Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Don’t miss Jesus!



Luke 2.1-7

S: Community

C: An Unaware Community

Th: Advent


Type: Inductive

PA: How is the change to be observed?

• Don’t miss the Christ of Christmas.

• Be humble enough to receive Him.

• Worship!

Version: ESV

RMBC 24 December 06 AM


ILL Christmas (H): Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men, and Mint Jelly

Many years ago a Washington, D.C. TV reporter who was working on an assignment called “The Spirit of Christmas,” telephoned the British Embassy and asked to speak to the British ambassador.

“Ambassador,” the reporter said, “you have been very kind to us through the year and we would like to include you in a special Christmas news segment we’re going to run. Tell me, what would you like for Christmas?”

The ambassador replied, “I am very touched by your offer, but I must decline to accept any gift.”

“Oh please,” said the reporter, “you really have been very helpful to us, so won’t you please tell me what you would especially like for Christmas?”

Again the ambassador refused, but the reporter persisted, and he finally gave in. “All right then, if you insist. This Christmas I would like a jar of mint jelly.”

Having forgotten about the conversation, the ambassador was surprised when several weeks later, on Christmas Eve, he turned on the evening news and heard the same reporter introducing a segment on “The Spirit of Christmas.”

We recently interviewed three visiting ambassadors and asked them what they would like for Christmas. These three diplomats each gave revealing answers when they pondered what they would most like during this Christmas season of goodwill.

The German ambassador said: “I would like to see a peaceful and prosperous decade ahead for the newly liberated German people, and all citizens of the planet. May God bless us all during this historic period of change.”

The Swiss ambassador wished: “May the Spirit of Christmas last throughout the year. It is my dream that our world leaders will be guided toward a common goal of peaceful coexistence. This is my wish this Christmas season.”

And then we asked the British ambassador who said, “I would like a jar of mint jelly.”

I have come to a conclusion, and I am sure that many of you will agree with me…

1. There is so much that goes on Christmas, it is easy to miss what is really important.

We know, as Christians, that Christmas is about Christ.

In our minds, we know that this is about Jesus.

Intellectually, we have that down.

But still, though we have it in our minds, and we say that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” we still end up missing it.

The reasons are varied, and perhaps even complex at times.

But in the end, even though we may have had a good time, the time has flown by, and we know deep down we really missed another opportunity to get it right.

You may remember that…

2. Last year, some churches missed Christmas by canceling services.

You may recall that Christmas was on a Sunday last year, so many mega-churches decided to not hold services.

The most common reason that was given is that they wanted to be family friendly.

One pastor testified that they did not want to emphasize religion over relationship.

As soon as I read that, I thought what about a person’s relationship with God.

I think that Robert Johnson, a professor at Fuller Seminary, made an astute comment when he said the canceling of Sunday morning worship services redefines Christmas as a family celebration rather than the commemoration of our Savior’s birth.

This concerns me, for when we forsake the corporate worship and the fellowship of believers, we are giving family and traditions what I consider God weight.

In the big picture of things, we end up contributing to the growing disrespect that our culture has for the spiritual significance of Christmas, because we can’t keep the priority of worship together.

If we slow down for a time, we might have a different reaction to the truth of the Incarnation.

You see…

3. When it comes to the birth of Jesus, we should be appalled and confused.

We tend to make the Nativity scenes pretty and cute.

When we do so, though, we are doing an injustice to the rawness of the situation.

For when we understand what happened on this day, we should be struck with bewilderment.

We should be filled with a sense of awe, because why should God go to such an extreme?

His method should, at the very least, raise our eyebrows with wonderment.


Hear again this familiar passage…

(1) In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. (2) This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. (3) And all went to be registered, each to his own town. (4) And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, (5) to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. (6) And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. (7) And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

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