Summary: Christmas doesn’t come from a store it comes from God.
The Nature of Christmas
Text: Matt. 1:18-25
1. Illustration: "Fa-who-for-ay; da-who-dor-ay; welcome, Christmas,
come this way; Fa-who-for-ay; da-who-dor-ay;
welcome, Christmas, Christmas day."
They continue, singing,
"Christmas day is in our grasp
so long as we have hands to clasp."
The Grinch can hardly believe his ears.
He begins to get furious, but then something happens.
He suddenly puzzles how Christmas came.
"It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes, or bags."
Suddenly the Grinch realizes that Christmas
is about more than presents, or decorations,
or a feast.
He has a thought he’s never thought before:
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn’t come
from a store; Maybe Christmas perhaps
means a little bit more."
SOURCE: From "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" Dr. Suess (movie and book)
2. Indeed, Christmas doesn’t come from a store, and it does mean so much more.
3. Read Matt. 1:18-25
Proposition: Christmas doesn’t come from a store it comes from God.
Transition: The first thing that we must understand about Christmas is that...
I. Christmas Is a God Thing (18-21)
A. Of the Holy Spirit
1. Matthew tells us that what he is about to tell us took place "After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph..."
2. In order to understand what Matthew is telling us, we need to understand how Jewish marriages worked during this time period.
a. The betrothal or engagement period lasted a year prior to the actual marriage ceremony.
b. Unlike today, betrothal is legally binding and took a divorce decree to end it.
c. There was to be no sexual relations during this period.
d. After the year was ended, then there would be an official ceremony.
3. Matthew then tells us that "before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit."
a. The phrase "before they came together," is a reference to a sexual union.
b. The phrase affirms that Mary’s pregnancy was discovered while she was still betrothed, and the context presupposes that both Mary and Joseph had been chaste (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM).
c. However, Matthew also indicates to us that the Father of Mary’s child was the Holy Spirit.
d. It was a God thing!
4. Now when Joseph found out that Mary was with child, he naturally assumed that she had been unfaithful. He now had a choice to make.
a. He could expose her publicly for committing adultery.
b. He could divorce her privately so that no one else would know.
5. Matthew tells us that his was the second one when he says "Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly."
a. The character and compassion of Joseph is revealed in this dilemma.
b. Matthew distinguishes between Joseph’s purpose and desire.
c. Joseph intends to maintain his personal righteousness, yet his desire is also to have compassion for the woman to whom he is engaged, even though he considers her an adulteress. (Wilkins, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Matthew, 75).
6. However, before he went through with the procedure "an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit."
a. This is highly unusual. Frequently in Scripture, God speaks to people through dreams, but rarely does an angelic being speak directly to the person. It was a God thing!
b. Furthermore, the phrase "Joseph son of David" is a direct reference to the promise made to David that the Messiah would come from his family. It was a God thing!
c. Moreover, the angel tells Joseph what Matthew has already told us, the child in Mary is conceived by an act of the Holy Spirit of God. It was a God thing!
7. Then the angel tells Joseph that "she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."
a. In Bible times either a mother or a father could name a child.
b. According to Luke 1:31, Mary was told Jesus’ name; but Joseph was told both name and reason for it. (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM)
c. The name Jesus means "Yahweh Saves!"
d. This child was going to be the means by which God brought salvation to whole world. It was a God thing!
B. God Brought Christmas
1. Illustration: Last week when I spent Thanksgiving with my brothers and their families you could see the specialists in my family. When someone had a medical question, they asked my brother John, because he is a doctor. It was a medical thing. When someone had a building question, they asked my brother Dave, because he is a carpenter. It was a building thing. When someone had a theological question they asked me, because I am a pastor. It was a theological thing.