Summary: This sermon takes a look at what Christmas was like when Christ was born, the way it is today, and the way it may be in the future uless something changes.
Title: Christmas Past, Christmas Present, Christmas Future
Location: Sulphur Spring Baptist church
Introduction: In 1843 Charles Dickens was in dept and needed to make some money as quick as possible to be able to pay off the debt. So he wrote a little Christmas book called “A Christmas Carol.” The book was an instant success, selling 6 thousand copies in just one week. The story of mean old Ebenezer Scrooge, and poor little, ‘tiny Tim’ has been a Christmas classic ever since.
Dickens used three ghosts to help him tell the story. The Ghost of Christmas Past, The ghost of Christmas present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to come. I want to use the same idea this morning to tell the story of Christmas. But of course our guide will be The Holy Spirit instead of Ghosts.
I. LET’S BEGIN BY TAKING A LOOK AT CHRISTMAS PAST, AS IT IS RECORDED IN THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW.
It’s a simple, yet fascinating story. A young Jewish girl named Mary who was probably no more than 13 or 14 years old was engaged to marry a man by the name of Joseph. But before they were married, an Angel of God appeared to Mary and told her that she was going to give birth to a son. Mary didn’t understand how this could happen since she was still a virgin. The angel explained to her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and that she would become pregnant and give birth to a son. Even though she didn’t understand everything, Mary told the angel that she was willing to do whatever God wanted her to do.
Meanwhile, in a couple of months it became evident to everyone including Joseph that Mary was pregnant. You can imagine what he must have thought. Joseph had made his mind up to divorce her quietly, because even though he would have been within his right to have Mary killed for committing adultery, he was a very loving and caring man, and he didn’t want any harm to come to Mary or her baby.
But then the angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and explained everything to him and convinced him to go ahead with his plans make Mary his wife because the child she was carrying had been conceived by Holy Spirit. The angel also told Joseph that when the baby was born that he was to name the child “Jesus, because He would save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:18-23
Now for the rest of the story I want to show you a short video clip.
Play video clip “Luke 1:1-20” – from the DVD “Focus on the Holidays” by Group
Obviously we could spend all of our time this morning talking about the significance of these two passages of Scripture. But for now I simply want to remind you that God sent his only begotten Son into the world as an innocent child and entrusted him to an ordinary couple named Mary and Joseph.
II. NOW LETS SPEND A FEW MINUTES THINKING ABOUT CHRISTMAS PRESENT.
It’s been 2000 years and the simple, yet fascinating story of Mary & Joseph and baby Jesus being born in a manger in the little town of Bethlehem just doesn’t seem to be good enough any more. I guess you could say that some people are doing their best to see that it is fazed out.
Today people are more familiar with stories like “How The Grinch stole Christmas” or “Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer,” or ‘The Santa Clause,” than they are the Real Christmas story.
I received an e-mail this week that I believe sums up Christmas Present very well. It is entitled “A month before Christmas” and it goes like this:
’Twas the month before Christmas when all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying nor taking a stand.
Why the PC Police had taken away,
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing,
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people’s feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a " Holiday ".
Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
As Targets are hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe’s the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny’s and Sears
You won’t hear the word Christmas; it won’t touch your ears.
Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-is-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.