Summary: Christmas sermon
"The Christmas Blues"
Key Verse (13-14)
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year for our family. Since we have been in ministry all of our adult lives, we have not been able to be with our loved ones very much and Christmas affords us that opportunity. We look forward to it each year and we cherish the memories we have of these times of fellowship. Now that our children have grown and left home Christmas time has become even more important. We look forward to seeing all of our grandsons (5 little boys) and making many new memories. It's a wonderful time for us but that's not the case for everyone. For millions, Christmas is not a blessing but a burden. It becomes a time for the "blues" because not all memories of Christmas are happy ones. For lots of folks "Blue Christmas" is not a song but a state of mind and a dark cloud hangs over the Christmas season. It's during times like these that we need to be reminded that for Joseph and Mary the birth of Jesus was not all sweetness and light. Their life was going to be turned upside down ... topsy-turvy. Nothing would ever be the same again. Luke simply sums up the next 12 years in 2 verses ... read Luke 2:39-40. BUT ... Matthew gives us more of a detailed description. There were some pretty difficult things that they had to deal with almost immediately. Just a few days after the joy of Jesus birth they had to flee for their lives. Our text gives us a glimpse into what life was like for them. There is much that we can learn from their experiences.
I. The problems they faced.
1. Their flight. (Egypt)
2. Their fright. (Archelaus)
3. Their light. (Joseph's dreams)
4. Their sight. (Nazareth)
Joseph didn't waste any time. He didn't wait until morning ... he got them packed THAT NIGHT and headed out to Egypt.
Think about what this meant for Joseph. He and Mary had traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem ... expecting to stay only for a few days and then return. They hadn't planned on MOVING ... lock, stock, and barrel! Their FAMILY was back in Nazareth ... they hadn't even said "Good-by". They didn't bring a wagon, loaded with their furniture, valuables, and furnishings. Joseph probably had a carpenter shop back in Nazareth ... what would happen to that?
In the middle of the night, God said "Move!" Joseph didn't argue with God. He didn't ask God for "Plan B". He didn't wait to try to figure it all out. He just OBEYED. I think that's why God chose Joseph to be the step-father of Jesus. God knew his heart ... that Joseph was sensitive to God's will.
II. The provision they found.
One of the wonderful things that we learn about God is that He is omniscient. That means that He knows everything, past, present, and future. He didn't just send Joseph and his little family to Egypt and then say "good luck!" God knew all about what their needs would be and He made all the arrangements necessary for the expenses for a trip during the night without furniture and household items and Joseph's tools and money for food, lodging and what ever else might come into play. God was not caught off guard and He never is. He planned years ahead and the Wisemen came bearing gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I'm sure that they never dreamed that they would be used of God to provide what would be needed for this trip to Egypt, but He ".....works all things together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 You and your family may be concerned about the future. Christmas may be a time of economic uncertainty for you and you don't know what the future holds, but if you know the One who holds the future then you do not have to fret or worry. Your problems did not catch your Heavenly Father off guard. His care for you is not an after thought or "an oh, by the way!"
III. The protagonist in focus.
Talk about "Christmas Blues"! This part of the story isn't usually included in plays about the Christmas story. We leave this part out. Mary & Joseph and baby Jesus running for their lives ... fleeing the country. Dead babies left behind. It's not part of our holiday picture, is it? Take a look at Herod. He was a mean, vicious person. History has a lot to say about him. Caesar Augustus was quoted as saying that it would be better to be King Herod's pig than his son. Pigs were protected by law ... Herod's family members weren't. King Herod had already killed 2 of his own sons by strangulation. He also killed one of his 10 wives ... his favorite wife ... because he thought that she had been unfaithful to him (she wasn't!). He killed his 18 year old brother-in-law, because the Jews liked him better than they liked Herod. He also killed his wife's grand-father, and her 80 year old uncle, who had once saved Herod's life. He also killed his own uncle and his mother-in-law. What are a few babies in Bethlehem to King Herod!