PERSONAL PERSPECTIVES OF CHRISTMAS
All too often we read the Bible as just history, or theology, or information. It is helpful to remember that events in the scripture REALLY happened to REAL people, and had a profound impact on their lives!
What were the PERSONAL PERSPECTIVES of that first Christmas?
I. THAT FIRST CHRISTMAS MEANT PERSONAL SACRIFICE TO MARY AND JOSEPH (LK 1:26-38; MT 1:18-25)
God didn't just choose a WOMAN, He chose a COUPLE, both godly and willing to make a great sacrifice.
A. It put their marriage on the line (imagine Joseph's reaction to Mary's claim!)
B. It sacrificed BOTH of their reputations (imagine the “market gossip”!)
C. It put their future at risk (Their plans together were sacrificed on the altar of GOD'S WILL!)
D. It endangered their fellowship with others
1. The apparent infidelity. People didn’t have to wait for Joseph to give the word to stone her.
2. The absurd (even INSANE) explanation.
3. The move away from home.
E. It cost them financially (long trip to pay taxes)
F. It put a severe emotional strain on them
*****When Christ enters a life, His presence does NOT make all your hardships go away. In fact, the change Christ brings often presents its own set of challenges! ******
II. THAT FIRST CHRISTMAS MEANT PERSONAL FULFILLMENT TO SIMEON (LK 2:25-35)
Simeon's perspective was very different from that of Jesus' family - this is what he had been waiting for his entire adult life!
A. Simeon means "one who listens" - he had been listening to God AND for the coming Messiah, and his attentiveness is rewarded!
He had an attitude of EXPECTANCY - God had told Simeon that he would see Israel's Messiah before his death, and he LONGED for that event!
WE need to live every day looking for His return!
B. Simeon's response - I CAN DIE NOW! His life had received its ultimate fulfillment.
When Christ enters a life, He brings MEANING and FULFILLMENT!
III. THAT FIRST CHRISTMAS MEANT PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO ANNA (LK 2:36-38)
A. She found Christ - finding Christ is not just PERSONAL benefit
B. She took on the responsibility of TAKING HIM TO OTHERS! (vs. 38)
Knowing Jesus is just the beginning - each day we have multiple opportunities to share our Savior, ESPECIALLY during this great time of year! Yet those opportunities go whizzing by in the blur of holiday activities as we selfishly go about OUR business, instead of the Master's.
We can show a lost world the REAILTY of Christmas, and not the hype; the PEACE of Christmas, and not the stress; the MESSAGE of Christmas, not the MATERIALISM!
When Christ enters a life, it means gives us a PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!
Conclusion: What a difference Jesus makes - when He comes into your life, He brings with Him a requirement of our sacrifice.
He brings with Him meaning, joy, and fulfillment.
And He also brings a responsibility.
UNSAVED - Have you experienced for yourself the INDESRIBABLE JOY and PEACE that comes from KNOWING HIM, from having your sin cleansed?
CHRISTIAN - Are you taking up your cross DAILY and following Him? Do you take your responsibility SERIOUSLY?