Summary: How do we handle the fact that it is His birthday, & so few are paying any attention to Him at all?
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
A. You have probably heard the old saying that there are 3 types of people: people who make things happen, people who watch things happen, & people who have no earthly idea what is happening.
There are many who are really trying to make Christmas happen. They go out & buy the presents, address the cards, decorate their homes, & run from one activity to another, endeavoring to make Christmas a reality for them.
Then there are others who are watching Christmas as it happens all around them, seeing the decorations, hearing the sounds, & absorbing as much of the Christmas spirit as they possibly can.
And there are others who go through all the activities, & yet have no earthly idea what is really happening because there is a heavenly dimension to Christmas that they have missed.
ILL. W.E. Sangster tells a story about going to a wedding reception where he didn’t know anybody except the friend who took him. As he walked around, he saw that everybody really seemed to be enjoying themselves. The food was delicious, a band was playing, people were dancing, having a wonderful time.
But he says that there was a girl sitting over in the corner all by herself. She was a very pretty girl, & had a nice smile on her face, but she was alone. And when he looked at her she acknowledged his glance. So he turned to his friend & asked, "Who is that girl in the corner?" The friend replied, "Don’t you know? She is the bride."
APPL. Now that’s rather absurd, isn’t it? But I wonder, "How would you feel if you were the bride, & it’s your wedding reception, but no one pays much attention to you?" Possibly the same way Jesus must feel. It’s His birthday, & everybody is celebrating. But so few are really paying any attention to Him at all.
B. So to help us get ready for Christmas, let’s turn our attention to Titus 2:11-14. I want to read it to you, & then go back & look at it, verse by verse. Listen as I read it to you.
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say `No’ to ungodliness & worldly passions, & to live selfcontrolled, upright & godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God & Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness & to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good."
PROP. This passage of Scripture looks at the past, the present, & the future. And it gives us 4 perspectives.
I. COMMEMORATE THE PAST
First of all, Paul encourages Titus to commemorate the past. Listen to vs. 11. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men."
Now I suggest to you that this is a great Christmas text even though it doesn’t say anything about angels or shepherds, or Mary & Joseph & their long journey to the little town of Bethlehem.
It doesn’t mention a little baby being born & wrapped in swaddling clothes & laid in a manger, or wise men who come bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, & myrrh. It says nothing about the wrath of Herod, the flight into Egypt, or the return to Nazareth.
None of those things are mentioned in this Scripture. Yet, I think that in one little sentence, Paul has captured the essence of Christmas when he says, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men."
That is the message of Christmas. In a darkened world, dark because of wickedness & sin, God sends the light of His love, expressed in a baby, born to a virgin, laid in a manger in Bethlehem.
ILL. Bob Benson once told of a special Christmas in his life. He said, "Every time I look back on that particular Christmas I get a smile on my face, & a warm feeling in my heart. It was a very special Christmas."
He said, "I knew in advance that it was going to be special for 3 important reasons. #1, we had just moved into a new house, the house of our dreams. It had all the things we had always wanted & never had."
"Secondly, I knew that it was going to be a special Christmas because all the kids were coming home. Now when you’re the father of 5, & they’re all married & have children of their own, that is a very rare & wonderful event!"
He said, "I can’t tell you how proud & happy Peg & I were on Christmas Sunday when all of us sat together in church. It was just such a special time of praise & worship. I look back on that day with great thanksgiving."