Summary: A sermon for Christmas Eve evening communion service.
Luke 2: 1 – 20 / From The Stable to the Table
Intro: Many people travel at the holidays to be close to family and friends. It was no different with Mary and Joseph that first Christmas long ago. They were from the area of Bethlehem. The only difference was they were ordered home to participate in a census.
I. I often wondered to myself, “if Joseph and Mary were originally from Bethlehem, why didn’t they stay with family?
A. They couldn’t call ahead and tell people they were coming. They couldn’t email to see if there was going to be room for them. They would have to take their chances.
B. I remember one Christmas when my sons and I drove 24 hours from Houston to Pennsylvania to surprise my mother and her husband. Friends had said, “what if they decided to go someplace for Christmas?”
C. Life is full of “what if’s.” Mary and Joseph were doing what they were told. Surely they had a lot of questions. What if the baby came in the middle of nowhere? God has a way of providing for the uncertainties. He provided a stable out of necessity.
II. Another thing about which I have wondered is, why is it so difficult for people to make the trip from the stable to the table?
A. There is just something about the Christmas story of a child being born in a stable greeted by animals and the common people strikes a chord with most people.
B. Christmas is the one time of year when people make an extra effort to find real meaning, real joy in their lives. Many make an effort to look into the heart of God thinking, “Maybe this year I will finally be able to get a glimpse of who God really is and how that affects my life.
C. Why would God do this? You ask yourself. Why would the ruler of the universe squeeze into a baby boy – why?
III. Yet another questions causes me to ponder. Why would God sink so low as to come into human flesh.
A. Someday God would sink even lower, suffering and dying on a cross. Why? --- you cannot help but feel a little sad as you look into the face of the Christ-child, knowing how he would die someday.
B. But you cannot help but feel glad, because you know that after this child dies on the cross, he rises from the dead and you realize the babe of Christmas has come to set the world free from sin.
C. You can’t help but smile as you make the journey from the stable to the table realizing that because of this baby all your mistakes in life have been taken away. Because of this baby God loves you and offers you eternal life.
Conclusion: God is not a God who is far away. You don’t have to drift and wander through life looking for God, looking for meaning in your life. God has come looking you. As you make the journey of faith from the stable to this table Christ Jesus comes in the power of the Holy Spirit to meet you here. He comes that you might have life and have it more abundantly. Come tonight from the stable to this table and hear Christ Jesus saying, “Merry Christmas, my friend. I’ve been waiting for you.”