Summary: This is the second in an Advent Series. This message deals with those who neglected to notice Mary & Joseph in the inn. Thoughts for the direction of this sermon were greatly influenced by a John MacArthur message "The People Who Missed Christmas".
We had a lot of fun this summer with our sermon series on family. (Remember: porch, living room, kitchen?) Well, I remember one conversation in particular when we showed a slide of a beautiful country kitchen (not ours). Several families shared with us that they would feel ashamed to invite us into their kitchens when (what they assumed was) ours looked so great. We had to laugh – and many of you saw the “real picture” the following week!
Sometimes we look around at what we don’t have and assume what we do have it not good enough “for company”.
Folks, let me share with you a simply truth: people matter, not furniture! I would rather sit on wooden crates and enjoy your company than admire a hundred beautiful homes from the street.
Hospitality is probably the most underused of all of the Holy Spirit’s gifts and privileges – yet it’s one of the most powerful tools for touching others.
There’s one final excuse – maybe it’s not so much an excuse as an explanation, and it wraps these first four up in one very uncomfortable package:
Why did the residents of Bethlehem ignore the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Why didn’t anyone make room for the Prince of Peace?
Why? Because the entire lot of them were simply SEF-ABSORBED; they were focused on their own needs, their own desires, their own busy, full and burdened lives – and they missed the greatest birth in all eternity!
What are you missing because there’s “no room”?
As many excuses as there may be for not reaching out to our neighbors this Advent season – there are multitudes more for doing it.
The greatest: Jesus was not to busy…though as God He controls the worlds, He carries the burden of all of creation within His hands – He wasn’t too busy to come to earth and be born in the lowest of places.
He wasn’t too busy to reach out and touch you with His forgiving Good News.
“ ‘If only I had been there! How quick I would have been to help the baby.’ ” Martin Luther the reformer wrote, “ ‘I would have washed His linen. How happy I would have been to go with the shepherds to see the Lord laying in the manger!’ We say that because we know how great Christ is, but if we had been there at that time, we would have done no better than the people of Bethlehem…Why don’t we do it now? We have Christ in our neighbor.”
One day Jesus was teaching His disciples while sitting on the Mount of Olives. He said these words, “I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” (Matt. 25:40)
Some of those Jesus was referring to are your neighbors…and mine!
Roy Smith said it this way:
“A good many people with houses half-empty on Christmas Eve have blamed the innkeeper of Bethlehem because his place was full.”
Reach out and touch your neighbors with the Christ-mas Touch.
Touching our neighbors through acts of friendship, grounded in prayer, care and sharing put flesh and bones to Christ’s message.
Your Advent calendar has some great ideas to get you going this week.