Summary: This brief message was used after our Sunday Morning Christmas Cantata ... to wrap up the Christmas story ... and prepare hearts so there will be no SURPRISES when we must face Jesus.

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“Christmas Surprise”

INTRODUCTION: Christmas is full of surprises! Gifts are tightly wrapped in multi-colored paper, so you don’t know what’s inside until you open them (UNLESS, you peeked!).

We get “surprise gifts” …

o Like that tie that you’ll never wear.

o Like the underwear you got as a child … when you wanted a pony! (ILL: - My Sister’s bike!)

o Like the Christmas card from that person you thought you’d lost track of.

The FIRST Christmas was full of surprises, as well. Since God doesn’t do things the same way we would (Thank God!), He often SURPRISES us.

The FIRST Christmas brought some SURPRISES to:

ELIZABETH – She never expected to have a baby in her old age. John the Baptist came as a complete SURPRISE. John’s message of REPENTANCE also came as a SURPRISE to the world. His mission was to prepare the hearts of the people for Jesus, the Messiah.

The FIRST Christmas brought some SURPRISES to:

MARY – Mary had witnessed the SURPRISE of her cousin Elisabeth … THEN … she had a SURPRISE of her own! She was chosen to be the mother of God’s Son. Jesus was “The heavenly son of an earthly mother … the earthly Son of a Heavenly Father.”

The FIRST Christmas brought some SURPRISES to:

JOSEPH – Since Joseph knew he wasn’t the father of Mary’s child, her pregnancy came as a big surprise to him! It started out as a TRAGEDY. BUT … when Joseph understood God’s plan, he accepted his part in God’s planning of the first Christmas.

The FIRST Christmas brought some SURPRISES to:

JEWS – They weren’t expecting their Messiah to be born like this … to lowly parents … in a stable. They were looking for a KING. BUT … there was no crown … no palace … no royalty … no riches.

o An “illegitimate child” … their King?

o A carpenter’s son … their King?

o A self-taught preacher … their Messiah?

o A friend of sinners … their Messiah?

o Dying on a cross as a criminal … between 2 thieves … their King?

They had OTHER PLANS as how God should give them their King … to overthrow the Roman oppression.

The FIRST Christmas brought some SURPRISES to:

SHEPHERDS – They were just keeping their flocks by night. It was a night like any other night. THEN … an angel came, and they were “sore afraid” (a “wet your pants” afraid!). They didn’t expect to be the first witnesses to the newborn Son of God.

The FIRST Christmas brought some SURPRISES to:

BETHLEHEM – This sleepy little town was only 5 miles from the Capital City of Jerusalem. Surely the “King of the Jews” would be born in Jerusalem! Bethlehem was about to go down in history! They never thought that for centuries to come, people would sing “O Little Town Of Bethlehem”.

Christmas is full of surprises! Jesus would surprise YOU … if He came TODAY, instead of 2000 years ago.

o Jesus had a COMMON NAME … “Jesus” … like Henry, Fred, or BOB, today.

o Jesus came from a SMALL TOWN … Bethlehem … like BELL, today.

o Jesus had a COMMON OCCUPATION … carpenter … like a BRICK-LAYER, today.

o Jesus wore REGULAR CLOTHES … a robe … like blue jeans, flannel shirt, John Deere Cap, today.

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