Summary: Christmas, The Messiah, Understanding God's Plan
4 QUESTIONS FOR THE HOLIDAYS – Do I Know It’s Christmas?
Matthew 1:18-25 (p. 675) December 7, 2014
I’ve discovered something about myself, maybe about human nature in general. I can take things for granted that seem to occur often and at regular times. Sunrises, sunsets, meals, even things that are really important, like my wife, friends, or worship services.
Maybe there’s a subconscious assumption “Well, these things and these people have always been there...so they always will be there.”
I’ve come to believe that is a very dangerous assumption! It’s an assumption that has us taking things for granted. Maybe even believing “This thing or this person will always be a priority...because it’s supposed to be.”
I’m pretty sure this assumption has slowly killed more marriages and relationships than any other. It’s kind of like heat leaving the fire...It never happens all at once. Usually the flame dies down, the coals smolder red for a while, then they slowly cool until the last spark is gone...and rekindling a dead fire is impossible.
And the same can be true when it comes to the Christian and Christmas. We know it’s one of the two “biggies” on the religious calendar, Christmas and Easter. In fact there are people that sometimes only show up at church for these two Holidays. We ministers lovingly refer to them as “Chreasters.”
I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings, but if Christ is only allowed into your schedule for 2 days out of 365 there is a relationship problem.
Both these holidays have been attacked, contaminated, deluted, and materialized. In order not to offend “Merry Christmas” has been changed by many to “Happy Holidays” and there are many who are tons more excited by “Black Friday” sales than special worship times.
It’s almost as if believers assume Christmas will maintain its meaning and its spiritual emphasis because...it always has...its always been there, so it always will. Christmas will be a priority where I focus on the birth of our Savior...because it’s supposed to be that way.
Satan loves to distract...He is the god of busyness and urgency. So I thought I’d begin this series called 4 Questions for the Holidays with “Do I Know It’s Christmas?” And if we are really going to focus on Christ and celebrating the advent of our Savior then we’d better be prepared to.
I. HAVE OUR PLANS INTERRUPTED
Most of us plan for important events and we have a mental image in our minds of how it will look. How it should look. (Almost never does it even come close!)
Look at Verse 18...Joseph and Mary were planning for a wedding.
A Hebrew wedding has 2 stages. The first stage is the “kiddushin” (the engagement or betrothal): legally the couple was married, but it had not been consummated, they were not living together or intimate. The kiddushin tested fidelity, integrity and could last up to 12 months. To break this engagement required a “divorce.” Now you just “call it off.”
The 2nd stage is “huppah” (the ceremony itself which began the intimacy and living together part of the union).
Joseph was marrying his beloved...drawing up house plans...building their marriage bed, big plans about their marriage...until God told them to prepare a nursery.
Mary would be like any young girl anticipating her wedding day, planning what to wear, who will sit where...what you’ll eat...the celebration dances...weddings were big deals in Hebrew culture, even if you were not wealthy...it was a time to celebrate.
And in the midst of all of this, Mary comes to Joseph and says, “I’m pregnant.” Here’s the huge problem...scripture says, “It was before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.”
Very few of us will have holiday plans interrupted as much as Joseph’s and Mary’s. Their white picket fence dreams came crashing down around their feet.
If God interrupted their Christmas plans for His glory maybe we should realize our Christmas plans are fair game too!
[Do you all remember the movie Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase as Clark Griswald? He planned to have his entire family together to celebrate the greatest Christmas ever. As they prepare for dinner, around a beautiful table...here’s what happen.]
SHOW VIDEO CLIP FROM “CHRISTMAS VACATION”
UNTIL “I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE IS OVER”
Folks, we can make plans on top of plans but sometimes God is going to change them. And it’s because He wants us to realize it’s Christmas. Christ Mass...it’s not about turkeys and lights and Christmas bonuses. It’s about the birth of His Son, the Savior of the whole world.
Remember what James 4:14-15 says, “Why you don’t even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and vanishes. Instead, you ought to say “If it’s the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”