Summary: Christmas message regarding the fact that God came to earth in Christ.
Immanuel – God with Us
December 2, 2007
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT USED IN MY MESSAGES IS BORROWED FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
Me: It’s easy for me to let the significance of Christmas get lost in the hassles of getting ready to celebrate it.
It’s not like I forget Christmas. How can you when you go into stores and they’re breaking out the Christmas stuff just after Labor Day?
I remember when I worked for a store in the mall a few years back. Christmas started early there!
One of the things I remember most about it was that it was only during the Christmas season that certain items came out, and one of those was an electric nose-hair trimmer. You’ve seen them, right?
And those things sold like hot-cakes! For $18 apiece, no less!
But can you imagine giving one of those to someone? “Here you go, honey! Merry Christmas!”
Anyway, I forget to spend time just in wonder and awe about what Christmas really means, because I can get caught up in everything just like everyone else.
What do I mean by getting into what Christmas really means? I don’t mean “the spirit of giving” or anything like that. I mean the fact that God took on human flesh and came to a cruel world, knowing it would reject Him and finally kill Him.
We: I’m going to go out on a limb right now and suggest that I’m not the only one who gets lost in the glitter, the pressures of making sure your getting just the right present for someone, and making sure you catch my favorite Christmas movie, “A Christmas Story” – you know, the one with Ralphie who wants an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and ’this thing’ which tells time." But all the grown-ups tell him that he’ll shoot his eye out. I love that movie…
We all have stuff to do to make the holiday just right. Decorate the house, make arrangements with in-laws and relatives, office parties, and then dealing with the hassles of paying for everything we hope to do.
It’s a busy time of year, and it’s easy to lose sight of what the season is all about.
But I wonder if maybe it could be that many people don’t really understand the significance of Christmas.
They don’t understand just what it took for God Himself to come down from heaven in the form of a helpless little baby that had to depend on a whole bunch of imperfect humans just to get His most basic needs met.
They don’t necessarily understand the purpose behind it all. And that’s sad because they’re missing out on the joy that comes with being able to sit and reflect on the love of God for people that drove Him to come to earth.
So my hope is that for some of you, this will be a long over-due reminder of the wonder of the baby at Bethlehem and you’ll leave here today with a renewed sense of awe and joy.
And I also hope that if you have never really given it much thought, or have had questions about why Christmas is such a big deal, that you’ll walk out of here today with a new perspective and that it will cause you to want to know Jesus all the better.
For the rest, I’m hoping that this will serve as an opportunity to just savor the idea that you have taken hold of the wonderful notion that God loves you so much that He came to earth for you.
God: Matthew 1:18-23 (p. 681) –
18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because 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.
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. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
Now right there is enough to chew on: a baby conceived not by a man, but by the Holy Spirit. And this baby would be given a name that would mean that He’s there to save people from their sins.
But then Matthew takes it a step further to let us know something about what was really involved. Pick it up in verse 22: