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Summary: Part 2 of 5 of the series, Christmas Perspectives. To the shepherds of Bethlehem and the people in Bethlehem the birth of Christ was a surprise. What were their reactions? Has our "familiarity" with the Christmas Story dulled us to the wonder of this sp

THE SURPRISE GUEST

Part 2 of the Christmas Perspectives Series

Luke 2:8-20

Read at beginning of service:

John 10:14-16 (NIV)

14 "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-- 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

INTRODUCTION

Last week we looked through the eyes of Mary and Joseph to discover what their perspective of the Christmas Story might have been. In doing so we found that to them, it was intimate, it was real, and it was precious. We walked with Mary and Joseph from the beginning with the unusual message, the message that to them a child would be born, His name would be Jesus and that He would be the Savior of His people. Then we listened in on their journey and witnessed the belief they had for the message and the faith they had in its’ fulfillment. Finally, we joined with Mary and Joseph in their experience of the moment when both their belief and faith was realized in the special birth of the special child, "Immanuel" – God with us.

In this series called Christmas Perspectives we are attempting to witness the Christmas Story through the eyes of those who were there, seeing how they saw it, feeling how they felt it. We are doing this in an attempt to allow our own perspective of the Christmas Story be shaped so as to reflect a true understanding of what the Christmas Story is all about – for it is not merely about an event that took place 2000 years ago but it is also about an event that can take place in our lives in the present as the Christ child is born in our hearts through our faith and belief in Him.

As I began last week, your perspective on something influences your actions, your reactions, and even your lack a action in circumstances, experiences and relationships with people. I thought I’d share a couple more examples of the influence perspective can have:

From a father’s letter to a son in college: "Am enclosing $10 as you requested in your letter. Incidentally, $10 is spelled with one zero, not two." (Autoillustrator.com, PERSPECTIVE)A pastor was visiting one of his parishioners, and as they were talking the conversation began to lag. The lady of the house, wanting to pick up the conversation, pointed out her window to her neighbor’s back yard where the wash was hanging on the line. She said: "See that lady next door and the wash she hangs out, see how dirty it is, she never hangs out a clean wash!" The pastor felt somewhat uncomfortable and tried to change the subject and quickly drew the visit to a close. AS he was departing from the house the lady of the house walked out on the front porch with him and again the wash next door was clearly visible to them. They both realized at the same time that this wash was sparkling white, just as white as any wash could ever be. The truth began to dawn on them that it was not the neighbor’s wash which was dirty, rather it was the window through which they viewed the wash. (Autoillustrator.com, PERSPECTIVE)As we begin this morning’s message ask yourself this question – has your perspective of the Christmas story been polluted by a world that does not fully understand the reason for the season?

Luke 2:7-20 (NIV)

7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

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