Summary: The people who went through the first Christmas had plenty of reason for stress. But they had peace instead. Here’s how.
Dec. 26, 1999 Matthew 1-2; Luke 1-2
The Peace of the People of Christmas
Today is the day after Christmas, and it may be that this afternoon, many of you will begin taking down the decorations that have sparkled in and on your house for the last couple of weeks. First, you will take the ornaments off the tree and pack them carefully away into the boxes so that they do not break. Then you will unravel the lights on the tree and try to pack them in such a way that they won’t be all tangled next year. But then you remember that that’s what you tried to do last year, and you still had to untangle them this year. After that, it will be time for the tree to come down. If you had a live one, you will put it by the curbside for David and his team to pick up, or if an artificial, you’ll pull the limbs off and try to cram them all back into the box that is starting to fall apart having been dragged in and out of the attic for so many years. You’ll put all the neat new stuff that you got into some spot in the appropriate room in the house, and you’ll set the garbage full of wrapping paper by the door ready to go out into the cold. And then you’ll come to the manger scene. And you’ll look at those little characters and the little baby that they surround, and perhaps you’ll stop for a minute and think about Christmas meant for these people. That’s what I want us to do this morning. Before the manger scene is put in storage until next December, let’s take a look at each of the people of Christmas and see what Christmas meant for them and how they were able to secure their own personal peace on earth.
MARY (Luke 1:26-38)
- turned over control of her body
JOSEPH (Matthew 1:18-25)
- turned over control of his future
SHEPHERDS (Luke 2:8-16)
- turned over control of their livelihood
SIMEON (Luke 2:25-32)
- turned over control of his purpose
WISE MEN (Matthew 2:1-12)
- turned over control of their safety, reputation, and wealth
JESUS (Luke 22:41-42;23:44-46)
- turned over control of His glory and His life
HEROD (Matthew 2:16)
- the only one who received no peace from the events of Christmas
- the only one who tried to hold onto everything that he had rather than giving over control to God
There was one thing that all the persons of Christmas had in common that allowed them to have peace when their world was changing all around them. They turned over control of their lives to God and let Him take care of their circumstances. Peace doesn’t come by having control over the reigns of your life. Peace comes by turning over control to the only One who can make everything work out just right. (Isa 26:3 KJV) Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. All throughout Jesus’ life, the people that He encountered had a choice to make – do I obey Jesus and give up control, or do I hold on to what I have with all my might because I’m afraid to let go, fearing that I’ll lose what little I have. When Jesus told the fishermen to follow Him, the left behind their family, their boats and the fish. When Jesus had 5000 people to feed, a little boy gave up his control of 5 biscuits and 2 fish. The little boy and the entire crowd left that day with a full belly. But when Jesus told a rich, young ruler to give up control of his riches and follow Jesus, the man wouldn’t let go of his grip, and went away sad and lost.