Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: When Christ was born, he was not visited by nobility, but rather, those considered the most vile and lowly in the society of their day.

Luke 2

Christ Born of Mary

The Birth and Childhood of Jesus

(1) 1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Glory in the Highest

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And behold,an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14"Glory to God in the highest,

And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"[3]

15So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." 16And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17Now when they had seen Him, they made widely[4] known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. --NKJV

Prince William made People Magazine’s list of the most beautiful people alive in 2001. When he was born at 9.03pm on June 21, 1982, at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, in London, a press release announced to the world that that the new prince weighed 7lb 1 1/2oz.

He was introduced to the world with a herald shouting: "Hear ye, hear ye...the Princess of Wales has given birth to a son". As Charles and Diana were leaving the hospital, cameramen shouted: "Diana, let us see your baby!”

In June 2000, Prince William made world news when he celebrated his 18th birthday, and in June 2003 he made world news again when he celebrated His 21st birthday. The British Royal Mail in anticipation of the excitement over the Prince’s 21st birthday printed 20 million stamps with his likeness.

Of course, there are many differences we see between the arrival of Prince William and Jesus Christ into the world. The one thing they do share in common is that they were both born royalty. Certainly Jesus came into this world as God Incarnate, but through his line of Mary he was a descendent of King David. Here the similarities between the two end.

While the world knows the birthday of Prince William, we don’t actually know the birthday of Jesus. Prior to the celebration of Christmas, December 25th in the Roman world was a pagan holiday known as the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun.

This feast, occurring after winter solstice, honored the Persian sun god, Mithras, who was widely worshipped throughout the empire. Another pagan celebration coincided with the Mithraic holiday, a feast honoring Saturnalia, the god of sowing and husbandry.

Since this feast was so popular in the empire, Constantine chose to reupholster it in Christian trappings to make Christianity more palatable to his subjects. Even when Christmas was first introduced as a holiday it seems that most celebrants observed it for cultural reasons.

Most commentators agree that it is unlikely that Jesus was born on December 25th because the shepherds would not be out watching their flocks in the dead of winter. It can quite cold in Israel during winter. This past February Israel was hit with a heavy snowfall.

It was reported that more than 25 centimeters fell, isolating Jerusalem from the rest of the country and shutting down road traffic. I am not saying that it snowed on December 25th the year Christ was born, but it certainly could have.

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