Summary: Most people today miss the real meaning of Christmas, because the holiday has been hijacked by the secular culture. That's nothing new. Most people in the 1st century missed the 1st Christmas. 3 examples of them.
PEOPLE WHO MISSED CHRISTMAS
Luke 2:4-7; Mt. 2:1-11
1. As we were putting out cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, I accidentally dropped one. "No problem," I said, picking it up and dusting it off before placing it back on the plate.
"You can’t do that," argued my four-year-old. "Don’t worry. Santa will never know."
He shot me a look. "So he knows if I’ve been bad or good, but he doesn’t know the cookie fell on the floor?"
2. This week I heard about a minister who delivered his Christmas sermon in nine minutes, which was about half the usual length of his sermons.
He told his congregation, “I regret to inform you that my dog, who is very fond of eating paper, ate that portion of my sermon which I was unable to deliver this morning.”
After the service, one of the visitors shook hands with the preacher and said, “Reverend, if that dog of yours has any pups, I want to give one to my minister!”
Lk. 2:4 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. Mt. 2:1 “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied…7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
C. MISSING A GREAT OPPORTUNITY
1. Missed Opportunities! Walter drove his friend Arthur way out in the country. They drove off the main road and through groves of trees to a large uninhabited expanse of land.
2. Walter stopped the car, got out, and said, “I’m going to build a park right over there. It will take all my money. But the land bordering it, where we’re standing now, will in just a couple of years be jammed with hotels and restaurants and convention halls. I want you to have the first chance at this acreage, because in the next five years it will increase in value several hundred times.”
3. But Arthur thought to himself, “Who in the world is going to drive twenty-five miles for this crazy project? I knew he was wrong,” Arthur tells the story today. “I knew that he’d let this dream get the best of his common sense.”
4. So Art Linkletter turned down the opportunity to buy the land that surrounded what was to become Disneyland, as his friend Walt Disney suggested! What a missed opportunity!
D. ANOTHER: MISSING CHRISTMAS
1. I am convinced that most people miss Christmas. They’re oblivious to the reality of what they are celebrating. The Christian holiday has been high-jacked by the culture.
2. One newspaper did “man-on-the-street” interviews where people offered their opinions of the real meaning of Christmas.
a. Some were sentimental, saying Christmas is a family time, a time for children, and so on.
b. Others were humanistic, seeing Christmas as a time to celebrate love for one’s fellow man, the spirit of giving, and so on.
c. Others were crassly hedonistic, viewing Christmas as just another excuse to party.
d. Not one person mentioned that it was the Birth of Jesus Christ! Is it any wonder that so many people miss Christmas? [John MacArthur, God With Us: the Miracle of Christmas]