Summary: Christmas is a paradox. The Christmas story is filled with the unexpected—the unimaginable. And yet the Christ Child was born amidst these paradoxes; let’s for a few moments think the paradox of Christmas.
“As helpless as He was He deserved more privacy. Yet they gathered and stared, not completely understanding what they saw—just that they had to see. . .
“Mary was tired and sore and a little sick. But she had heard the heralding angel and knew they would come, that they had to come to see this small life that had been holy conceived inside her. She did what she could to tidy the dusty stall putting fresh hay in the manger and carefully wrapping the Child. There was no more time to be done. She smiled bravely, trying to look her best, trying to collect her thoughts, and slow her racing heart.
“Joseph stood by beside his beloved young wife, uncertain how to act, how to stand. He was a father, yet not a father. He was proud of his brave Mary, and awed by this birth. Just moments before she had been wracked by the shrieking pains of labor. And above her screams and sobs, he could have sworn he heard singing. Voices sweet like only voices of angels could be.
“Then the Child’s first grasping cries crashing against the impinging darkness. He wasn’t sure he would ever understand what was taking place, and not sure he wanted to. Shifting his weight, he stood silent, his brow creased in thought watching the gathering people . . .
“The shepherds, gesturing from stall to sky, began talking in quick excited words about what they had seen and heard in the hills. How night turned to noon, and of angel choirs and the Child found just as was promised, small, red, and wrinkled, sleeping next to cattle and chickens . . .
“It was all too amazing. Yet He lay quietly dozing, having just been fed, not totally unaware of the world, but not more so than any other newborn. He deserved more privacy. But they would never leave Him alone. Always they would come to Him, time after time, to adore and obey, or to mock and kill, as the paradox of Christmas began burning in their hearts.”
Stephen R. Clark (Pentecostal Evangel; December 25, 1994)
Christmas is a paradox. The Christmas story is filled with the unexpected—the unimaginable. And yet the Christ Child was born amidst these paradoxes; let’s for a few moments think the paradox of Christmas.
1. The Paradox of the Presents.
Isn’t it amazing that as we celebrate Jesus’ birthday you and I are the ones who get all the presents? If we aren’t careful Christmas day can quickly come and go and all we think about are our gifts instead of pausing to remember Jesus—the real gift of Christmas.
Christmas is not about presents; Christmas is about Christ’s presence
• John 3:16 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus did not come into the world to receive presents from us but to give! Jesus is the greatest gift of all. Jesus is Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” Christ’s presence is worth far more than the value of all our presents combined.
Illustration: “It’s the thought that counts.” The value of the gifts we give is greater than the money we spend—WE ARE GIVING A PART OF OURSELVES; WE GIVE OUR PRESENCE WITHIN THE GIFT.
2. The Paradox of the Place.
• Isaiah 9:6-7 (NLT)
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!
Where should this child be born? What place would we choose for the coming of the Prince of Peace? God chose the place to be a stable; His bed to be a manger.
Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, shouldn’t he have been born in a better place? Shouldn’t Jesus have had fine linens and fragrant perfumes instead of torn strips of cloth and the smell of animals?
Yet into a stable, born in a manger—Jesus welcomed the shepherds and He welcomes us all. None are too great, no one is too small. Jesus came to a place where anyone willing to come could find Him.
3. The Paradox of the Pine.
For many their Christmas celebration centers around the Christmas tree. An evergreen pine, whether real or an artificial tree, is decorated with lights and all that glitters.
Within Christ’s nativity there was no decorated pine; no twinkling lights, ornaments or garland. The scene of Christ’s birth was just a stable with a dirt floor, hay and straw mixed with the smell and sound of animals.