1. One of our most treasured memories from my childhood is the memories of Christmas morning. Waking up early to see what was stuffed in the stockingwhich hung by my bedroom door. Usually there was candy and chocolate and some special little toys. And then to go downstairs to see what presents had my name on it. And then the family getting together around the tree. The excitement of surprises as the wrapping was torn away from the boxes. And to go church and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour.
2. Christmas morning - the most special of all the mornings of the year.
3. This evening we look back at that first Christmas morning. No trees, no stockings, no candies and chocolates, not even a church service.
4. Was that first Christmas morning a special morning? For some it was special and for some it was not. For some it was a very ordinary morning.
5. For Mary and Joseph it was a no ordinary morning. They must have been exhausted. Their long journey to Bethlehem. The discomfort of trying to sleep in a stable. The hard work of giving birth to a new born baby.
6. Not just an ordinary baby, but to the one the angel had said would be the Saviour of the world. The one who one day would give His life on the cross so we might have life, eternal life.
7. And then to have the shepherds come to visit. They had been told by the angels and they were amazed to see the Christ child.
8. But that was all over now. They were all alone, just the three of them. Jesus and His earthly parents.
9. They slept in that first Christmas morning. But for Mary and Joseph, it was no ordinary morning
10. And for the shepherds, the morning was not ordinary. The night had not been ordinary. God had come to them and revealed that the Messiah had finally been born to save His people. They could not help but glorify and praise God for the things they had seen and heard. They told their families. But without telephones, email or faxes, there were not that many people they could tell.
11. For most of the people, it was an ordinary morning. They did not know what had happened in that stable the night before.
12. In fact word did not even get to Jerusalem. It seemed like a local story. The kind that makes the Chatham Daily News but not the London Free Press, let alone the Globe and Mail.
13. In fact it would not be until days later that King Herod would even know.
14. And then there were some men from the east. Magi - those who had been searching for the truth. They had been told that there would be a star in the sky which would lead them to the king of the Jews. They did not know all the prophecies about the Messiah. They were not of the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people. But God had out it on their hearts that something extraordinary had happened.
15. And so on that Christmas morning, or perhaps a little later, they began a journey. In fact, it was probably later. Christmas morning may have seemed ordinary at the time, but that would soon change. Joseph and Mary had stayed in Bethlehem. They no longer slept in a stable but in a home. And the magi arrived at their home weeks after Jesus was born.
16. When they saw the Christ child they bowed down and worshipped Him. They knew this was no ordinary baby. They gave Him gifts befitting a king. Gold and incense and myrrh.
17. For some Christmas morning was the same as any morning. For some it was extraordinary. But whether or not they realized it, that Christmas was unlike any other. And no morning after that would ever be the same.
18. For God came to us and was with us that first morning. And He stayed with us. He showed us how great His love was. By coming as a child, to be man, to bring us back to Him. For He knew we would never come to Him on our own. So He came to us.
19. But we need to recognize who He is. That He is the only way to His Father. That as we read in Acts 4:12, salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
20. That Christmas morning happened so long ago. We were not there when Christ was born. Neither were the magi, but they came from afar and still did worship Him.