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Summary: If I had been God and if I were planning Christmas, I would have done things differently. The way the birth of Jesus took place was too risky. How I would have done it?

“IF I WERE PLANNING CHRISTMAS…”

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR

1. After being away on business for a week before Christmas, Tom thought it would be nice to bring his wife a little gift.

2. “How about some perfume?” He asked the cosmetics clerk. She showed him a bottle costing $50. “That’s a little much,” said Tom, so she returned with a smaller bottle for $30. “That’s still quite a bit,” Tom groused.

3. Growing disgusted, the clerk brought out a tiny $15 bottle. Tom grew agitated, “What I mean,” he said, “is I’d like to see something real cheap.” So the clerk handed him a mirror.

4. POEM: “Jingle bells, Spending Swells, Charge cards all the way; Oh what fun it is to shop, Until you have to pay!”

5. “For Christmas,” a woman remarked to her friend, “I was visited by a jolly, bearded fellow with a big bag over his shoulder. It was my son coming home from college with his laundry.”

B. TEXT

18Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20But 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. 21She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins." Mt. 1:18-21.

7[When Mary got to Bethlehem] she gave birth to her firstborn, a Son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn….When the angels had left [the shepherds] and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." Lk. 2:7, 15.

16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

C. THESIS

1. The birth of Jesus Christ is probably the most sublime event in all of human history; it is also one of the most colorful for its rustic

environment, angelic interventions, and visitations by the wise, learned, and wealthy Magi, and also by the most humble members of society – the shepherds – to Jesus’ nativity. It is truly a remarkable story!

2. However, if I had been God and if I were planning Christmas, I would have done things differently. The way the birth of Jesus took place was too risky. How I would have done it?

I. DONE DIFFERENTLY

A. ARRIVE EARLY

1. DANGERS OF THE WAY IT HAPPENED:

a. Imagine if Mary were your wife or daughter. She was nine months pregnant, and actually at the point of giving birth. Doctors routinely tell expectant mothers not to make lengthy trips, even in cars. This was a three-day trip, one way. Would you think it was a good idea for her to go on this trip?

b. From Nazareth to Bethlehem was 70 miles distance on foot. They had to travel up and down mountains, through ravines, exposed to bandits, sleeping in the wild susceptible to attack by wild animals!

c. Would I want to risk Mary or the Son of God that way?

2. I WOULD HAVE HAD THEM ARRIVE MONTHS EARLY. THIS WOULD HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THE FOLLOWING:

a. Let them GET SETTLED in Bethlehem.

b. Give Joseph time to FIND A JOB (since it was necessary for them to meet the wise men there possibly two years later).

c. Help them PREPARE FOR THE BIRTH. There was no need for Mary to be going through labor pains during the trip and go into labor as soon as they arrived in Bethlehem, with Joseph scrambling to find any facilities for his poor wife to have the baby in.

1). How many of you have slept in a barn in winter? (Not counting the Royal Rangers).

2). It was an unheated and unsanitary barn surrounded by filthy conditions and animals.

3). It was not even intended for human habitation.

4). There was no nursery, no diapers, no crib, no sanitary bottles, no running water, no fire, etc.

d. I would have AVOIDED the EMBARRASSMENT of Mary “showing” before she was married and the accompanying SCANDAL because people insinuated that she and Joseph had been immoral.

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