Summary: We often see the first Christmas though rose colored glasses tinted by centuries of tradition. But the plain facts are that Mary and Joseph had a very difficult time with all the events surrounding that first Christmas.

Approaching the Christmas season in 1972, Fred Putman decided to have a evening in

front of a cozy fire. He used two boxes of matches, one pint of started fluid, and the Sunday

addition of the New York Times, and still could not get the fireplace burning. Bent on

romance by fire-light, he decided to drive to the Hideaway Lodge in the nearby mountains.

As they approached this fireplace equipped paradise, he through his lit cigarette out the car

window and started a forest fire. It devastated 382 acres of timber, and burned the

Hideaway Lodge to cinders. Thus he demonstrated one of the finer points of Murphy's Law,

which is, if several things can go wrong the one that will go wrong is the one that will do the

most damage.

I am sure that Joseph and Mary felt their lives were being controlled at times by

Murphy's Law. They had a series of things go wrong and it seemed like there was no end to

their bad luck. First of all, Mary was pregnant out of wedlock. Today this is still high on the

stress list, but back then it was high on the death list. You could be stoned for this back then.

The Angel of the Lord helped them get through this crisis, but then they got hit with

government red tape and had to go to Bethlehem just as Mary was due to deliver her child.

But this was not the last straw. When they got there the town was so crowded there was no

room in the inn. Joseph didn't burn it down, but the end result was the same. They had no

place to stay, and were forced to camp out with the animals in a stable.

Life had dealt them with one major inconvenience after another, and they must have

wondered if God had made another deal with Satan, like the one he made concerning Job.

They must have felt like they were on Lucifer lane. This would be an especially tempting

conclusion when they heard Herod was out to kill their baby, and they had to flee to Egypt to

save him. When the Savior of the world has to be saved, and his parents have to be uprooted and

live like exiled criminals, then you begin to see what Murphy's Law is all about. It is about a

fallen world where nothing is guaranteed to go smooth. Even the plan of God to save the

world has to work it's way through the maze where Murphy's Law can strike at any time. If

you long for a trouble free life, you are in the wrong world-that is the next time around with

a new heaven and a new earth. But the only way to get to that one is to get through this one.

Even God's own Son could not escape the reality of a fallen world.

The point is, nobody is picking on you when-

1. Your leak proof seals leak.

2. You need tools to get a child proof cap off your medicine bottle.

3. The day after your warranty runs out, your appliance ceases to work.

4. The tool you drop while working on your car rolls under the car to the exact center.

5. The repairman will never have seen a model quite like yours before.

6. If you keep something because you may need it, you never need it.

7. If you throw it away you will soon need it.

8. Your best made Christmas plans can fall apart and your dream gift become a nightmare.

The bright and shiny and fully assembled toy you see on display in the store is an illusion.

What you actually buy is a box of parts, some of which are already pre-broken. Tom

Mullen, in his book Birthdays, Holidays And Other Disasters, gives us one man's perspective

on Christmas toys-The box will come equipped with a complete set of directions so simple that any

Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could follow them in a year-if he

had a crew of men to help and a psychiatrist standing by.

In short, for those gifted few who, as the saying goes, are

"handy about the house," putting things together under

the pressure of Christmas expectation is less than a traumatic experience.

To many of us, however, who cannot hang

pictures straight or dismantle an electric razor for cleaning,

the entire situation breeds inferiority feelings that make

Charlie Brown seem like an egomaniac.

Thus, our children feel neglected because they have a

wagon which has one wheel that refuses to turn. We broil

our hamburgers on a grill so wobbly that burning coals roll

from side to side. Our sons end up playing with dolls

because the jungle gym we purchased is lopsided,

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