Summary: How did Christmas 2014 feel to you? Maybe your Christmas wasn’t all you expected. Now that Christmas is over, maybe the excitement has passed and life is already returning to some kind of normal. Whatever normal might be in your life!
The Sunday after Christmas sermon
How was your Christmas?
Yesterday I went to buy some petrol and as I was queuing up to pay I heard another driver ask the cashier: “How was your Christmas?”
Her response was “I am SO HAPPY that Christmas is over!” - I find that a little sad.
But the truth is for many Christmas 2014 is already over!
This year many people will have celebrated Christmas without celebrating Christ.
Perhaps The birth of Jesus mentioned in a Carol or a Christmas song and then ignored or forgotten.
Many will have celebrated Christmas without celebrating Christ.
A couple of years ago in a shop I heard a woman complaining to her friend that she could not find any good Christmas cards to send her friends “They are all so boring! What’s Jesus got to do with Christmas anyway?”
The birth of Jesus, for far too many, is just a story, like Santa Claus, or the Grinch that stole Christmas.
I hope your Christmas included Christ this year.
I hope you spent time thinking about the birth of our saviour.
I hope you took the opportunity to speak to family and friends about the real reason for the season.
For many people Christmas is more about having an excuse for excess than about an opportunity to hear the truth about who Jesus was and is.
Shops seem to like Christmas and Easter holidays.
It’s the 28th of December today, but some shops are already selling Easter Eggs.
In todays newspapers you will find adverts for Summer Holidays.
I even saw an advert on TV yesterday offering easy payment plans for Christmas 2015 food hampers.
Christmas comes and Christmas goes and life moves quickly on.
Perhaps, even in your own home, you have left Christmas behind.
Maybe the tree is still up, but it’s empty underneath.
Maybe you had family visiting and they have either already left for their own homes.
Perhaps all that’s left of your Christmas turkey is a bare skeleton....
or maybe you are planning to have Turkey Tikka Massala for lunch today?
All the preparation, all the excitement,
all the expense and now it’s all over for another year.
How did Christmas 2014 feel to you?
Maybe your Christmas wasn’t all you expected.
Now that Christmas is over, maybe the excitement has passed and life is already returning to some kind of normal.
Whatever normal might be in your life!
I wonder if that first Christmas, Mary and Joseph were hoping for life to return to normal too.
If you think your Christmas was busy it was nothing compared to that first Christmas.
I want you to think back to the first Christmas.
It was a seriously difficult time for Mary and Joseph.
The long journey to Bethlehem, not for a nice little winter get away, a journey so they could go and pay their taxes.
A journey that was not easy at the best of times but when your nine months pregnant,
either walking or in a cart or on the back of a donkey…
it’s a journey worse than we can imagine.
Then arriving in Bethlehem, on what seemed to be the busiest day of the year because there were no rooms available anywhere.
Years before the invention of the telephone - so Joseph could not call ahead to book a room.
No internet with sites like trip advisor or hotel finder room booking.
Though if it existed at the time even
lastminute.com would have only been able to offer them a room share of a smelly old stable complete with straw and animals.
Then giving birth in a stable, no doctor,
no midwife, no gas and air,
well maybe a little gas from the animals…
The first Christmas - the birth of Jesus –
one of the most important events in the whole of history.
An event that changed worlds relationship with God.
Immanuel God WITH us.
Then the first ever unexpected Christmas guests arrive and the shepherds turn up.
Their day had been far from normal too - angels appearing and announcing the birth of Jesus, sending the Shepherds off to see for themselves.
Often when we see the little nativity pictures the wise men are there at the same time but the truth is they probably didn’t see Jesus until He was nearly two years old.
The wise men – the magi – came from the east and worshipped Jesus, bringing gifts with them
But then things take a turn for the worse.
The Gospel of Matthew records the difficulties that happened after that first Christmas,
the normal life that Mary and Joseph had perhaps been hoping for was not to be.
Matthew records the tears and the fears, the pain and the problems.
It’s not a pretty part of the Christmas story and you won’t find it on a Christmas Card or sung about in a Christmas Carol.