Summary: An effort to draw attention to the risk of missing the real meaning of Christmas.
George Mason was an astute businessman. He was also unsocial, single and against Christmas. He was a modern day Ebenezer Scrooge who wished for Christmas to move along so business and profits could resume. On Christmas eve as his workers were leaving he accidentally was locked in the vault. Without anyone missing him, George Mason spent 2 days locked up while the world celebrated the birth of Christ. He wanted to be alone on Christmas and he got his wish. He missed Christmas completely.
It is possible for us to also miss Christmas. We may see all the lights, decorations, nativity scenes, office parties, bank holidays and advertisements but we miss the spirit of and reason for the season.
In that first century life was moving quickly and people were busy. The secular world (innkeeper), political world (Herod) and religious world (priests) had their own agenda and hardly noticed the arrival of Jesus the Christ. God became flesh and no one cared. (Quote from Henry Scougal, 17th century Scottish clergyman: “God hath long contended with a stubborn world and thrown down many a blessing upon them; and when all his other gifts could not prevail, he at last made a gift of Himself,”)
Quote Tonya Stoneman on “Wasted Gift”. God’s greatest gift to this world seems to have been wasted on a world that really doesn’t care. This Christmas, people will actually contest the celebration of His birth. Every year, unbelievers protest the nativity scene, the singing of Christmas hymns and carols, even the simple platitude "Merry Christmas". Worse, they will ignore Him. Preoccupied with presents and holiday festivities, people everywhere will fail even to acknowledge God’s priceless gift. Yet He gave it!
I. SECULAR WORLD
(A) The innkeeper was hard working and trying to make a profit. The Bible does not lay blame on him. He was just too busy to get involved.
(B) Routine business usually ignores Jesus, unless there is a profit to be made.
(C) Social life notes Jesus only as an excuse for a Christmas party.
(D) Religious world in many cases ignores Jesus as far as any demands on our day-to-day life is concerned.
(E) Bethlehem was booming with crowds and cash. No room for Jesus.
(F) Jerusalem & Capernaum were preoccupied. (Matt 11:23 & 23:37)
II. POLITICAL WORLD
(A) Herod was hostile to Jesus. (Matt 2:13)
(B) Governments didn’t want Jesus because he pricked their conscience.
(C) Nations are cautious with Jesus so the non-believer isn’t offended. Some nations have outlawed Christianity.
III. RELIGIOUS WORLD
(A) Religious leaders are preoccupied with court cases & fund raising.
(B) First century religionists were jealous of Jesus’ popularity.
(C) A minority element noted him. (Luke 2:25 &36)
(D) Wise men afar were caught up with curiosity at the strange star.
(E) Shepherds busy at work were moved with the song and words of the angels.
Do you want Jesus in your home this Christmas season? Is he important to you? You must invite him! If Jesus appeared in chapel next Sunday would he be welcome? Would we give him any more than a fleeting smile and handshake? Jesus is the reason for Christmas! If he is pushed aside the holiday is meaningless. Don’t miss Christmas this year.
15 December 2002
London Pillar of Fire Chapel
Bernard Dawson, pastor Offering last Sunday £99.94 am