Summary: A Christmas Presence for Baby Jesus.
For the next 4 Sundays we are going to be spending our time preparing for Christmas by becoming familiar with those people God invited to be at his son’s birth. When God decided the time was right, he birthed his son in the flesh to be Immanuel - "God with us" and when he did he sent out some Birth announcements - because God wanted and desired.
Particular types of people to be the first to see the Christ-child.
But unlike the typical recipients of such announcements -
Neighbors and friends
God invited and encouraged a Wild Card Prophet, some Star-loving spiritually sensitive Magi, some dirty-night shift working shepherds and a humble quiet girl named Mary.
As I began to plan out these next 4 weeks about 6 weeks ago - the fact that God notified,
John the Baptist
The Magi or Wise Men
And Mary to be present when Jesus became flesh began to cause my mind to turn.
Would I have invited such a cast to the Skagit Valley Hospital Maternity Ward? "Hey Deb - now that you’ve just spent 6 hours birthing Luke, Ben and Emma - I rounded up some people to come and see our newborn child."
Deb - this camel hair wearing, locust and honey eating man is John the Baptist.
And Honey - the robed wearing, jewel encrusted men whose camels you hear outside are wise men - we need some wisdom right now.
Sweet Pea - stick with me now. There are some shepherds in the hallway that I’ve invited. Once you get past their looks and their smell - you’ll be glad they’re here.
And my love - "I also have a teenaged girl in the hallway Mary - I wanted her to see our child."
If these 4 people or groups of people would have joined our celebrations at the hospital having been invited by me - you can be sure that I would have heard about it from Deb and our anxious grandparents.
When you think about.
As you imagine your own nativity scene at home isn’t it odd that these people were not just present but invited and pursued by our God to be the first to see his Son.
God was intentional in getting the news to them.
God was selective in who heard and how they heard.
Had a plan.
Had a reason for these people.
To be present at the birth of his son Jesus.
Some of you right now are wanting to correct me on my Bible right now but I realize that John the Baptist wasn’t in Bethlehem at the birthing of Christ - I’m not trying to write that into our Bibles, but I have chosen to clump him in with the Wise Men
Mary because he was the first one to confirm to both his mom Elizabeth and to Mary that the baby within her was indeed as Gabriel said.
John in a sense was awaiting and affirmed the birth of Jesus just as the other 3 did.
These 4 - John
And Mary along with some others formed a community of people.
A Christmas community or as our 4 week message series is called - A Christmas Presence for the baby Jesus.
They were a presence.
A group of adoring eyes.
A group of loving hearts and receptive hands to the miracle of the Christ-child being given to us.