Summary: Christmas Message (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Reading: Matthew chapter 2 verse 21:
“Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord”
• Ill: Our English word “News” is an acrostic.
• The letters stand for “North, East, West & South”
• Christians believe there is no greater news;
• Than what was declared that first Christmas.
• News that transcends social, cultural, and geographical boundaries.
• News that even spans time and will never go out of date!
• Now although I am only speaking on one line; from one verse of the Bible;
• That doesn’t nescercery mean I haven’t got a lot to say!
• Story told of a long winded preacher, who just went on and on and on.
• People in the congregation kept dropping hints by looking at the clock on the wall,
• By looking rather dramatically at their wrist watches;
• Be still the preacher carried on, ignorant of the congregations desire to go home.
• One man who had just had enough;
• Started waving his watch at the preacher but all to no avail.
• In his anger he threw it,
• But it fell short of the platform and hit somebody sitting on the front row quite hard.
• The person it hit turned round and was heard to say;
• “Hit me again I can still hear him!”
• Well I shall try not to out stay my welcome;
• But I want us to see 3 things from this important statement in Luke chapter 2 verse 11.
(1). A Specific time: “Today”
• On this day 19th December 1154:
• King Henry II (of England crowned.
• Henry II, first of the Angevin kings,
• And was one of the most effective of all England's monarchs.
• One historian calls him;
• “The very first of that name and race, and the very greatest King that England ever knew,”
Okay, I can see your impressed, so let’s me plod on:
• On this day 19th December 1686:
• Robinson Crusoe leaves his island after 28 years (as per Defoe)
• On this day in 1843
• Charles Dickens published "A Christmas Carol."
• On this day 1941:
• Hitler takes complete command of German Army
• On this day 1955:
• Carl Perkins records "Blue Suede Shoes"
• On this day 1984: Zhao Ziyang & Margaret Thatcher:
• Signs agreement with China to return Hong Kong to China in 1997.
• Each day of our calendars are marked by great events or happenings;
• That took place on the same day but in a previous time period.
WHEN DEALING WITH THE BIBLE:
• We can be confident that we are dealing with real people; in real situations,
• Events that actually happened in a real historical setting!
The Bible does not mentioned the date of Jesus' birth:
• Although it provides many details of the circumstances surrounding His birth.
• We know for certain that Jesus was not born on December 25th year 0.
Although this is the date that is seen as the pivot point of history:
• Every event and year before Jesus' birth counts down to it,
• And every event and year after his birth counts up from it.
• In the 6th century, The monk Dionysius Exigous (Di-on-ye-sus Ex-I-gous)
• Which sounds impressive and important but it actually means: ‘Dennis the short’.
• Was commissioned by Pope John 1st to set divisions.
• Dennis studied the records and set the divisions
• E.g. BC, Before Christ:
• E.g. And AD, Anno Domini, "the year of the Lord".
His Gregorian calendar was flawed and he apparently missed the birth of Christ by a few years.
• The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus;
• Accurately recorded Herod's death in his writings ‘The antiquities of Josephus’.
• So Christ's birth would appear to have taken place;
• Some four years before the traditional date.
But the New Testament record helps us to fix the year if not the date:
• According to Luke's gospel account, he records two important details:
• He tells us that Quirinius (cir-in-i-us) was governor, and that he took a census.
• Historians can put the different pieces of information puzzle together;
• And they can now fairly accurately place the birth of Christ somewhere around 7 to 6BC.
• So although we may know approximately the year Christ was born;
• There is no way anyone can accurately predict the month or day:
• We simply do not know!
• We do know however that December 25th was chosen simply to hijack a pagan festival.
• In A.D. 597 St Augustine landed in Ebbsfleet in Thanet, Kent.
• He had been sent by Pope Gregory to convert pagan England to Christianity.