Summary: How to celebrate Christmas
Scripture: Luke 2:120
How to Celebrate Christmas
Introduction: During this season of shopping and entertaining, let’s remember why Christmas is celebrated in the first place. We decorate our homes, send out cards, visit friends, buy presents, and go caroling. Some celebrate a portion of Christmas Day watching football games. For some, it’s a time for drinking and partying. But this is a holiday to honor the fact that God sent His Son to be born in a manger and to become our Savior. As Christians, we should celebrate in a unique way. I’d like to suggest four responses to the birthday of Christ based on today’s passage.
1. By Witnessing About Christ (v. 17). The shepherds "made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child." We’re to make Him known to those around us and help them understand that He came as a Savior. There are many opportunities available during Christmas. We can witness through the cards we send out. We witness by how we decorate our homes. We witness through the seasonal music we sing. And we witness by inviting people to attend church services with us. Many will come at this season of the year that would never darken our doors otherwise. Be intentional about sharing Christ this Christmas.
2. By Wondering at Christ (v. 18). Those who heard the shepherds wondered at the things told them. I was reminded this week of a word seldom used today: muse. It means sit back, meditate, and think. The word amuse adds the negative prefix which means "to not muse." Amusements are those things that keep us from thinking seriously about anything. Christmas is a wonderful time for amusement, yet when those in Luke 2 heard about Jesus they mused on Him. Think about it! Here is a story of purity wrapped up in the birth of a Child born to a young mother. Here is joy amidst seeming tragedy. Here is a great announcement to a lowly group of shepherds. Here is a Baby born to die. Here is a King born in stable to poor parents, yet was God manifest in flesh. G. Campbell Morgan wrote, "In the presence of such a holy miracle, there can be no fitting attitude of the human intellect save that of acceptance of the truth without any attempt to explain the mystery."
3. By Waiting Before Christ (v. 19). We also celebrate Christmas by waiting before Christ, even as Mary pondered all these things in her heart. You say, "Isn’t that what you were just saying?" Well, the word ponder is even more intense than wonder. It means to delve beneath the surface and to contemplate, trying to understand. Mary pondered and treasured them up. She committed them to memory. She was a woman who thought deeply about what was happening in her life. It’s easy to become so busy between Thanksgiving and Christmas that we don’t spend time in personal Bible study and prayer. We can let the outward celebrations of the holiday take us away from the one thing that could mean the most to us as Christians. We have to make time for waiting before God.
4. By Worshiping Christ (v. 20). The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God. I believe Christmas affords tremendous opportunities for glorifying God as we sing our wonderful carols, as we pray personally, quietly praise Him, and publicly worship. Oh, to celebrate Christmas as Christians, we’ve got to take a step back from the busyness of the season and the materialism of the world and focus on Him!
Years ago in a European country, a christening took place for a baby who had been born to royalty. As the guests arrived, a servant met them at the door and took their wraps. Eventually someone asked, "Where’s the baby?" The nurse was sent to fetch him, but she couldn’t find him. Finally, a guest recalled having seen the baby in the bed where the coats had been placed. The parents were horrified to find there the lifeless form of their son who had been smothered under the pile of coats. What irony. The real purpose of the gathering had been forgotten and the one to be honored was killed. I wonder if that isn’t true for many at this time of year. Jesus is our celebration. He is our Honored One. He is our King. This year let’s honor Him by witnessing, wondering, waiting before Him and worshiping Him!