Summary: God’s gift fits the needs of the Workers (shepherds) the Weary (Simeon) and the Wanderers (Wise Men). This sermon was given in 3 parts with songs in between.
Christmas - God’s Gift
to the Workers, the Weary, and the Wanderers
PART 1: God’s Gift to the Workers – The Shepherds
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Luke 2:8 When we hear those words at Christmas, we feel a sense of anticipation --- because we know what’s coming next. But if you stop right there at verse 8, you realize that … at that point … there was nothing exciting about it to those Shepherds.
“There were shepherds keeping watch over their sheep…” You could have made that exact statement the night before --- or the week before --- or a month before --- or a year before --- or even a hundred years before that night. You see, Bethlehem was a Shepherding Community. It was what you could think of as a “Blue Collar Town.”
Most small towns today (at least the ones that survive) have some sort of Industry that supports the town and gives it a reason for existing. My in-laws recently moved from their hometown of Dalhart, Texas --- population 6,000. Dalhart survives because of Feed Lots, Dairy Farms, and a new Prison. Susan’s parents got a good price for their home because a new industry (a Cheese Factory) is about to move into town.
Bethlehem survived because of the Shepherding business. These Bethlehem Shepherds were just your average, everyday working folks. It’s likely that they were raising Passover Lambs. These Lambs would be sold as Passover Sacrifices the following Spring. The Shepherds had no way of knowing that the Lamb of God had been born right in their home town that night. When you think of it that way, it’s ironic that His coming would eventually make their job obsolete.
I don’t think these Shepherds were expecting anything momentous to happen that night. They had no idea that the God of the Universe was about to announce the greatest Gift ever given to mankind. They didn’t understand that God wanted to give this amazing, miraculous Gift to them … to plain old working folks who were just living their mundane, day-to-day lives. As it turns out, they expected too little.
Some of us make the same mistake. We don’t understand how MUCH God wants to give us. We expect too little. Which reminds me of a story I heard about the British Ambassador a few years back.
It seems that a Washington, D.C. TV reporter was working on an assignment called “The Spirit of Christmas.” He telephoned the British Embassy and asked to speak to the British ambassador.
“Ambassador,” the reporter said, “You have been very helpful 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 gave his standard reply: “I am very touched by your offer, but I must decline to accept any gift.”
The reporter replied, “Won’t you please help us out again as you have in the past --- and tell me what you would most 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 really like the jar of mint jelly.”