Summary: The sermon is intended to remind all of us that despite our mistakes and errors Christ redeemed us from our sin and gives us a new beginning. This is most evident in the birth of the Christ.
It is a special time of the year, a time when we focus on the gift of God in the person of Jesus Christ. For many while this season is intended to bring joy and renew hope in humanity this season can be difficult for many. It can be difficult to get into the season, to get the Christmas spirit. The reason that it is difficult for many to claim the Christmas Spirit is because of some of the personal struggles that one is facing. People do a myriad of things trying to capture the joy that this season is supposed to bring. They put up decorations, wrap gifts, drink egg nog, watch old movies, all with the hope that something will trigger the spirit of the season. We can at least give credit to those that are trying to spark the emotions of the seasons, in that there are so many that has just given up and allowed a pessimistic spirit to take control and have authority over their circumstance. I don’t want to suggest to you that just because it is the Christmas season that all of your problems just disappear and fade away but the season ought to renew hope, renew the belief that things can get better. I know that some if not many of you have made your way to this Holy Mount with problems that won’t just go away, that will not take a vacation because it is the Christmas season, and I want to affirm that truth but it is in the hope that comes with the birth of Christ that all of situations can be redeemed. Doesn’t matter what the situation, doesn’t matter what the root cause, nothing is beyond the grace of God, and nothing is beyond the redemptive power of Christ. Situations that are of your own doing and situations that you may not have had nay control of are all within the redemptive power of Christ. It is that redeeming work of Christ which can give joy in this season. For all of us that stand in the need of a second chance there is good news in this season. For all of us that have messed up, there is good news in this season. For all of us that have made mistakes, there is good news in this season. I know you have been bombarded with it and maybe the last place you expected to get an earful was at church but there is something for us to learn from the Tiger Woods situation. A few weeks ago Tiger from the outside looking in the world was his oyster and he was just picking pearls. That was a few weeks ago, with what to us started out as a minor automobile his world has come crashing down around him. In a period of two weeks the perception that most of us had of him has changed dramatically and while most of the media hype is based on speculation and rumor mill it doesn’t change the fact that world perception has changed. Now I know that many is wandering what affect will this period in Tiger’s life cost him, will it cost him his marriage and family, will it cost him endorsements that has made him one of the highest paid athletes in the world, will it cost him a chance at the record books which he seemed to be on track to crush. While only time will reveal the answers to those and many other questions that loom for he and his family it is no doubt that restoration is available, that redemption can be his. The redemption needed does not come from the media, the endorsers or the world it comes from Christ who through his coming redeems all who would choose relationship with God through Christ. Maybe your situation is not Tiger’s but you too can find joy in this season that comes as a result of the redemptive work of Christ. I believe that is the promise and joy that comes with this season, and that is shared with us in our text. It is
1. He will save his people (he claimed us) Mt 1.21a This is the dream scenario in the birth narrative. While the gospel of Luke gives us a view of the bird narrative from Mary’s perspective Matthew gives us insight through the view of Joseph. According to our text Joseph has determined which actions he is going to take after learning that his wife to be is with child. How the information is given to Joseph is unknown to us and no doubt came to him as a shock. If and most likely the scenario, Mary tried to explain her pregnancy. You can imagine how that conversation went, someone trying to convince you that they were pregnant but had not been involved with you in an intimate way and claiming to be impregnated by a super natural act of God. I am certain after much contemplation Joseph decides on a course of action, he would simply dissolve the marital arrangement. Let me pause here to say that you have to be careful when you make life changing choices without the aid of prayer and fasting. Every life changing choice you make ought to be tempered with prayer and fasting. It was not that Joseph was not a righteous man, meaning a good man, a man of high moral value, a man of faith but his decision is made out of logic at a highly emotional time. His good sense said to him what she told him was impossible. His good sense said to him that if she was going to fabricate a story she could have done better than that. His good sense said to him that there is someone else whom she gave herself and that is more than he can bear. Sometimes your good sense is what is stopping you from walking into the realm of blessings that God has ordained for your life. Sometimes your logic leads you away from the blessings that have been appointed and set aside for your life. Every life changing choice you make ought to be tempered with prayer and fasting. With his mind made up and him being at peace with his choice he falls asleep and the Lord showed up. God showed up after his mind was made up. God showed up after he had already put it to rest and God’s plan was different than Joseph’s decision. In a word God told him to keep her because this is bigger than you. The child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit and he shall save his people. This is at the heart of the gospel, that people need to be saved. The condition of all humanity is that we need to be redeemed, we need to be saved. Secondly the issue at hand is who will be saved by him, his people. The term his people carries at least two possible meanings. One, his people meaning those of a like birth heritage, the Jews. However the meaning would be to restrictive because his heritage is both of the earth and of heaven. His earthly heritage is Jewish, but his heavenly heritage is universal. So” his people” takes on a larger global meaning to declare that the salvidic power is universal. Thus the text that says ‘if anyone would come after me, tell him deny himself pick up his cross and follow me.” “For God so loved the world that he gave his son, that whosoever believes on him will not perish but will have everlasting life.” That is good news for all of us that stand in the need of such salvation. It doesn’t matter where we came from, doesn’t matter what we have done, he came to save us. From the best of us, to the worst of us he came to save us. From the richest of us to the poorest of us he came to save us. We are his people because we are citizens of a world that he came to redeem.