Summary: People & places & things - all very common & ordinary. And yet, God is able to take the ordinary things of life & do wonderful things with them. (Powerpoints Available - #280)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available at no charge. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #280.)
TEXT: Luke 2:1-20
We begin our Christmas message this morning with Luke 2:6-20.
"While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, & she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in strips of cloth & placed Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, & the glory of the Lord shone around them, & they were terrified.
"But the angel said to them 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth & lying in a manger.'
"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God & saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, & on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.'
"When the angels had left them & gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem & see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'
"So they hurried off & found Mary & Joseph, & the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, & all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
"But Mary treasured up all these things & pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying & praising God for all the things they had heard & seen, which were just as they had been told."
ILL. There is an old TV commercial that shows a man looking at a bowl of corn flakes & saying, "This looks pretty boring to me, pretty common, pretty ordinary."
After pouring in some milk & sugar he tastes it & says, "Hmm, I like it. It's really pretty good. What is it?" The announcer answers, "Kellogg's Corn Flakes."
Then the guy says, "You really got me on that. I hate it when you do that." Then we hear the announcer saying, "Kellogg's Corn Flakes Taste them again for the first time."
PROP. Maybe that is one of our problems with Christmas. Christmas is such a familiar & common experience that we almost miss it. So this year I challenge you to see it again for the first time.
I. THAT WHICH IS ORDINARY
Now there are some things in the Christmas story which are very ordinary.
A. For example, the passage that we just read reminds us that a census was being taken. And the purpose of the census was to make it easier to collect taxes. That's pretty common. Almost everybody pays taxes.
B. Then there's Joseph, a carpenter. Now most of us wouldn't consider ourselves carpenters at all. But who here has not swung a hammer, or tried to saw a board? So in one way we can identify with Joseph, can't we?
C. There is also the little town of Bethlehem. Bethlehem's only claim to fame was that it was the home town of King David, & out on its hillsides David wrote his psalms & watched his sheep. It was just an ordinary town.
D. Then there's Mary, who came from just an ordinary family. But there was a purity about her, something that impresses you & causes you to respect her. Other than that, she was just a girl from Nazareth.
F. There's also a pregnancy mentioned. That's pretty common, too.
SUM. People & places & things - all very common & ordinary. And they unite to begin the Christmas story. And yet, God is able to take the ordinary things of life & do wonderful things with them.
II. THAT WHICH IS EXTRAORDINARY
But as we decide to see it again for the first time, we realize that other parts of the story are extraordinary, & cannot be explained in any other way except by the power of God.
A. For instance, there are the angels. The Bible tells us that a great company of them appeared in the sky the night Jesus was born, praising God & announcing His birth. It must have been a wonderful sight, but most of the time we don't see angels, or hear them.
Yet on this night, when Jesus was born, they appear. And "The Living Bible" says that "the landscape shone bright with the glory of the Lord." (Luke 2:9) What an extraordinary sight that must have been!