Summary: A look at the original sights and sounds of Christmas to remind us that our cultural conceptions of Christmas tend to be faulty.
SPECIAL DAY: CHRISTMAS
TEXT: LUKE 2:1-20 (Don’t read yet)
TITLE: “THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF CHRISTMAS”
INTRODUCTION: A. Steve Malone relates a parody of Luke’s account of the birth of Christ, that really
underscores just how far our world has let the true meaning of Christmas slip away
--"And there were in the same country children keeping watch over there stockings by
the fireplace. And lo! Santa Claus came upon them, and they were sore afraid. And
Santa said unto them `Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy
that is for all people who can afford them. For unto you will be given great feasts of
turkey, dressing and cake; and many presents; and this shall be a sign unto you, ye
shall find the presents, wrapped in bright paper, lying beneath a tree adorned with
tinsel, colored balls and lights. And suddenly, there will be with you a multitude of
relatives and friends, praising you and saying, `thank you so much, it was just what
I wanted’ And it shall come to pass as the friends and relatives have gone their
away to their own homes, the parents shall say to one another, What a mess to clean
up! I’m tired, let’s go to bed and pick it up tomorrow. Thank goodness, Christmas
only comes once a year!’ And they go with haste to their cold bed and find their
B. What do you think about when you hear the word “Christmas”?
1. How many shopping days you have left?
2. Family gatherings?
3. Salvation Army bell-ringers?
4. What you’re going to give?
5. What you’re going to get?
6. How much food you have to cook?
7. How much food you’re going to eat?
8. Christmas trees?
9. Decorated houses?
11. Santa Claus?
12. Frosty the Snowman?
13. Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer?
14. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer?
C. In the hyper busyness of the season, do we focus on everything but the reason for the
1. There was a haunting newspaper story several years ago about a wealthy Boston
family who had a party for their new-born baby. They invited all their friends and
relatives to their magnificent home to celebrate the birth of their precious infant.
Half an hour into the party, when it was time to bring the baby out for everyone
to see, the mother made a tragic discovery. The large bed where she had left the
baby sleeping was piled high with the winter coats of the guests. The baby was
lying dead underneath the mound of outer coverings, suffocated by everyone’s
carelessly discarded coats.
2. That terrible event almost perfectly illustrates what the world has done to
--So many have forgotten that Christmas is first of all a celebration of the birth of
3. Our word “Christmas” is a contraction of “Christ’s Mass”
--a worship service honoring the birth of Christ.
D. What sights and sound do you focus on at Christmas time?
1. Does the evergreen tree remind you of the eternality of Christ?
2. Do the many lights remind you of the Light of the World?
3. Do the nativity scenes remind you of the greatest gift ever given and the new birth
that God offers to all?
4. Are your favorite Christmas songs Joy To The Word? O Little Town of
Bethlehem? Silent Night?
D. Let’s look at how Luke records the very first Christmas and see its sights and hear its
sounds to know the real thrill of Christmas!
--Read Text: Lk. 2:1-20
I. THE EMPEROR’S EDICT
A. The emperor was Caesar Augustus
1. Real name: Caius Octavius
2. The nephew, adopted son, and successor of Julius Caesar
B. Edict – “a census should be taken of the entire Roman world”
--The Romans took a census every fourteen years for two primary reasons
a. Told the Roman government how many able-bodied men of draft age were available
b. However, Jewish men were exempt from the draft
a. The census was also designed to discover the number of a given population who were able to
contribute to the coffers of Rome and what figure they could use to project revenue for government
b. I never met anyone who truly enjoyed paying taxes.
--Most people, in fact, have some pretty derogatory thoughts toward paying taxes and even the
people who collect them.
(1). I saw a bumper sticker one time that said: “The IRS: We’ve got what it takes to take what
(2). I read about a man who computed his taxes for 1998 and found that he owed the IRS $3,407.00.
He packaged up his return and his payment and included this letter: