Summary: Advent sermon on the apathy we sometimes approach Christmas with.
GIVE ME A REASON TO CARE
November 29, 2009
Pastor Brian Matherlee
If we were to compile a list of as many songs of Christmas that we know or have heard, I imagine we would be able to come up with quite an extensive list.
• I did a Google search under the keywords songs of Christmas and it pulled up 128 million websites – by refining the search I was able to narrow it down to 77 million.
• The list included everything from songs like “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth”, “Frosty the Snowman” , “Grandma Got run over by a Reindeer” to “Ave Maria”, “O Holy Night”, and “Handel’s Messiah” and everything in between.
• Some are just frivolous and silly and give us a good laugh; others have the power to transform human hearts from self-centeredness to God-centeredness, to give hope to the discouraged, comfort to the sorrowful, and strength to the weary.
If I only searched for “Christian Christmas songs” it finally got down to 16,000 sites with that content only.
• Isn’t it ironic that the songs with the greatest truth in content is by far a minority representation.
• Christmas appeals to people all over the world with differing beliefs because it brings a different atmosphere to our world. But certainly Jesus gets placed in the background for many.
• One individual who gives some representation for what’s going on is the Innkeeper of Luke 2
Making Jesus a Priority in Today’s World is Almost Unheard Of.
• Caesar had his selfish intentions in mind when he issued his decree for a Roman census.
Self gets in the way of many things. When we place ourselves above others, we are not only breaking the laws of scripture (Great Commandment), but we are making many pay a price for our own selfishness. Caesar’s census and taxation practices were not necessary at the time, and they inconvenienced everyone under the Roman sun.
• The Inn was too full for Jesus and His earthly parents because of the census crowd in Bethlehem.
• Is my life too full for Jesus?
The Romans ruled the civilized world at the time of Jesus’ birth. By contrast, Joseph controlled very little. Against his desires and political convictions, he complied with the Roman order and traveled with Mary to Bethlehem. Often people feel like Joseph; caught by forces larger than they are. The Romans were in control insofar as human authority can get its way by exerting human power. But the Romans did not recognize their limitations. In reality, God controls the world. In all times and places, He works His will. God did not write Roman law, but judged it. God did not soften Joseph’s bumpy road, but strengthened him. God is in charge of your life too. He will guide you and provide all you need. Like Joseph, live each day by faith, trusting that God is in charge.
• We do not recognize God, act like God or look like God because our lives are too full for God.
Many Have Careless Attitudes About Christ.
• Perhaps the Innkeeper was only interested in his personal agenda.
Picture yourself being the Innkeeper. It is late. You have been fetching towels and roll away beds all evening long. Your inn is full and the “no-vacancy” sign is in the window. You are tired and it would be easy to not be the most caring soul in the world when the knock comes at your door. Careless? Perhaps. Nonetheless, the Innkeeper would have had no idea who it was that was standing on the stoop of his Inn.
• Maybe we get careless at times because of our personal comfort zone.
The government forced Joseph to make a long trip just to pay his taxes. His fiancé, who had to go with him, was going to deliver a baby at any moment. But when they arrived in Bethlehem, they couldn’t even find a place to stay. Doing God’s will often takes people out of their comfort zones. Jesus’ life began in poverty. Later, Jesus would point out to His disciples the fact that there might be a time when you don’t even have a place to lay your head down (Luke 9:58). Those who do God’s will are not guaranteed comfortable lives. But they are promised that everything, even their discomfort, has meaning in God’s plan.
Really what the innkeeper needed to hear is what we have the privilege of recalling each and every year.
THE SONGS OF CHRISTMAS: The Song of Mary
Luke 1: 46-56
1. So what do we know about Mary who sings this song?
• There is uncertainty about exactly where she was born – some traditions say Jerusalem, some say Nazareth. However, she was born to Joachim and Anna – members of the Davidic line - and grew up as part of the staunch Jewish community living in the dry Galilean hills surrounding Nazareth.