Summary: Did you know that most people miss Christmas? This sermon notes some of the people who missed the very first Christmas.
Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent. This is the fourth and final in a series of Advent messages on “The Marvel of Christmas.” Today’s sermon is titled “People Who Missed Christmas.” Most of the material for this message comes from John MacArthur’s book titled God with Us: the Miracle of Christmas.
Let us read Luke 2:1-20:
"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.
"4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
"8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
"13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
"15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
"16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told." (Luke 2:1-20)
Did you know that most people miss Christmas every year?
That may sound like a strange statement, since it seems impossible to miss Christmas. A person would have to be blind and deaf to miss the sights and sounds of Christmas between Thanksgiving (or is it Halloween nowadays?) and December 25.
And yet, I am convinced that most people miss Christmas. They observe the season because culture says it is the thing to do, but the vast majority of people are utterly oblivious to the reality of what they are celebrating.
Christmas has been so fantasized and secularized that people are numb to the marvel of Jesus’ birth.
John MacArthur mentions in his book, God With Us: the Miracle of Christmas, a two-page spread in a newspaper featuring some man-on-the-street interviews where people offered their opinions of the real meaning of Christmas. The views expressed ranged from mawkish to irreverent.
Some were sentimental, saying Christmas is a family time, a time for children, and so on.
Others were humanistic, seeing Christmas as a time to celebrate love for one’s fellow man, the spirit of giving, and so on.
Others were crassly hedonistic, viewing Christmas as just another excuse to party.
Not one person mentioned the marvel of Christmas, namely, that God was born in human flesh. With answers like these, is it any wonder that so many people miss Christmas?
One thing hasn’t changed since the time of Joseph and Mary: most people missed that first Christmas too!
Like people today, they were busy, consumed with all kinds of things—some important, some not—but most of them missed Christmas. The similarities between their world and ours are striking. Every one of those people has a counterpart in our modern society.
Today I would like to note some of the people who missed that first Christmas. As I go through this list, see if you recognize yourself in the list.
I. The Innkeeper
The first person I want to mention who missed Christmas was the Innkeeper.