Summary: In the Christmas story as it is told in Matthew 12, we will see three general reactions to the birth of Jesus.
Reactions to the Birth of Christ
This morning I want to begin by reading a letter written to Santa; that may help you think about how we view Christmas. This letter vividly points out that we live in a part of the world that places more emphasis on receiving than giving, tinsel than time with family, and Santa than Jesus. In the midst of the "good" things about Christmas we miss the most important – the BEST thing about Christmas – the birth of the Savior of mankind that signaled in a concrete way the love God has for each one of us.
A letter to Santa:
”Dear Santa Claus: You’ll probably be surprised to receive this letter from an adult. You may be even more surprised as you read it to find that the writer is neither a maiden aunt nor a disgruntled bachelor. I’m a young mother.
It isn’t my intention, Santa, to hurt your feelings. You see, my family has paid tribute to you for many past Christmases: my husband and I, when we were in our childhood, and now our children who are 6, 4 and 1. They still care for you. How much they care has really proved a problem in recent years. It is threatening to happen again this holiday season. Our children worship you. They speak of you constantly. They watch diligently for your December 25 appearance. Can you tell us, Santa, what you have done to deserve this faithfulness from two generations? Can you promise any future consideration in exchange for past loyalties? During a family crisis, have you ever told us. "Lo, I am with you always?" Were you ever with us during sorrow to comfort us with these words: "But your sorrow will be turned into joy"? And, Santa, there have been doubtful times. Where were you? We didn’t hear from you the calming message, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." We have come to the conclusion that you have been even less than a friend should be. And we have been shortchanged. My three children have stood in a windy, cold Main Street just to get a glimpse of your jolly face. They have written heartfelt yearly letters. They have gone to department stores to whisper in your ear. They have worked hard at being good in anticipation of your Christmas Eve visit. Yes, they’ve done all this – as their father and I did before them.
But there’s going to be a change this Christmas. There isn’t going to be any Santa Claus worship in our home. We’ve decided to focus our attention and adoration on another Being – One who has stood by us the other 364 days this past year; One who has comforted us during the sorrowful and doubtful times – and, yes, the times of crisis also. It’s true that your name will probably be mentioned around our house, Santa. Old habits are hard to break abruptly. But Someone Else’s name will be mentioned much more often. The children will probably work just as hard at begin good, but I hope they will do it for another inducement – one that will last the whole year long – to bring glory to Another’s name. That other One has given us so much more – and not just on Christmas Eve! You may call our family fickle, Santa, but we won’t mind. On this December 25, and all through the coming year, we want a Comforter, a Healer, a strengthening King. We don’t want a myth any longer. You see, our Christmas thoughts will revolve around a manger and a tiny Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. We’ve talked it over. This year we’ve decided to give tribute, honor, and worship to Someone who really deserves them – to the True Giver – our God and Saviour. Farewell, A Young Mother.”
(by Ann Lamp, The Greenville News, Dec, 1972 – quoted in Autoillustrator.com, CHRISTMAS)
This morning for a few moments I want to attempt to view the experience of the first Christmas through the eyes of those who were there, seeing it as they saw it and feeling it as they felt it. In doing this, I want us to allow our perspective of the Christmas story to be reshaped – to understand that this is not just an event that happen 2,000 years ago. Christmas is an event that can take place anew in our hearts and lives as we allow Christ to be born into our hearts through faith and belief in Him.
In the Christmas story as it is told in Matthew 12, we will see three general reactions to the birth of Jesus.
1. Some When Confronted With The Birth of Christ Showed Hatred and Hostility. (vv. 1-3)