Summary: All the players in the Christmas story celebrated. Let us take our cue from them!
The Celebration of Christmas
* One of my most favorite Christian Christmas Songs is entitled, “Come on ring those bells.” One of the reasons that I love it so much is that it focuses on the “Celebration” of the Christ Child. The second verse goes like this, “Celebrations come because of something good, celebrations we love to recall. Mary had a baby boy in Bethlehem, the greatest celebration of them all.” Today, I want us to think about that celebration. Let’s begin with the account by Dr. Luke found in Luke 2. (Read Text)
* Verse 20 gives us the appropriate climax to this story, “The shepherds returned”, that means they went back to the fields and the sheep. They were ‘glorifying & praising God,’ they understood this was a divine event. They were seeing something God had planned. But the best part is that everything had happened just like God said. I can only imagine their emotional outburst at all they had seen and heard. Jesus’ coming is exciting & deserves to be celebrated. Celebrate like Luke describes!
1. Sing Like the Angels –In the months preceding and around the birth of Jesus there was a flurry of angelic activity. In my divine imagination it seems that the closer His birth came, the more excitement was expressed among the angels. God was using them to announce the greatest event in history! It all culminated the night Jesus was born as they burst on the scene in the darkness to shepherds on the hillside. They announced and they sang! What a great combination! This should be our example.
a. Let us sing because we have someone to sing about. – The angels told the great & long awaited news that the savior, messiah, and Lord is here. What a great message to a people who had been looking for the promised one! He was HERE, on scene!! The angels were telling about the one who was spoken of as far back as Genesis and repeated by the prophets. Jesus, God’s promised one, His only Son, had now left heaven and came to earth through the womb of a little virgin girl. This is big news! SING!!
b. Let us sing because we have a message to share – The angels not only sang about the Savior, Messiah, and Lord, but they tell the story. This is the ‘good news of great joy for all people.’ Think about that, not just “GOOD NEWS” which would have been good stuff because we all ‘sure could use a little good news today.’ But this is one step beyond. This is Good news of “GREAT JOY.” Why? Because the people who had been walking in darkness, now have a light to show the way. It is the light of heaven, it is the light of Jesus, and it is the LIGHT OF LIGHTS!! Even today, this news is still good and great! The message of Christmas is “Immanuel” or “God with us” is a message for all people. It is a message for all times. It is a message for all places. The angels gave the message in word & songs which indicates to me they gave it with all that was in them.
c. Let us sing because we have people who need to know. – We tend to think that people know, but they don’t. Some people know snippets. Others know bits and pieces, but the whole story seems to not be told. We need to sing. Some of us say, “I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.” For this Celebration the word ‘sing’ can be symbolic. Think about it, when a criminal is apprehended they interrogate him and when he confesses they say, HE IS SINGING LIKE A BIRG which is police talk for HE IS TELLING ALL HE KNOWS!! We are indeed expected to tell all we know about the Savior in ‘swaddling clothes,’ the Christ in the crib, or the Messiah in a Manger. We know, people need to know, and the Father expects us to tell.
2. See Like the Parents – Have you ever considered the birth of Jesus from Mary & Joseph’s standpoint? Mary was a young teenager engaged to an ‘older’ man and came up pregnant. Of all the people on earth who knew without question that HE ‘WASN’T’ the Father of this baby, Joseph led the pack. I’ll submit that more than one time Mary & Joseph heard the hushed whispers from friends (& like family members) about what they had done. But Joseph knew better, had an angel tell him, and was at peace with the circumstances as they were. I submit at least 3 things we need to see;
a. Let us see God’s plan unfold – Consider the age of Mary, the visit of the Angel (Luke 1), & her response to this disturbing message. You say, “Pastor, why was this message from an angel ‘disturbing?’ She was told she was going to have a baby out of wedlock. She knew the implications for her reputation and perhaps for her upcoming marriage (which could have been several years away). Even when she said, “I am the Lord’s slave, let it be as He wants”, I suggest she was hoping the entire vision was simply a bad dream. Could this be why she headed to see her Aunt Elizabeth? It seems to me that when Elizabeth confirmed the message of the Angel that Mary began to truly see God’s hand at work. At this point, she sang the “Song of Mary”, ‘The Magnificat’ and watched God’s plan really begin to unfold in her life. God took an unsuspecting couple gave them an undeniable miracle, which resulted in a unbelievable outcome. This is what He will do for us.