Summary: Christmas Season - focussing on the revolutionary nature of the birth of Jesus
The sight of a sleeping baby causes most people to think “ahh” they look so peaceful, until they wake and start yelling! The Christmas story can be like that - it seems so comfortable, so safe, so cute, after all who can resist a little baby. Well we know some people could – Herod for example wanted to kill him! Why? Because he perceived a threat and wanted it eliminated. Now babies are not generally thought of as being dangerous – only to their parents who exist on less sleep! This baby, with these foreign visitors, going to be a king was different and Herod thought “over my dead body” – gave orders to kill this baby and because he wasn’t sure where he was he’d kill them all. Herod had grasped one thing - this baby was actually the most dangerous baby of all. Because this baby was actually going to not only usurp him, but all thrones and powers and dominions! This baby came to start a revolution, the greatest, longest, most successful revolution, peaceful revolution ever.
1. The revolution begins
The first signs that something unusual was happening was that God was speaking – but he was bypassing king, governors, the religious, the great and the good. Instead the main characters in this story are young woman (probably a teenage girl in 1st century Palestine of no consequence whatsoever), shepherds (despised by the religious leaders of the day as they couldn’t keep all the rules by virtue of their profession), a barren woman (a terrible stigma in her day). Ordinary people are the ones being visited, the despised and downtrodden. That tells us something about this revolution. The message of Jesus, of Christmas is for everyone, it is for the poor, the weak and vulnerable, those who are overlooked. It is for Hindu, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist as well as Christians. Jesus came to start a revolution. Turn the world upside down, or actually to turn back the right way up. Because human beings have done rather a good job of messing the world up. Let’s be honest human beings are capable of really messing things up. We’re messing the planet up so much so that the North Pole is going to melt within 30 years. We’re messing up the Middle East more than it was already messed up e.g. Iraq. Let’s bring it closer to home – we’re messing up the family as rates of family breakdown go through the roof. I’m sure we can all think of all the things we have managed to mess up. So the revolution was to put things back together again, to save the human race from itself, from its sin!
2. Rescue Mission
Now if this was a Hollywood movie there would be a hero waiting. A James Bond who would save the world, killing the baddies. Or a super-hero – superheroes usually have ordinary lives, but extraordinary powers. In the end by a mixture of superior power, cleverness and help from others they win through like this Clip of dvd – The Incredibles
But this hero mounts a different type of rescue/revolution isn’t like that at all. This baby, when he grew up he healed the sick, fed the poor, gave people hope, helped them find God’s peace and forgiveness, assured the dying that Paradise awaited them, called people to love their enemies not hate them.
He did go on to confront the powers of evil that are still with us today, met them head on; but he wasn’t going to defeat them by force, as superheroes do, or James bond does in the movies. He was going to defeat them by the power of love, by the power of sacrifice when he died on the cross. By laying down his life, willingly being sacrificed he would triumph over evil - Clip of Lion Witch and Wardrobe – chapter 16 - 17
That’s how the revolution got started. This baby was really a most dangerous baby, because he started a revolution that continues to this day – 2 billion people give allegiance to this baby today. Now we can of course ignore all this and just think “ahh – a baby” or we can hear the call of Jesus this Christmas to join his revolution. It is not to become religious, or a dull person God save us from religious, dull people. The call is to believe in him, the Saviour of the world. The call is to join his revolutionary new way of living. To be a follower of Jesus Christ, to learn how he can help us not to make a mess of our lives, of our families, of society, of the world, of the planet.
It means to trust him, believe in him and live life his way. So that life will be better for ourselves and for those around us. This baby was to start an alternative way of living. Many people today are ready to change, they know doing things our way just leads to more disaster all too often. People are interested in Jesus way, they are just not interested in becoming religious. As a church what we are about is trying to help each other to live as genuine followers of Jesus, encouraging others to join us on that journey, of non-religious Christianity.