Summary: The child in the manger was no mere child. In this sermon we investigate all the Jesus is.
A. Most of you are aware that the date for Christ’s birth remains a mystery and that December 25th was in ancient times a Roman holiday to celebrate the passing of the winter solstice and the lengthening of the days which would lead to spring and summer.
1. Many centuries ago this date was chosen to celebrate the birth of Christ, in order to give Christians an alternative to the Roman holiday just mentioned.
2. It is well that the world be reminded not only annually, but daily of the great gift God made in the person of His Son who is the true light and Savior of the world.
3. Today’s lesson will serve to remind us of God’s gift and inspire us to give ourselves in response.
B. Imagine that you are a shepherd.
1. You’ve taken a job working the fields outside the Jerusalem suburb of Bethlehem.
2. Because of a lack of seniority, you are assigned the night shift.
3. The hours are bad, but the work is not hard.
4. The sheep stay contently in the enclosed fold and you guard the gate from predators.
5. The worst part of the job is trying to stay warm during these long winter nights.
C. One night an unbelievable thing happens.
1. As you are standing with some of your co-workers, out of no where a glorious creature appears.
2. You can scarcely look at him because of the brilliant light flowing from his tall and powerful form.
3. His luminescence lights the whole field.
4. To say you were stunned is to put it mildly; to say that you are “greatly afraid” is an understatement.
D. When the creature speaks, his voice is terrifying, yet comforting at the same time.
1. Instead of words of judgment, he speaks of peace. He tells you not to be afraid.
2. He says, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Lk 2:10-12)
E. No sooner had these words come from the mouth of this beautiful creature that the sky and the field were ablaze with a whole multitude of what could only be described as a sea of angels.
1. There was a tremendous sound as they all at once began to praise God.
2. They declared, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (2:14)
3. Then, as suddenly as they had appeared, they were gone and the night was silent again.
F. You and the other shepherds stood motionless and speechless.
1. Your brains worked furiously trying to comprehend what you have just seen and heard.
2. When the shock wore off you begin to discuss it - “Did you just see what I saw?” “Yah, and did you hear what I heard?” Uhuh.
3. The message was clearly embedded in everyone’s mind, and what you must do was not a question.
4. You must go to Bethlehem and find the Savior, the Christ, the long awaited Messiah.
5. All your life you have heard the prophecies of the coming Christ who will be the Savior of Israel.
6. You’ve always imagined the Savior to be a mighty warrior riding into Jerusalem on a beautiful white stallion.
7. You’ve imagined him having the miracle-working power of Elijah, the wisdom of Solomon, the leadership of Moses, the faith of Abraham, and the military prowess of Joshua.
8. But this angel said he would be “a babe” and furthermore he would be “wrapped in cloths” and of all things be found “lying in a manger.”
G. You all rush as fast as your legs can carry you and you find the stable behind the Inn.
1. There by the light of a lamp you see a young woman with her presumed husband, and then you see the baby wrapped in cloths lying in the straw.
2. You immediately drop to your knees, and as the world around you fades you are lost in the worship of this special infant.
H. Okay, snap out of it. You are no longer a shepherd.
1. Let’s step back from the scene and try to understand what these shepherds must have been thinking as they got that first glimpse of the Christ-child.
2. What must have been going through their minds?
3. The Bible doesn’t tell us what they thought, but it does tell us what they did. After they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what they had been told about the child.
4. Then they returned to the fields, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.