Summary: not the prophecies of the OT, nor the angels announcing Jesus birth to the Shepeherds, nor the Wise Men follwing a start but the Incarnation
Sermon: The Incarnation TSJ, TSL, WSG and WSMM 2013
The greatest miracle of the Christmas story is NOT the prophecies foretelling Jesus’ birth, wonderful though they are.
The greatest miracle of the Christmas story is NOT the angels telling the Shepherds of Jesus’ birth, magnificent though that was.
The greatest miracle of the Christmas story is NOT the Wise Men coming from the East and following a star to find Jesus, wonderful though that was.
The greatest miracle of Christmas story is the fact that GOD himself came and lived among us.
Let me explain why that is so important by telling you Louis Cassels’ parable of the birds?
Now the man to whom I’m going to introduce you was not a scrooge; he was a kind, decent, mostly good man.
He was generous to his family and upright in his dealings with other men.
But he just didn’t believe all that stuff about God becoming a man, which the churches proclaim at Christmas time.
It just didn’t make sense, and he was too honest to pretend otherwise.
“I’m truly sorry to distress you,” he told his wife, “but I’m not going with you to church this Christmas Eve.”
He said he’d feel like a hypocrite and that he would much rather just stay at home.
And so he stayed, and they went to the midnight service.
Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier.
Then he went back to his fireside chair to read his newspaper. Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound.
Then another and another — sort of a thump or a thud.
At first he thought someone must have been throwing snowballs against his living room window.
When he went to investigate, he found a flock of birds out in the back yard.
They had been caught in the storm, and in a desperate search for shelter, were trying to fly through the kitchen window.
He was a very kind man so he tried to think of something he could do so the birds wouldn’t freeze.
"The barn!" he thought. “That would be a nice shelter.”
He put on his coat and overshoes and tramped through the deepening snow to the barn and opened the door wide and turned on the light.
But the birds didn’t come in.
Food will bring them in he thought.
So he hurried back to the house for bread crumbs which he sprinkled on the snow to make a trail to the barn.
But the birds ignored the bread crumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow.
He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around waving his arms.
They scattered in every direction except into the warm, lighted barn.
"They find me a strange and terrifying creature," he said to himself, "and I can’t seem to think of any way to let them know they can trust me."
Puzzled and dismayed, he pondered this thought, "If only I could be a bird myself for the moment, perhaps I could lead them to safety." If only I could be a bird myself . . .
Just then the church bells began to ring, pealing the glad tidings of Christmas.
The man stood silently for a minute, then sank to his knees in the snow.
"Now I understand," he whispered as he lifted his gaze to the sky.
"Now I see why You had to become man."
In the Old Testament, when God gave Moses the ten Commandments for the Israelites, they were terrified when they heard God.
The scene opens as follows as Moses leads the Israelites into the presence of God:
16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled.
17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.
18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently.
19 As the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him. (Ex 19:16-19)
God then gives Moses the Ten Commandments and when Moses comes back to the Israelites the story continues
18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear.
They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”