Summary: When you view the Christmas story in Scripture, it almost seems like God didn't invest much in Jesus' birth. Lowly parent, born in a barn, laid in a manger, announced to mere shepherds. Is there something about this gift of Christ that we're missing?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yc00HVmkaXY (acapella – fade out at 3:00)
Did you notice how much fun those guys had singing that song? That’s the way it ought to be because Christmas is a fun time of the year. There’s another Christmas song that says that Christmas is the “hap-happiest time of the year” and it is. School is out, houses are brightly decorated and the air is filled with joyful songs of the season.
But Christmas can also be a very expensive time of the year. For most people, it’s a time to buy presents for the family, and that’s the theme of that song: “The 12 Days Of Christmas”. It’s all about… buying presents.
According to PNC bank, if you were to buy/rent the gifts mentioned in that song it would cost:
$ 214.99 for the Partridge in the pear tree
$ 290 for the two Turtledoves
$ 181.50 for the 3 French Hens
$ 599.96 for the 4 Calling Birds
Five Golden Rings would set you back $ 750
Six Geese a laying would cost $ 360
Seven Swans a swimming – $ 13,125
To hire the 8 Maids amilking – $ 58
Nine Ladies Dancing would cost $ 7552.84
10 Lord aleaping would charge $5508.70
11 Pipers piping could be rented for $ 2635.20
And 12 Unionized Drummers drumming would go for $ 2854.80
GRAND TOTAL = 34,130.99
Christmas is usually not THAT expensive but it can set you back a fair amount of money! I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how much they spend on gifts for their families. Many spend at least $100 on each of their kids and maybe more for their spouse. Then there’s the $50 or $60 they spend on parents or other relatives.
One person once said: “Anyone who says it’s the thought that counts usually can’t afford what they’d like to get for you.”
Now this brings us to the birth of Jesus. When God gave us His Son, it doesn’t seem like He invested much in this gift. When it came to sending His Son to us as a gift it’s almost as if God went to Goodwill and wrapped it in newspaper.
• When God sent his son He was raised by a struggling couple who were just common Jews.
• And when Jesus was born, it was in one of the most insignificant villages of the day.
• He was born in a barn.
• Laid in a feeding trough.
And then - when God sent His angels out to announce the birth of the Messiah - who does He send them to? (Shepherds)
You’d think God would at least send them to Kings or Priests or men of influence, and to prominent cities like Jerusalem or Athens or Rome. But nooo! God sends the hosts of heaven to shepherds keeping watching over their flock in the field.
One preacher noted: “Shepherds were despised and unwanted. They were unimportant –personally, politically, and financially.” (Phil Ware, 12/4/11, heartlight.org)
In our text this morning, when God described the coming of the Messiah He said:
“I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots…” Ezekiel 17:22
Jesus was going to come forth as a “shoot”… a “tender sprig”.
That’s not real impressive.
But then, when Jesus came, He WASN’T real impressive.
And that’s just the way God had planned it.
This same message is driven home time and again in the prophets.
In Isaiah 53:2 God said this:
“He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
Notice… there’s that “tender shoot” thing again.
And God stresses that this Messiah won’t be impressive.
No beauty. No majesty. Nothing to make Him attractive or desirable to us.
Now, why on earth would God do it that way?
Well because that was exactly the present He intended to give us.
ILLUS: When people buy gifts for others for Christmas - if they like you - they’ll spend a lot of time THINKING about just the right gift to get. It may not even cost a great deal of money… but it doesn’t have to. All this gift has to do is be something that said “you mattered enough to me for me to spend my time getting JUST THE RIGHT gift for you.
Years ago when my family exchanged Christmas gifts – I wondered what to get my brother. I really like and admire my brother and I wanted to get him something special. But Jack is a fairly wealthy man and could have bought anything he wanted anytime he wanted.