Summary: What is the true spirit of Christmas? Take a brief journey through the Biblical accounts of Christ's birth and revisit the response of those who came into contact with Immanuel -- God with us.
Today we begin a Christmas teaching series called “The Spirit of Christmas.” What do you think the “Spirit of Christmas” is? (Allow responses)
Perhaps it might be best to begin with what the Spirit of Christmas is not:
Fully-loaded eggnog or other drinkable “spirits”
The ghost of Christmases past, present and future as portrayed by Charles Dickens
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose, yuletide carols…
The smell of pine, cinnamon or gumdrops
Risking your life to hang the Christmas lights on your house
Waiting in line for hours so your child can sit on the lap of a complete stranger with bad breath wearing a red suit
Hundreds of presents equaling thousands of dollars neatly stacked beneath a parched, highly flammable pine tree
Fighting your way through specials and clearance sales at the department stores
Eartha Kitt singing “Santa Baby”
Bath-robe clad children singing “Happy Birthday, Jesus”
It is not the belief-inspired ring of a jingle bell, a reformed Grinch, a lamp made out of a leg or an oversized Elf looking for his real dad in NYC
It isn’t even gift-giving, being with those you love, silent nights and harking angels. The truth is that many people have missed the true spirit of Christmas and have settled for the cheap, glittering, plastic, consumeristic substitutes.
This morning, we will discover “The True Spirit of Christmas” (show title) as revealed in the Bible which detailed the events surrounding the birth of Christ.
We are going to briefly read through the main texts about and around the birth of Christ. I want you to listen for a theme.
Luke 2:10–14 (NIV) —10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, 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 heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:16–20 (NIV) —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.
Luke 2:22, 25-33 (NIV) —22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” 33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.
Luke 2:36–38 (NIV) —36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
Matthew 2:10–11 (NIV) —10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.