Summary: How did Christmas 2014 feel to you? Maybe your Christmas wasn’t all you expected. Now that Christmas is over, maybe the excitement has passed and life is already returning to some kind of normal. Whatever normal might be in your life!

The Sunday after Christmas sermon

How was your Christmas?

Yesterday I went to buy some petrol and as I was queuing up to pay I heard another driver ask the cashier: “How was your Christmas?”

Her response was “I am SO HAPPY that Christmas is over!” - I find that a little sad.

But the truth is for many Christmas 2014 is already over!

This year many people will have celebrated Christmas without celebrating Christ.

Perhaps The birth of Jesus mentioned in a Carol or a Christmas song and then ignored or forgotten.

Many will have celebrated Christmas without celebrating Christ.

A couple of years ago in a shop I heard a woman complaining to her friend that she could not find any good Christmas cards to send her friends “They are all so boring! What’s Jesus got to do with Christmas anyway?”

The birth of Jesus, for far too many, is just a story, like Santa Claus, or the Grinch that stole Christmas.

I hope your Christmas included Christ this year.

I hope you spent time thinking about the birth of our saviour.

I hope you took the opportunity to speak to family and friends about the real reason for the season.

For many people Christmas is more about having an excuse for excess than about an opportunity to hear the truth about who Jesus was and is.


Shops seem to like Christmas and Easter holidays.

It’s the 28th of December today, but some shops are already selling Easter Eggs.

In todays newspapers you will find adverts for Summer Holidays.

I even saw an advert on TV yesterday offering easy payment plans for Christmas 2015 food hampers.

Christmas comes and Christmas goes and life moves quickly on.

Perhaps, even in your own home, you have left Christmas behind.

Maybe the tree is still up, but it’s empty underneath.

Maybe you had family visiting and they have either already left for their own homes.

Perhaps all that’s left of your Christmas turkey is a bare skeleton....

or maybe you are planning to have Turkey Tikka Massala for lunch today?

All the preparation, all the excitement,

all the expense and now it’s all over for another year.

How did Christmas 2014 feel to you?

Maybe your Christmas wasn’t all you expected.

Now that Christmas is over, maybe the excitement has passed and life is already returning to some kind of normal.

Whatever normal might be in your life!

I wonder if that first Christmas, Mary and Joseph were hoping for life to return to normal too.

If you think your Christmas was busy it was nothing compared to that first Christmas.

I want you to think back to the first Christmas.

It was a seriously difficult time for Mary and Joseph.

The long journey to Bethlehem, not for a nice little winter get away, a journey so they could go and pay their taxes.

A journey that was not easy at the best of times but when your nine months pregnant,

either walking or in a cart or on the back of a donkey…

it’s a journey worse than we can imagine.

Then arriving in Bethlehem, on what seemed to be the busiest day of the year because there were no rooms available anywhere.

Years before the invention of the telephone - so Joseph could not call ahead to book a room.

No internet with sites like trip advisor or hotel finder room booking.

Though if it existed at the time even would have only been able to offer them a room share of a smelly old stable complete with straw and animals.

Then giving birth in a stable, no doctor,

no midwife, no gas and air,

well maybe a little gas from the animals…

The first Christmas - the birth of Jesus –

one of the most important events in the whole of history.

An event that changed worlds relationship with God.

Immanuel God WITH us.

Then the first ever unexpected Christmas guests arrive and the shepherds turn up.

Their day had been far from normal too - angels appearing and announcing the birth of Jesus, sending the Shepherds off to see for themselves.

Often when we see the little nativity pictures the wise men are there at the same time but the truth is they probably didn’t see Jesus until He was nearly two years old.

The wise men – the magi – came from the east and worshipped Jesus, bringing gifts with them

But then things take a turn for the worse.

The Gospel of Matthew records the difficulties that happened after that first Christmas,

the normal life that Mary and Joseph had perhaps been hoping for was not to be.

Matthew records the tears and the fears, the pain and the problems.

It’s not a pretty part of the Christmas story and you won’t find it on a Christmas Card or sung about in a Christmas Carol.

Most churches spend weeks before Christmas preaching about the events leading up to the birth of Jesus.

Speaking about what Mary and Joseph went through prior to His birth but sermons about what happened to Mary & Joseph after Christmas are pretty rare.

Actually sermons about Joseph are preached even less.

As part of the Christmas Story, Joseph plays an important part.

Joseph was the person who would become Jesus step-father.

