Summary: This well-known passage becomes a foundation for a Christmas series
People bring a lot of different baggage into the Christmas season. Some of you are facing the sadness of losing a family member recently. Some are looking at surgery or just recovering from it. Several are adjusting to becoming parents of a new baby in the past year or 2. I asked a few families like that in our church family to let me interview them – to get some insights into what it’s like to adjust to a new baby right about now.
(play family interview video)
I don’t know if there will be more kids for those families or not. I’m no prophet. But there was a man named Isaiah who was a prophet, and God sent him with a message:
Hard times were coming for Israel; big needs, big challenges to come. They needed a hand. Here comes Isaiah the prophet with a word from the Lord. What will it be God? After all, in the past, there were 10 plagues and the parting of the Red Sea to get us away from Egypt. There was that time when the wall around the city of Jericho fell down so that Israel could just rush in and take it. There was that time that an angel entered the camp of the Assyrians and killed 185,000 of them. What will it be this time, God?
“To us, a child is born.”
It’s another baby picture, of Jesus, 700 years before He was born. And this time, He’s not a rock, He’s not a snake handler, He’s not a mediator, He’s…a baby. God’s help was going to be…
Small at the Start
I wonder if this was a letdown for the people of Israel when Isaiah delivered it.
No more gloom…honor… a great light... a light has dawned… enlarged the nation and increased their joy…
Better days were coming. I just doubt they expected a little baby to be the reason for it.
Ask anyone, even little children, and they can tell you that Christmas is about the birth of a baby. God’s message of help, delivered through Isaiah, started with a child.
Jesus was born a little baby. He had to learn to talk, to walk, to eat, to go through all the things that other little babies go through.
Somewhere in the world of wistful non-reality there’s this little baby born with a glowing ring of light over his head. He doesn’t cry. He somehow forms the sign of the cross with his hand, and he injects profound wisdom into every situation, before he’s a month old! And by that time, he’s probably wearing a little white robe with a blue sash across it too! Oh, come on!
Luke records that Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man (end of Lk 2). Let’s believe that, OK? Jesus wasn’t born with instant maturity. He was a little baby Who cried, Who had to learn things just like all of us did, and I’ll bet you that some of that was pretty funny to watch, just like it is for us! He started out small.
When we look at the scene around the manger, we’re looking at how life in Jesus works. It’s small at the start, and not yet what it will be!
Jesus taught that life in His Kingdom is very much like that.
It starts out small. He compared it to a mustard seed, which is very small, but which a farmer planted, and it grew into a tree big enough that birds came and sat in its branches.
He compared it to a little bit of yeast, which a lady took and mixed into a several measures of flour, and it made a whole batch of dough rise.
It starts out small and seems insignificant, but it grows.
So to us, a child is born. He looks small and insignificant, but He’s not yet what He will be.
All around the room this morning are people who are works in progress – some more than others! Just like a seed that grows and is nurtured into a big plant, some people are at different stages than others. What makes the difference is time and whether or not that growth is being nurtured.
Did you see the baby pictures before services today? There are a couple people there whose pictures you may have been able to guess. But that’s it. For the most, you don’t look like you used to when you were a baby. You’re not supposed to. You’re supposed to grow up.
That’s how life in Jesus is. With time, you’re supposed to grow up, and keep growing up.