Summary: This sermon says that Christmas is not just a holiday but a holy day.
CHRISTMAS – THE HOLY DAY
Matthew 1:18–25 (NIV)
ILLUSTRATION Consider Again Christmas When Pope Julius I authorized December 25 to be celebrated as the birthday of Jesus in A.D. 353, who would have ever thought that it would become what it is today. When Professor Charles Follen lit the candles on the first Christmas tree in America in 1832, who would have ever thought that the decorations would become as elaborate as they are today? It is a long time since 1832, longer still from 353, longer still from that dark night brightened by a special star in which Jesus the king was born. Yet, as we approach December 25 again, it gives us yet another opportunity to pause. (Copied)
And in the midst of all the excitement and elaborate decorations and expensive commercialization which surround Christmas today, to consider again the event of Christmas and the person whose birth we celebrate.
A. Christmas is the Day of God’s Visitation (vv. 18-20)
When Joseph found out that Mary her fiancée was pregnant he had in mind to divorce her quietly. Why? They have never slept together because they were not married yet. Definitely, the child in Mary’s womb was not his. After he made his decision to divorce Mary, the angel of the Lord intervened to save the relationship. The angel appeared in a dream and explained to Joseph who was responsible for Mary’s pregnancy.
Mary perhaps explained to Joseph what happened since it was earlier revealed to Mary by the angel. Joseph obviously did not believe. Therefore the angel explained that the child is from the Holy Spirit – the Holy Spirit came on Mary and the power of the Most High overshadowed Mary. So the child to be born is the Son of God.
Luke 1:30–35 (NIV) 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
Therefore Joseph was right that he was not the father of Jesus, Jesus is the Son of God. Yes, the baby who was born in the manger 2000 years ago is the Son of God. Christmas, the day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus is the holy day because it is the day of God’s visitation on earth. In the history of mankind, one day God decided to visit us and establish a relationship with us. That is why; Christmas should be a very unique and holy day for mankind because of God’s visitation. But how did he visit us?
ILLUSTRATION When the President of the United States visited Jacksonville, FL; the While House would have surely sent an advance security team to make sure that the President would be safe. He came with his staff via Air Force One, with all the formal ceremony and welcome party, and met the people in a decent place of meeting mostly the dignitary of the city depending on the nature of the visit.
But when God visited us 2000 years ago, he came in a very humble way to make sure that we’ll be at ease in meeting and talking with him.
Philippians 2:5–8 (NIV) 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
This passage says that Jesus who being very nature God did not consider equality with God. He deserved all the glory and honor due to God and yet he decided to come humbly, born in a manger with a humble family. That even a shepherd was free to come and see him. He took the very nature of a servant – he taught, healed, comforted others, and serve the needs of his disciples. Imagine the Son of God washing the feet of his disciples.
He was made in human likeness with all its limitations and struggles – slept, ate, drank, rested, prayed, agonized, wept, angered, betrayed, and joyful. He related with all kinds of people – poor and rich, prostitute, robbers, beggars, tax-collectors, etc. He took the curse of sin by becoming obedient to death on a cross – accused, criticized, unfairly judged, physical punished and yet sinless and forgiving.