Summary: A sermon around Christmas time from a Christmas card. "Only love could leave heaven for a stable. Only humility could use a donkey as a throne. Only hope could trade a crown of gold for one of thorns. Only Jesus could give up everything He deserved, T
A British businessman is credited with creating the Christmas card in 1843 — as a way to save time. Too busy to write a personal holiday greeting, Henry Cole hired a well-known London artist to design a card he could send to all his acquaintances. Louis Prang, a German immigrant, is said to have brought the Christmas card tradition to America in 1875, printing a card depicting Killarney roses and the words Merry Christmas. In the last few years, Christmas card sales have declined because of the internet. Thanks to all who carry on the tradition of sending cards.
An elder I served with in eastern North Carolina, a retired probation officer and now a preacher, sent out this card a few years ago. Only love could leave heaven for a stable. Only humility could use a donkey as a throne. Only hope could trade a crown of gold for one of thorns. Only Jesus could give up everything He deserved, To give us something we could never earn, life without end. The McLawhorn family, Skipper, Deborah, Christopher and Matthew.
Thesis: Let’s talk about each of these phrases tonight.
Only love could leave heaven for a stable.
He left the splendor of heaven. John 17:5: And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
Not only did he leave heaven, but was born as a man. Philippians 2:6-7: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. John 1:14: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
Not only that but he was born not into a wealthy family and a life of privilege, but into a poor family and his birth was in a stable. Luke 2:7: She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Why a stable? The manger is where the beasts were fed to show that even beast like men may come to him and live. To show that Christ is free to all, like the stable was free and the manger was free. To give an invitation to the most humble to come to him. To show forth his humiliation. After all Jesus wore ordinary clothing, he lived with fishermen, and he had not permanent place to lay his head.
John 14:23: Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
Philippians 2:8: And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
Only humility could use a donkey as a throne
The donkey is an animal symbolic of humility, peace and Davidic royalty. The colt of a donkey not only symbolizes humility and meekness, but the colt had not been ridden, so it was not ever put to secular use.
Jesus chose to enter Jerusalem in this way to publicly claim that he was the chosen Son of David to sit on David's throne. King David used this symbolism to proclaim his son, Solomon, to be the rightful heir to the throne.
The people, including children, took palm branches and went out to meet Jesus. Palm branches were used in celebration of victory. (John saw a multitude with palm branches in heaven.) The very large crowd also spread their cloaks on the road, much as we would roll out the red carpet today.