Summary: Third in Christmas series.

The Four “M’s” of Christmas

Part 3 - The Mission

Matthew 1:18-21

December 21, 2008


Me: You may have noticed that your note-taking guide looks a little sparse compared to what is normally in there.

That is not an indication that the sermon is going to be any shorter than usual, so don’t get any ideas about getting out of here too soon, okay?

It’s just that there are two things that I want to stress, and everything else simply underscores these things.

You can jot down some other things as you see fit, but don’t worry about having to fill in a bunch of blanks, okay?

I was like most kids growing up in America when it came to the Christmas season.

I couldn’t wait for Santa to bring me presents. I loved watching all the Christmas specials on TV. Especially the Charlie Brown Christmas Special and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.

You know, the clay-mation one with the elf who wants to be a dentist and the prospector, Yukon Cornelius, and the Abominable Snow Monster?

I remember how my parents tried to get us to get to bed and go to sleep because Santa wouldn’t come until we were asleep.

Anybody else get that growing up?

One thing that I didn’t get much of a focus was the mission of Christmas.

I remember hearing and knowing the “what” of Christmas – that we were celebrating the birth of Jesus.

But I don’t remember hearing much about the “why” of Christmas. WHY did Jesus come to earth?

I’m willing to admit that probably most of that was because I had other things on my mind – toys, for instance.

I came across the story of two young boys who were spending the night at their grandparents’ house the week before Christmas. At bedtime, the two boys knelt beside their beds to say their prayers. The younger one began praying at the top of his lungs: "I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE..." "I PRAY FOR A NEW NINTENDO..." His older brother leaned over, nudged him and said, "Why are you shouting? God isn’t deaf." But the little brother replied, "No, but Grandma is!" ( Contributed by Joel Vicente)

So, in spite of what I’m sure were hearty efforts on my parents’ part to help me appreciate the spiritual aspects of Christmas, it never really sank in until I was in college.

We: I wonder how many people here today grew up the same way. Many, if not most of you, right?

We loved the magic of the season, looked forward to receiving gifts, even if they weren’t from Santa, or even if we had outgrown him.

But we never really heard much about the mission of Christmas. Never really heard much about why that little baby was born in that stable.

Some of you did grow up hearing the “why.” And for you, there’s no separation for you. Christmas means Christ.

And let me say, you’re very fortunate.

But some of us didn’t get that as well as you did.

That’s why I want to take our time today to really get into that. I want to make sure that no one leaves here today without knowing just WHY Jesus came to earth as a little baby.

And I hope that you will leave here today not just knowing the facts, but changed by them, just like they changed me a number of years ago.

God: Today we read one of the more familiar Christmas passages. It takes place just shortly before the passage we read last week, when the magi visited Jesus some time after He was born.

Matthew 1:18-21 (p. 681) –

18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

Christmastime gives us the opportunity to explore all sorts of things regarding Jesus and His birth.

Just from this passage we could look at the fact that Jesus was born of a virgin or that Joseph was a righteous man who cared as much for Mary’s reputation as for his own.

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