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Summary: Part one of our De-santa-tizing Christmas series: After centuries of tradition, Christmas Carols, Rankin & Bass Christmas specials, and countless retellings of the Christmas narrative the whole story has been cleaned up and much of the true meaning has be

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Sermon-07-12-2-Meet the Parents

Christmas Pop Quiz

1– True of False-As long as Christmas has been celebrated, it has been on Dec. 25th. (False, not until about the 4th century was the Dec. 25 date settled on)

2-True or False-Mary and Joseph were married when Mary became pregnant. (False, betrothed not married)

3-Who told Mary and Joseph to go to Bethlehem? (Ceasar Agustus)

4-How did Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem? (most likely walked, only the rich, upper middle class had donkeys and we they were most likely poor based on the offering that they presented at the temple after Jesus birth)

5-What did the innkeeper tell Mary and Joseph?

A-there is no room at the inn

B-I have a stable you can use

C-come back after the xmas rush.

D-None of the above.

(D-no record fo the "innkeeper" saying anything to them)

5-What animals does the Bible say were present at Jesus birth? (Bible doesn’t say)

6-Where do we find the true story of Christmas?

(Matthew & luke)

De-Santa-tizing Christmas-to much of what we associate with the birth of Jesus comes from years of tradition, Christmas pagents, Christmas carols, but ends up having little to do with the true biblical account of what happened that first Christmas morning in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. That first Christmas was not the clean sanitized story that we are used to hearing, it was a dirty, messy, scandalous event and much of what happened then can be lost if we do not understand the world that Jesus was born into.

Over these next 4 weeks want to cut through the commercialism, take away the trappings of tradition in the hopes that we might see the Christmas story with new eyes, adding new depth and meaning to a story that we have all heard countless times.

This morning-meet the parents

Look at Mary and Joseph the young couple that God chose to be the earthly parents for His Son.

To understand them have to understand the marriage customs of the day.

People married much younger than they do today.

Young man-learn a trade so as to support his future spouse, then his family would choose a wife for him.

Joseph-most likely 14-18

Women-12-13-married as soon as they were considered old enough to have children.

The two families would meet-the marriage was usually arranged by the fathers-they would meet and negotiate the bride price-a price that the family of the groom would pay to the family of the bride-it acknowledged that the bride would be a precious loss to her family.

Once this price was agreed upon the agreement was sealed with a drink of wine. Then the groom would make his proposal to the bride by taking the cup of wine that his father had brought, drinking from it and offering it to the woman, symbolically saying that he wanted to make a covenant with her and that he would be willing to give his life for her. If the woman accepted the proposal she would seal the agreement by drinking from the same glass. The moment that happened the two of them were considered to be “betrothed”. This was viewed as a legal contract between the two families.

The time that a couple would be betrothed would usually be in the region of Galilee, where Mary and Joseph were from, a period of about 1-2 years. This was to be a time of preparation for the couple as they each prepared for their future life together.

In that region of Israel families lived in clusters of buildings called insula. (picture)

These clusters of buildings were built around a central courtyard. Grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts all lived together in the insula-each having their own living quarters.

So as son’s married, they added to the insula. After asking the Mary to be his wife, Joseph would have gone back to his parents home and began building new rooms onto it. Then when Josephs father came to him and said that it was complete, then he could finally go and take Mary to be his wife and bring her to their new home.

During this time, Mary would have been expected remain true to Joseph and to be preparing herself to be the best wife that she could be for him. She would have been learning everything she could from her mother, grandmother, and aunts that she would have needed to know to be a good wife and mother, so that on the day that Joseph came she could be the best bride that she could be. This was also to be a period of time for her to prove her faithfulness to Joseph.

Now with that setting in mind lets read Luke 1:26-38. Events took place during this betrothal period.

12 year old girl-preparing for marriage-demonstrating her faithfulness to her future husband. Now she has to tell Joseph that she is pregnant with the Son of God.

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