting to give us a physical picture of God in countless ways.

Centuries before Jesus’ birth the prophets spoke of the Messiah as:

“Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of peace.”

In Isaiah 54 we are told that the Messiah would also know suffering and rejection, and Isaiah 61 tells us that His mission would be to the poor and marginalized.

Still, what this Messiah would look like and what His mission would be were diverse and contradictory.

This is one of the reasons why many people didn’t recognize Him when He did come.

What is your mental picture of God?

What do you think God is like when you are praying to God?

Is God a critical, condemning judge or a merciful, loving parent?

Does God favor some people over others, or does God love every person the same?

Like I said, Jesus wasn’t what most folks expected.

Everything about Jesus’ life stood in stark contrast to worldly values.

Jesus arrived on the scene…

…not in great strength but vulnerable and weak.

He was not born with a “silver spoon” in His mouth, but in a cave for animals.

Jesus was a Palestinian Jew Who grew up in a community of marginalized and oppressed people.

As a matter of fact, Jesus spent the earliest years of His life as a refuge in Africa, running from political genocide.

And growing up He lived in a little village as a member of a working class family.

When Jesus got older, He resisted the world’s obsessions with wealth and power…

…and instead identified with the weak, the powerless, the widows, the orphans, the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the lepers.

He didn’t condemn sinners but defended, forgave, healed and saved them.

So what does God look like?

God looks like Jesus!!!

He is Immanuel, which means, “God with us.”

In Jesus we see, not only the face of God but also the fullness of His humanity.

We see who you and I were created to be.

Jesus is God.

And that is the BEST NEWS there ever was and ever will be!!!

It’s been said that too often we view Jesus like Santa Clause—a genie in a bottle, here to fulfill three wishes.

All we have to do is name it and claim it, believe it and receive it.

Oftentimes, I think, we tend to create this Santa Clause Jesus in our own image…

…like a golden calf Messiah who promises to fulfill our every whim…

…an idol who supports our quest for material wealth outside a relationship with God.

Many of us even have a Savior who roots for our favorite football team!

Just think of the way we describe Santa Clause: "He sees you when you're sleeping...He knows when you've been bad or good!"

But Jesus is not some mythical watchdog Who judges our niceness or naughtiness and gives out rewards and punishments accordingly!!!

Jesus did not come shimmying down the chimney bearing gifts for good boys and girls.


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