Summary: Christianity historically has affirmed the uniqueness of Jesus ...the incarnate son of God. I begin with an illustration from The Charlie Brown Christmas special...when Charlie asks: Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is about?
In Jesus Holy Name December 24, 2009
Text: Matthew 1:20b-23 Christmas Eve - Redeemer
“Jesus Is the Reason”
Last Tuesday evening countless households tuned in to watch as Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang pondered the meaning of Christmas. The Christmas special was created in 1965. Those who bankrolled the project believed it to be a failure. It was the first animated TV special based on the comic strip Peanuts by Charles Schultz.
The Charlie Brown Christmas Special has become part of the “Christmas Americana” along with “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
After being terribly frustrated with the consumer mentality around him, not to mention how badly things were going with the Christmas Play… Charlie Brown, turned Director asks the pivotal question: “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”
Linus steps on stage and quotes Luke 2:8-14 “There were shepherds living in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night…An angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shown around them….” Linus reminds us of the true reason for the Season, the virgin birth of the promised Messiah, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.” (The Christian Post 2009)
Christianity historically has affirmed the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the Son of god. We believe that Jesus is nothing less than the incarnate Son of God, in whom the fullness of God’s person, character and being ….dwells in human form, fully divine, fully human.
The birth of Jesus Christ is the most significant event in the history of mankind. His birth split history into B.C. (before Christ) and A. D. (Anno Domini) The year of our Lord. Even when modern historians and archeologist replace B.C. and A. D. with “B.C.E. and C.E.” (Before Common Era and Common Era) it doesn’t’ matter. Why? Because the inquiring mind must still ask the question: “What event split history? It is the birth of Jesus Christ.
Every time you write a check, celebrate a birthday, fill out an application form, or anytime you use a date, you are using the birth of Jesus Christ as the basis of measuring time. (Rick Warren The Purpose of Christmas)
Christmas was God’s idea. He planned when it would happen, how it would happen, where it would happen and why it would happen. On the night Jesus was born in Bethlehem, God sent an angel to announce his arrival. The God who created the universe, and set the stars in place and the world on its axis says, “I love you… no matter who you are, where you’ve come from, or what you’ve done in your life. The birth of Jesus can and does bring peace to the human heart.
Any time a new born child is brought home from the hospital, friends and family start to speculate…”who does he or she look like? We all play that game with our children and grandchildren. But 2000 years ago when a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed there were no cameras to record the birth of a baby. When Quirinius was governor of Syria, and imperial edit took the young family of a carpenter by the name of Joseph and his virgin wife, a very pregnant Mary, away from family and friends.
Mary & Joseph journeyed to a little town called Bethlehem, about 80 miles south of Nazareth. If the phone had been invented, Joseph might have called ahead for reservations. If the internet had been around, he might have checked out the likelihood of finding a room. As it was when Joseph and Mary arrived there was no room for them in the inn. Finally out of compassion and a desire to keep the couple off the streets the inn keeper offered his stable. It was hardly ideal, but it would work. They agreed and in a stable with all the animal smells and sights and sounds, the baby Jesus was born.
In my mind I can visualize the manger scene. Growing up on a farm, my family had one of those two story barns. Large 12 x12 oak beams with wooden pegs held every thing in place. Down the center of the main floor was a long hall way. On one side were separate bins for the storage of grain…wheat, corn, oats. On the other side were the stalls for the milking cows, next to them the stall for the horses. In the section reserved for the horses… there was a large center area for hay; then on each side, each horse had their own feeding trough. It was a small 2’ x 3’ x 6” in which we placed their grain. That small 2 x 3x 6 inch box was similar to the manger in which Mary and Joseph placed their infant son.