Summary: This sermon shows some people who found Christ.


A few days ago, I received a Christmas newsletter from a friend of mine who is serving as a missionary in Japan. Here is what he wrote in his newsletter:

Dear Friends,

Christmas music came early this year. My family found a radio station that started playing 24-hour-a-day Christmas music on November 1st! And yet, with hours and hours of listening to this music, I can't remember a mention of what Christmas is really about. I have heard songs like, "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," "Let it Snow," and the ever-annoying "Santa Baby," but nothing with an overtly religious message.

Would it shock you to know that I have gotten used to hearing more "Christian" Christmas songs back in Japan? It's true! Despite that fact that Japan is overwhelmingly non-Christian (+99.5%), Christmas is a hugely popular event. And the music you hear playing over the speakers in the mall is often the sacred Christmas carols that we sing in church. I shared this fact during a sermon recently and a congregant yelled out "Praise God!"

"But," I went on, "people hear those songs without knowing what they mean." For most Japanese people, the Christmas they are celebrating is about couples exchanging Christmas cakes (usually a white cake with whipped icing and strawberries on top) and families eating Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Yes, in one of the greatest marketing successes of all time, a KFC manager named Takeshi Okawara, in the 1970s, came up with the slogan "Kentucky for Christmas!" …and it is now estimated that over three-and-a-half million Japanese families purchase the KFC Christmas Dinner Chicken Bucket every year.

It's funny, but at the same time a sad reminder of the number of people in Japan who have no idea that Christmas is a celebration of God coming to earth to live with and to redeem his people.

There were many people in Christ's day who missed his birth. The innkeeper missed Christ because he was too busy. Herod missed Christ because he was jealous of a rival to his throne. And the religious leaders missed Christ because they were self-righteous religionists.

Sadly, many people today miss Christ too. They miss the true meaning of Christmas not only in Japan, which is, as my friend said, an "overwhelmingly non-Christian" country. However, even in our country, where more than three-quarters of the population claim to be Christian, there are many people who miss Christ.


Tonight, I would like to show you some people who found Christ.

Let's use the following outline:

1. The Shepherds Found Christ (Luke 2:8-20)

2. The Wise Men Found Christ (Matthew 2:1-11)

I. The Shepherds Found Christ (Luke 2:8-20)

First, the shepherds found Christ.

Shepherds were in the fields outside the city of Bethlehem, keeping watch over their flock by night. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared to them and said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger" (Luke 2:10-12).

Shepherds were nobodies in their society. Most people thought poorly of shepherds. They were not allowed to worship in the Temple because they were considered unclean. And they were not allowed to testify in a court of law because their testimony was considered unreliable. And yet, the angel appeared to the shepherds with good news of great joy.

When the angels went away from the shepherds, they immediately went to Bethlehem. They found Mary and Joseph with their newborn baby, Jesus. After telling them what had happened to them and why they had come to find Jesus, they returned back to the fields, "glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen" (Luke 2:20).

So, the shepherds found Christ.

II. The Wise Men Found Christ (Matthew 2:1-11)

And second, the wise men found Christ.

Some time after Christ's birth, perhaps as long as two years later, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him" (Matthew 2:2).

These wise men were not even Jews; they were Gentiles. They were from the east, perhaps from Persia, which is modern-day Iran. Yet, they saw a star which they believed to be "his star," that is, a star pointing to the birth of the "king of the Jews." Scholars are not sure what the star was that the wise men saw. Because of the Greek word used to describe the star, I take it to be something like the shekinah glory of God, that is, something like the pillar of fire that led the people of God from Egypt to the Promised Land. Nevertheless, just as God sent an angel to the shepherds, he directed the wise men by "his star" to find Christ.

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