A pretty important role, but do you realise that The Bible doesn’t record anything that Joseph ever said?

Joseph is easily ignored in the Christmas Story,

the emphasis is always on Jesus, Mary, the Shepherds, the Wise Men.

But after that first Christmas, life would never be the same for Mary AND Joseph.

Doctor Luke, usually went into great detail about important events in the like of Jesus and the early church in both the book of Luke and the book of Acts.

Yet in his Gospel in Luke 2:39-40 he sums up the 12 years after the first Christmas like this:

When Jesus’ parents had fulfilled all the requirements of the law of the Lord, they returned home to Nazareth in Galilee. There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favour was on Him. (Luke 2:39-40)

Thankfully the Gospel of Matthew gives us a lot more detail about what happened to Joseph, Mary and Jesus in Matthew 2:13-23.

Lets look at verse 13-15:

After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, 15 and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”

After the Wise Men visited Mary & Joseph and presented them with their 3 gifts.

When they leave, they go to bed, and Joseph has a DREAM.

Remember this isn’t the first DREAM that Joseph has had.

When an angel appeared to Mary and told her she would become pregnant God spoke to Joseph in a dream.

In this dream an angel of the Lord tells Joseph to flee to Egypt, because Herod is going to try to kill Jesus.

There are several things we learn here


Joseph didn’t waste any time.

He didn’t wait until morning ... he got them packed THAT NIGHT and headed out to Egypt.

In the middle of the night, God said “Get up and go!”.

Joseph didn’t argue with God. He didn’t ask God for “Plan B”.

He didn’t wait to try to figure it all out.

He just OBEYED.

GOD PROVIDED. When God calls, He provides in Egypt and God provided financially for Joseph, Mary and Jesus with the gift of Gold the Wise Men bought to them.

Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under.

Mary, Joseph and Jesus left at the right time.

The land that had once ENSLAVED the Jews, God used to now PROTECT His people.

Herod was a mean, vicious person.

History has a lot to say about him.

Caesar Augustus was quoted as saying that it would be better to be King Herod’s pig than his son.

Pigs were protected by law ... Herod’s family weren’t.

King Herod had already killed 2 of his own sons ... he had them strangled.

He also killed one of his 10 wives ... his favourite wife ... because he thought that she had been unfaithful to him (she wasn’t!).

Herod killed his 18 year old brother-in-law, because the Jews liked him better than they liked Herod.

Herod also killed his favourite wives grand-father, and her 80 year old uncle, who had once saved Herod’s life.

Herod also killed his own uncle and his mother-in-law.

Herod was the sort of person that would no hesitation in ordering the male babies in Bethlehem to be killed.


God plan is always perfect. A situation can never occur that brings surprise to God.

God does not need to have a plan B.

The prophet Hosea wrote that God’s son would be called out of Egypt in Hosea 11:1

After Herod’s death Joseph has another “dream”, and the angel speaks to him and again no questions ... no arguing ... no problem.

Joseph, Mary and Jesus head to Nazareth.

God had protected them.

There are 3 things I want us to take from the “After Christmas Story”?

1st The Safest Place To Be, Is Where God Leads You.

- The Wise Men followed a star, and it led them to the Christ-child.

- The Wise Men followed God’s instructions in a dream, and they escaped Herod’s wrath.

- Joseph followed the Angel’s instructions in a dream, and escaped to Egypt.

- Joseph followed God’s instruction in a dream, and went to Nazareth.

The safest place you can be, is in the center of God’s will. Whatever path you take in life, God knows where it will lead. How much better to follow the path that He leads you down.

2nd A Christian Isn’t Exempt From Trouble

The Christmas story has difficulty and suffering:

- The Wise Men, avoiding the wrath of Herod.

- Mary & Joseph fleeing for their life.

-Multitudes of innocent babies killed by a mad King.

But God leads us through our problems and situations, He provides the way through,

He gives us the strength we need, He comforts us, He is always with us,

We need to trust Him to be with us as we follow the path set before us.

3rd God Is In Control.

We can always feel safe when we are living in God’s will.

That does not mean that our lives will be trouble free or that bad things won’t happen to us.

BUT ... God is in control.

Everything that happened in the Christmas story and after Christmas was planned by God.

He is in the Christmas story every step of the way. And He is in our lives, in our story every step of our way.

God is in control.

‘May the Lord bless you and protect you.

May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.

May the Lord show you his favour and give you his peace.’

Joseph was obedient to God and God provided by God’s perfect plan