Summary: Advent Sermon
Introduction: For the past few weeks, we have been preparing for Christmas by focusing our attention on various aspects related to celebrating the season. We talked about the lights and reflected on the promised light of the world. We spoke of carols and reflected on the powerful witness of a humble girl whom God used to mother His Son. This morning, I want to look at another symbol of celebrating Christmas, the angels that decorate our houses and lawns. I’ve seen lighted angels, heralding Christ’s birth on a neighbors lawn, and I’ve hung decorative angels in my home to celebrate Christmas. I’ve even seen cute little salt and pepper shaker angels at a dinner table. It is good and right for angels to be present in our reflections of Christmas. We know from the reading Matt read that angels were there the 1st Christmas. But these angels were not chubby little cherubs we see on the typical Christmas card. This morning, as we reflect upon the Christmas angels, may God give us new insight into the wonder and amazement of their appearing and their message. Let us not for one minute think that this was any ordinary night.
I. The wonder of a special night.
A. These shepherds were out doing their job.
1. They were simple folk doing a simple job.
2. It would have been a night like a thousand before
3. Max Lucado puts it this way, "An ordinary night with ordinary sheep and ordinary shepherds. And were it not for a God who loves to hook an "extra" on the front of the ordinary, the night would have gone unnoticed. The sheep would have been forgotten, and the shepherds would have slept the night away. But God dances amidst the common. And that night he did a waltz. The black sky exploded with brightness. ... Sheep that had been silent became a chorus of curiosity. One minute the shepherd was dead asleep, the next he was rubbing his eyes and staring into the face of an alien. The night was ordinary no more. The angel came in the night because that is when lights are best seen and that is when they are most needed. God comes into the common for the same reason."
B. An angel of the Lord appears.
1. Suddenly, an angel is in their midst.
2. The glory of the Lord shone around them
a. A blinding light envelopes them.
b. The dark countryside bursts into pure light.
C. The shepherds are terrified.
1. Shepherding was dangerous work— wild animals, cold nights
2. But this angel terrifies them
a. It must have been absolutely overwhelming
b. God broke through and dropped tough guys to their knees
(Transition: Talk about getting someone’s attention. But that’s exactly what God did. They were now ready to hear the most amazing news ever to be spoken.)
II. The wonder of the angel’s words.
A. The angel’s good news will bring joy.
1. "You need not fear."
2. "I bring you good news" — I am here to proclaim the gospel
3. Great joy for all the people
a. What I have to share to the best news ever
b. This news is for everyone...starting with you.
B. The source of this joy is a little baby.
1. The town of David— the King is born.
2. A Savior has been born.
3. Christ, the Lord— the Messiah has been born.
4. The sign — a baby in a feeding trough
(Transition: The amazing news of God’s deliverance was delivered by the angel— The day has arrived, the King, Savior and Messiah of God’s people has finally come...in the form of a defenseless and lowly child. Could it be true, is it a dream? If any of them thought so, God’s army heralds the news...make no mistake...He is Here.)
II. The wonder of the Heavenly Host.
A. An army of God’s angels suddenly appear.
1. If one angel was terrifying, what must these shepherds been feeling now?
2. Imagine you were there.
B. Their function— to praise God
1. They give Him glory— Praise for God’s greatness.
a. The eternal witnesses recognize the fulfillment of God’s purposes
b. He has accomplished that which no one can undo.
2. They proclaim His peace— Praise for God’s reconciling grace.
a. This baby will save His people
b. This baby will satisfy God’s wrath.
c. This baby will bring peace upon the earth.
Conclusion: And as quickly as they appeared, they disappeared. And the shepherds went to see what has happened. They went to Bethlehem, and found the baby lying in a manger, and then they shared what God had told them. And the people were amazed. When was the last time you were amazed by God’s wonder? Christmas is a time to remember that God is great enough to be amazing, and humble enough to be known. Christmas reminds us that God is seen on the mountainside and in the manger. Isn’t it wonderful? We have been given peace with the God whose glory terrified those shepherds by the God slept in the hay. Do you know that wonderful, amazing, marvelous God this morning. Do you know that joy which the angel proclaimed for you? Do you know that peace of which the angels spoke? You can. God need no longer terrify you, go and see the baby. He was born to save you. Trust Him this morning. God is so wonderful. The angels remind us of that. Christmas should remind us of that. Christmas reminds us that God is seen on the mountainside and in the manger.