Summary: The Glory of Christmas is found in Jesus Christ!
The Glory of Bethlehem’s Babe
1. People love to use their talents around Christmas time. It didn’t end with the little drummer boy. For example, a plumber I knew was married to gal who love to make gingerbread houses, so he installed the plumbing.
A is into home economics and decorating. After thanksgiving, she blanches turkey carcass, sprays it with gold paint and uses it as a sleigh to hold Christmas cards.
Then there is the baker married to a farmer. She dips sheep and cows in egg whites and roll in confectioner's sugar to add a festive sparkle to the pasture
[adapted from http://www.dezert-rose.com/humor/christmas/marthastewart2.html]
2. No matter how creative we are in celebrating Christmas, we can never improve on the original one! And, every year, we need to refocus on Bethlehem’s Babe.
3. Charles Wesley said it well: ““Veiled in flesh the godhead see…” From John 1…
4. The prologue to John’s Gospel is so deep that we can focus on just one aspect and have more to contemplate than we can handle. We often do this with “the Word.” About 2 or 3 years ago I dealt with “the word.” But today, in John 1:14, I would like to focus upon the GLORY of the babe of Bethlehem.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The word “glory” in John (doxa) is probably a translation of one the Hebrew word for God’s glory, chabod., but in post OT Hebrew, as used by the rabbis, the word “Shekinah” was used for a specific type of God’s glory, the glory that dwelt in the cloud above the Ark (Box) of the Covenant in the tabernacle.
In John 1:14 uses the word “dwelt” (tabernacle) and narrows it down to the concept of Shekinah because:
Main idea: The Glory of Christmas is found in Jesus Christ!
I. The SHEKINAH (Glory)
A. A PILLAR of cloud by day and fire by night
B. This pillar protected ISRAEL from the Egyptians (Exodus 14:19ff)
C. This cloud represents God’s GLORY
Exodus 33:10, “And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door.”
It also suggests the fullness of God; God’s glory “the glory of the Lord filled the temple” when Solomon dedicated it (2 Chronicles 7:1); when Isaiah saw the Lord
D. This is the glory that was HOUSED in Jesus Christ
How much did Mary and Joseph understand about Who this was? The shepherds knew he was the Messiah/Son of the Most High, but did they understand that he was fully God and fully man? How much did the Magi understand?
How much did you understand when you accepted Jesus Christ?
E. This glory is saturated with grace and TRUTH
We needed both from God. a gracious Savior to redeem us, truth to obey
II. The INCARNATION
The Word became flesh; the Word has always existed.
1. The incarnation occurred within Mary
2. Philippians 2:5-7, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men…”
B. His humility DEMONSTRATED that first Christmas
1. environment: manger/ barn/stable with kosher barn animals
2. first honored guests were humble shepherds
3. Herod tried to kill him … he was vulnerable; the incarnate creator had to depend upon his very creation
4. Why are we repelled by humility, simplicity, making do? Fear? Because we don’t feel significant enough? Jesus was not afraid of humility; not “too good” for shepherds. Following Jesus means embracing humility.
C. Every Christmas, people are confused as to WHY Jesus came
1. Did he come to teach us about God?
2. Did he come to reveal God?
3. Yes, those are both true. But he came primarily to save his people from their sins, as they angel said when he announced his birth to Joseph.
III. The BREAKOUTS
A. Mount of TRANSFIGURATION (Matthew 17:1-8)
B. His ARREST (John 18:4-9)
Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.”