Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Part 1 of "Christmas UN:wrapped" When God calls us to the unexpected we can respond with fear and doubt or we can trust and obey.

THE POINT: When God calls us to the unexpected we can respond with fear and doubt or we can trust and obey.


I don’t know about you, but I LOVE CHRISTMAS… I love the Christmas season, I love the sights, the sounds, the smells associated with Christmas…

I hate winter and I hate snow…except during the Christmas season….

Christmas, for me is filled with great memories, great traditions and genuine spiritual significance.

But sometimes Christmas – the REAL Christmas – gets lost in everything that surrounds the holiday. So this year, we’re going to look at “Christmas Unwrapped”

Christmas Unwrapped…what is this all about, what does it mean?

Have you ever had something that was wrapped up…and in the wrapping you assumed it was one thing, but after it was unwrapped you saw it for what it really was…

(Maybe someone reused the DVD box… and you got an encyclopeda…)

…sometimes it was a disappointment (Jelly of the month club)

…sometimes it was SO MUCH BETTER than you could have imagined (need illustration)


Often we “wrap Christmas up” and decorate it with our memories and our expectations

• Carols

• Lights & Trees

• Shiny presents wrapped up neatly

• Stockings hung by the chimney

• Snow & Main Street

• Memories of our childhood (A Christmas Story)

• The crèche, with sheep & cows, shepherds, wise men, a drummer boy and a diaper clad angel hanging out over the whole scene

For some of us Christmas is so beautifully wrapped up in our memories and expectations that we never open it. We don’t want to disturb the beauty of the wrapping and so we miss the true gift that is found underneath all of the wrapping that we have placed around Christmas.

For others of us Christmas ISN’T wrapped beautifully. Perhaps Christmas carries painful memories. Christmas has pain associated with it. Perhaps the trappings of Christmas have been a bother to you but you too have wrapped up Christmas with your own expectations. And the wrapping you have placed on Christmas is so painful, so distasteful, so ugly that you never truly unwrap Christmas either.

Whichever the case, we wrap up Christmas and, unfortunately, the reality of Christmas is often lost in all of the wrapping, the decorations, the business, the disappointment, the expectations…

…so this year I want us to take some time to look at Christmas UNWRAPPED. Let’s look at what really took place. The human drama, the plan of God as it unfolds, the amazing story of GOD BECOMING A MAN and the faith of ordinary people that was required to see God’s plan realized…

Open you Bibles to Luke 1:26. If you don’t have a Bible with you this morning, raise your hands and our ushers will make sure you get one so you can follow along.

[Ushers hand out Bibles to those who need them]


Now, WE are familiar with the whole story…we know how it starts and how it ends… but for those living it…this was new, this was startling… this was UNEXPECTED… They probably knew the OT prophecies, they knew the stories of God’s plan for redemption, but they didn’t expect to find themselves as central characters in that story.

For Mary and Joseph… this whole thing was rather UNEXPECTED!

And let’s be honest, most of us don’t do well with the unexpected. Like I said, I love the Christmas holidays, but I like them because of the consistency. The same carols sung every year… Bing Crosby crooning from the stereo… The same tree put up in the same spot with the same decorations year after year… It’s all predictable. It’s EXPECTED. And because it is expected and predictable it is comfortable…

How do you do with the UNEXPECTED?

Some of you do great… others, not so well… and still others would say that it depends on what the unexpected was…

… unexpected income – GREAT!

…unexpected cancer – NOT GREAT!

…unexpected child – DEPENDS!

Watch this clip as we dive into the UNEXPECTED…

[Video Clip]

Ladies, imagine Mary were a teen girl today who received this news. Imagine you were her mother… how do you deal with that. Imagine YOU were that teen girl… How would you handle this UNEXPECTED news?

Guys, What if you were her dad or her fiancé? How would YOU handle this UNEXPECTED situation?

We’ve heard it said that “God works in mysterious ways.” We could also say that “God works in UNEXPECTED ways.” So let me ask a question, “If we don’t handle the unexpected so well; If we try to limit the unexpected, do we limit God in our lives?”

Let’s look at the beginning of Mary’s story… a story of the UNEXPECTED. As we do, I want you to walk away from this story today with one thought…

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