Summary: A Christmas Eve message talking about our need of unwrapping the wonderful gift of God's Son, Jesus Christ.
It’s only a couple of hours before Christmas, and besides all the hustle and bustle that surrounds this time, despite the rude drivers on the road and the harried sales clerks, most everyone enjoys this time of year, especially the preparations and decorations.
We enjoy this time of year, and the warm feelings and ambience that comes with it. There is a joy in Christmas and rightly so. The advertisers have done a great job packaging it all up for us. They wrap it in euphemisms like, “Peace on Earth,” “We wish you a Merry Christmas,” and my favorite, “The joy of giving,” which more accurately means, the joy of spending your money on our product.
However, what I’ve found sad about this time is how we’ve packaged up God in the process. We’ve wrapped Him up in fancy paper and tied Him up in colorful ribbons and fancy bows.
But that is not the way Jesus came. Jesus didn’t come packaged in Christmas finery.
But if we look at how Christmas is celebrated today we’d think that Jesus’ birth was one big party with tinsel, glitter, and confetti strewn about. We’d think that there were all these twinkling lights and beautiful wrapped gifts to celebrate this glorious event.
But if we look underneath all these decorations, and TV specials, we’d find a baby dressed in nothing but his birthday suit, wrapped in clothes of poverty.
This is a reality I believe many try to hide behind all the Christmas finery and decorations, because the idea that God would come in such away is just to incredible to consider.
This is the last way we’d expect God to come. We expect God to hit the earth running, not cooing. We think He’d come as an emperor with wealth and power. Having it televised around the world, maybe even a pay-for-view special having heads of state, presidents, and royalty there to acknowledge His presence among the people He created.
At the very least we’d expect Him to be sporting His own line of clothing, kind of like, “You too can pamper your baby just like God with our royal line of disposable diapers.”
But the idea that God came as a common person is just too much to comprehend, and not just as a man, but as a baby no less.
• And then He came to the Jews, who were a stiff-necked and stubborn people according to God, and who at this time were a conquered people.
• He was born to a dirt-poor couple, in a stinking stable with a whole bunch of animals.
• He was wrapped in a simple coarse home-spun diaper that was probably a little drafty, and laid in a feeding trough with animal saliva and partially chewed food.
This is not the picture people want to see, so they’ve sanitized it through a beautiful nativity scene.
It was from this humble beginning that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the 2nd person of the Godhead, began to grow.
• He grew up in relative obscurity as a carpenter’s son, not in a palace with all its scented waters, soft clothing, and comfortable surroundings.
• He grew up in a small single room home in the backwater town of Nazareth. Phillip said, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
• He grew up learning the blue-collar trade of carpentry.
o His hands weren’t soft, but hardened and calloused.
o His skin didn’t glisten with the finest of oils, but from sweat and lined with the effects of working in the sun and wind all day long, and
o His clothes were not silks from Persia, but the rough homespun worn by lower middle class workers.
And the question is, “Why?”
The answer is simple, so He could identify with all of us, so we can come to Him knowing that He understands our plights, trials, doubts, and anxieties. He experienced all the same emotions that we go through.
Of Jesus it says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15 NIV)
Jesus is therefore not so removed from our difficulties that He doesn’t understand. He’s been there and done that, yet without sin so He can relate to us right were we are, and we can relate to Him.
Jesus came that night in Bethlehem to be God’s perfect sacrifice. John the Baptist said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NKJV)
Jesus was that perfect sacrificial lamb as the prophet Isaiah foretold.
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth … He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:7, 12b NKJV)