Summary: The awesome presence of God in the person of Jesus Christ outstands all human presence in your Christmas celebrations!
A Sunday School was putting on a Christmas pageant which included the story of Mary and Joseph coming to the inn. One boy wanted so very much to be Joseph, but when the parts were handed out, a boy he didn’t like was given that part, and he was assigned to be the inn-keeper instead. He was pretty upset about this but he didn’t say anything to the director. During all the rehearsals he thought what he might do the night of performance to get even with this rival who got to be Joseph. Finally, the night of the performance, Mary and Joseph came walking across the stage. They knocked on the door of the inn, and the inn-keeper opened the door and asked them gruffly what they wanted. Joseph answered, "We’d like to have a room for the night." Suddenly the inn-keeper threw the door open wide and said, "Great, come on in and I’ll give you the best room in the house!" For a few seconds poor little Joseph didn’t know what to do. Thinking quickly on his feet, he looked inside the door past the inn-keeper then said, "No wife of mine is going to stay in dump like this. Come on, Mary, let’s go to the barn." And once again the play was back on track! (sermoncentral.com)
The name "Immanuel", which is derived from the Hebrew words, "IM", meaning "with"; "ANACHNU" or in short "ANU", meaning "us"; and "EL", meaning "GOD", literally means, "With us is God" is a very meaningful name given to the Messiah. The prophet Isaiah wrote it, and the evangelist Matthew rewrote it with direct reference to the writings of Isaiah. That was a gap of around 600-700 years. Biblical history tells us that there had been around 400 years of prophetic silence before the birth of Jesus in that little town of Bethlehem. But regardless of the time difference, both writers penned that description with precision and accuracy. In the gospel of Matthew, the Greek word, "META" (to translate "with") is used to describe the presence of God – "God with us". "Meta" does not only entail proximity but includes participation and association. It proves that our God is an immanent God – He is personally and practically involved in His entire creation. His presence is embodied in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Only-begotten Son, whose birth we celebrate on Christmas Day. It is an awesome presence, indeed!
1. His presence makes us Glad
2. His presence makes us Bold
3. His presence makes us On-Guard
1. His presence makes us Glad
Mat 1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
a. Realize what name you have.
One of the sweetest sounds that a person would ever hear is his or her name. Joseph’s name in Hebrew means "addition" or "let him add". When the angel called out his name, he was reminded that his name means, "Prolific one". The announcement of Christmas reminds us that, if you have received Christ as your Lord and Savior, God calls you no longer by your earthly name but how God calls you – a person who is redeemed, forgiven, saved by the grace of God. Our names make us glad.
b. Remember whose name you bear.
Joseph knew so well that his immediate father is not David. His father’s name is Jacob, (Mat. 1:16) but in his father’s line was King David. He bears the royal lineage of Israel’s greatest and most revered king. King David himself understood it plainly, "He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake." Psalms 23:3. The challenge is that in everyday that we live as people of faith, it is not actually our names that are on the line. It is the name of Jesus Christ. During our Christmas celebrations and parties, remember that it is Jesus whom we reflect. Let us conduct ourselves as Jesus would.
Human beings are naturally and symbiotically sociable. They need their fellows in order to cope up with life.
An elderly man who is very sick was moved from a private room into a ward where lies another elderly patient near the only window. They’re both bedridden ill, hardly able to sit upright. Confined in that isolated place, they thought of their past lives. They thought of all the places they’ve been. The one near the window pushed his weak body with his elbows to sit up, turned his face to the window and with his faint voice started to describe the beauty outside – the garden with flowers blooming, birds flying, ducks and swans swimming in the pond, children walking gleefully with their parents on the walkway. The other patient sufficed himself with the beautiful sceneries described by the one near the window. A couple of days past, in the morning, the patient who was far from the window noticed that his ward-mate near the window was motionless. He pushed the button to call in a nurse. The on-duty nurse came in, touched his pulse, checked his eyes and covered his face. Not long after that, hospital attendants came in and took the body out of the ward. The following day, the other patient requested that he be transferred to the bed near the window. His request was granted. The first thing that came to his mind was to see the beautiful scenery that his former ward-mate described. When the nurse left the room, he struggled with his bony arms to push himself to sit up and looked through the window. To his amazement, there was nothing. It’s just an exterior wall. He pushed the button to call in a nurse. A nurse came in, and the patient asked, "My ward mate described to me something beautiful that he saw outside this window". To that, the nurse answered, "Well, sir, he must have been encouraging you, and besides, that patient was blind".