Summary: The reality is that our lives were not called into retreat… but RISK.
As we enter the Christmas season… a term that is often referred to is “the Christmas spirit.’
It may be a parent telling their children to get a better attitude… or hinting to your boss to give
you some extra slack or time off.
But what really is the Christmas spirit?
Perhaps there are many qualities that come to mind that this season can bring.
Generosity… peace… hope in the midst of uncertainty…wonder & worship…
Many qualities get muddled… deep within the events… flows divine qualities that beckon
us…but get so easily mixed with this thing called ‘the holidays’
I would suggest that celebrating the holidays…and entering into the true spirit of Christmas…
of what flows from the birth of Christ… are two different things.
> Series… “Restoring the True Spirit of Christmas”
We often think of Christmas in terms of peace … and this can begin to be reduced to that which
is cozy and comfortable. But the events that we are invited to enter… begin with the opposite…
Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV)
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married
to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy
Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to
public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an
angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid
to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his
people from their sins." 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the
prophet: 23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him
Immanuel"--which means, "God with us." 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of
the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her
until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
This is only a portion of the events… and a poetic summary….
What God was doing… didn’t offer some sort of cozy quaint retreat. Now I know we all have
Hallmark cards that look pretty shiny.
> The reality is that these lives were not called into retreat… but RISK.
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about…”
Got enters a womb and creates what is a social outrage and a political threat…. And those
involved must enter and every one of those who enter the story have a choice.
The wonder of Christmas that captures something in our spirits… is that a world that something
entered the world that was truly right… something to make things right… and what it was and
how it came was itself an act so divine it holds wonder for every soul who ponders it.
It was light entering darkness.
Perhaps the initial step in restoring the spirit of Christmas… is to realize that it is not simply
that of light… the light of God… but such light entering darkness.
The whole act of God we gather around in this season… is one of light penetrating darkness…
of right penetrating what is wrong… of divine power penetrating human powers. Something
had to initiate… to leave the comfort of home… to lay aside it’s prerogatives … and step
And in doing so… all who come seeking to enter… are beckoned to do the same…
everyone who enters in… must step out… in RISK.
Mary just a young peasant woman looking forward to getting married and likely
starting a family amidst her life in the village. …now she would face being stoned to death.
She could have run off… perhaps stayed with Elizabeth.
Joseph… it would appear he was a man who valued being honorable… and now he faces
disgrace… a man whose own manhood is lost. In an instant all that he had built his reputation
on was gone. How would he be seen? He’s either not been so righteous and self controlled… or
more at hand… he waited well…. while the women who was to make him proud as his wife…
had chosen to be with someone else.
The Nativity Movie released this past year captures this…
MOVIE CLIP – The Courage of Joseph
Joseph reveals remarkable courage… yet his story is usually in the background. In nativity
scenes he stands silently next to the manger in which the baby Jesus is laid. And yet the