Summary: The fullness of time came more than two thousand years ago. A tiny baby came into a grim and dark world bringing light to all mankind, a light that still invites men to come into the warmth of God’s grace and find there peace, and hope, and love.

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The Story of Christmas

12/21/08 AM

Text: Matthew 1:18-25


For many today, Christmas is just a holiday; a stressful one at that. It’s a time for buying gifts that didn’t need to be bought out of a budget that couldn’t afford them. It’s a time for squeezing parties and extra events into a schedule that was already too full. It’s a time in which many feel rushed and over-committed when what they really need is to slow down and enjoy the season.

Christmas should be a time of peace, not of stress and frustration. We stress we may overlook someone on our gift list, or maybe they won’t like what we bought them, or perhaps they will think our gift too cheap. For some, Christmas brings the added tension of bringing together fractured families. Instead of peace, they dread the inevitable conflicts. Yet, Christmas should be a time of peace.

Christmas should be a time of hope. Think about this, Christmas is poised at the end of one year and the beginning of the next, at the crossroads of the past and the future. A previous year, with its blessings and its trials, is gone. A new year looms ahead, full of uncertainty. Yet, here is Christmas, the celebration of a birth that took place 2000 years ago; a perennial bright spot on our calendars because God has given us hope. Christmas should be a time of hope.

Christmas should be a time of love centered around the greatest love story ever told: the story of God who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Christmas is the story of God’s greatest gift given to meet our greatest need – because God is Love. Christmas should be a time of love.

The Christmas story – a tale retold year after year, yet it never loses its majesty; it never ceases to fill our hearts with wonder. It’s a simple and familiar story, isn’t it? Yet, I realize that there is a danger when you hear a familiar story of thinking, "I’ve heard that before. There’s no need to listen to it again." Then you tune it out.

PROP. I hope that doesn’t happen this morning and I encourage you to look again at this old but precious story with all your heart and with all your mind.

I want you to see three facts, three certainties, that if you will let them find room in your heart today, they will fill this Christmas with peace, hope, and love.

I.God is In Control – Verses 18-20

A.A Scandalous Discovery

1.She was found with child. Forget, for a moment, the part about “of the Holy Ghost.” You and I know that now because we have it written in the Word of God. But only Mary knew it then. For several months she had been able to keep her condition a secret. But the day arrived when her pregnancy could no longer be hidden. She was found with child. She was found out.

2.I can only imagine the confusion this caused; the questions, the tears, the anger, the accusations, and the quiet denials of Mary. She was pregnant, and everyone knew that she shouldn’t be.

3.Put yourself in Mary’s place. How would you like to face the condemning stares of family and friends, those “knowing” looks of the neighbors? Can you imagine the Gossip; the “facts” filled in with juicy speculations? It must have seemed to Mary as if her world was coming apart.

B.Joseph’s Dilemma

1.Now put yourself in Joseph’s place. What else could he think but that Mary had been unfaithful? How could He possibly believe her unbelievable explanation of her pregnancy? Would you? Could you? I do not know what emotions Joseph wrestled with, but the Scriptures indicate that Joseph struggled to know what to do. He was a just man and he had to do what was right.

2.But he was not a bitter man, although we could hardly have blamed him. He didn’t want Mary to face the shame and humiliation of a public trial for adultery. Should he do what was expected, inflicting further pain and suffering on a life that in his eyes was already in ruins? Wouldn’t it be better to get things over quietly, letting everyone just get on with their lives?

C.God’s Intervention

1.Into the midst of this confusion, with all its conflicting thoughts and emotions, Joseph receives a word from God. And let me say, that is what we need when our lives spin out of control. When life is filled with uncertainty, God’s Word can be trusted to bring peace to our chaos.

2.God’s message to Joseph was designed to do two things:

a.To replace his fear and confusion with peace.

b.To assure him that God was in control.

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