Summary: My concern is that we may become so overwhelmed by the noise of Christmas that we’ll never hear the sounds of that first Christmas night which we really ought to hear. (PowerPoints available - #196)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #196.)
Let me begin this message by reading aloud what should be a very familiar passage of scripture. It is Luke 2:1-7.
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
“And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
“He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
“She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
It is that time of the year again, & soon all around us will be the sights & sounds of Christmas. The decorations, the crowded stores & shopping centers, & even the traffic congestion, proclaim that Christmas is coming.
Bells will soon be ringing, choirs singing, & Christmas music filling the air. In fact, if you listen carefully, you might even hear some Christmas classics like "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," & "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth." Those were the great Christmas songs, weren't they?
Of course, it's not just music that we hear. Our airwaves are filled with the clamor of commercials for products we simply must buy for Christmas. In fact, we hear so many of these sounds that often they just become noise to us.
SUM. That is my concern this morning, that we may become so overwhelmed by the noises of Christmas, that we'll never hear the sounds of that first Christmas night we really ought to hear the sounds of a noisy inn, & of a mother's lullaby.
PROP. I would like you to think about these two sounds this morning, & of what they remind us.
I. WE ARE REMINDED THAT GOD DOES LOVE US
First of all, these two sounds remind us that God does love us, even though many people have turned their backs upon Him.
A. There wasn't much love, I suppose, in the inn. It was full of people who had traveled long distances to get there because Rome had decreed that all the people in the empire were to be taxed.
And to make sure that no one was missed, the head of every family had to go back to his ancestral hometown to be enrolled in a census, & then to pay the taxes levied against him.
You can hear their hostility. There is drinking & loud talk, sometimes angry & bitter. The very fact that they were there in Bethlehem emphasized that they were a conquered people, not free to go where they wanted to go, or do what they wanted to do. So their anger is a part of the noise of the inn.
In the midst of all this the door opens. And just for a moment all the noise stops as the people turn to look. There in the doorway stands a man & a woman. They obviously have traveled a long ways, & the woman is great with child. But there is no room for them there, no room in the inn.
APPL. I wonder what the people thought? I wonder how many of them had ever found themselves in difficulty, needing help, but with no place to go?
Yet nobody there that night was sensitive enough or caring enough to step forward & say, "Well, I have a room, but you obviously need it more than I do. Take my room. Make yourself comfortable, & may God bless you."
No, nobody stepped forward to do that. For a moment, they had stopped & looked & maybe even thought about it, but then they returned to what they were doing, & the noise level rose once again.
B. You know the rest of the story. Sometime later that night, over the noise of the inn, there is the sound of a lullaby as Mary sang to her new born son.
Now, I must admit that the Bible doesn't say anything about Mary singing to Jesus, but I'm sure she did. As a mother looks at her child nestled safe in her arms, there just has to be some way to express her love.
So I'm sure that Mary sang to Jesus. Over the hills of Bethlehem went the song of love, a song that tells us, "God still cares. God hasn't forgotten, & God has finally sent His Messiah into the world."