Summary: A Christmas Sermon
On This Wise
TEXT: Matt. 1:18-25
Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
I do not recall the first time that I heard the Christmas Story. I cannot recollect if was at my mother’s knee, or if it was in a Sunday School classroom, or while listening to my Grandmother. I do know that I have heard it from all of these. Each time I hear the Christmas Story, it seems I hear it for the first time all over again. . . Think back. You will find that no matter how many times you’ve heard it, it seems you always welcome hearing it again.
The birth of that baby one starry night long ago in that somewhat far-off land is probably the most repeated story ever told. Who would have believed that the Babe Who lay in that manger would impact the world in a way it has never since gotten over. It was a miraculous birth, for the Mighty Maker of the Universe had come to live with the work of His hands. It was God incarnate in human form that lay in swaddling clothes that night—He Who lay aside His Kingly Robes now lay dressed like a peasant babe in peasant rags. No wonder the angels cannot understand it. How could the Potentate of the Ages stoop so low? Could these men and women who meant so much to the Father be worth this humiliation. . .they must have thought.
It was the Everlasting Father that the innkeeper had turned away that lonesome night. Would he have done so if he had but known that the King of Kings had beckoned his service? How could the creation be so unkind to the Creator. . .the angels must have wondered among themselves. But, then again, not all creation was ignorant of the Presence of the Holy One. It seemed it was destined to be God’s servile creation that would welcome Him. . .the lamb, the cattle, the animals that man looked to for service became the welcoming committee for that magnificent Incarnation. The Incarnation—without it there is no Messiah, for God must truly come to dwell with men as the Great Emmanuel, for had He not come in the flesh then He could not have fulfilled the purpose for coming as a Babe in a lowly manger—for He was born to die.