Summary: Psalm 24 leads us to a correct understanding of whose birthday we celebrate on December 25.
“Whose birthday is it, anyway?” A few Christmases ago the Board of Evangelism and I selected a mailer that showed both a picture of Jesus and a picture of Santa and asked the question in big bold print, “Whose birthday is it, anyway?” Underneath that caption it when on to declare, “We believe the important news at Christmas is not who comes down the chimney, but who came down from heaven. We invite you to come and join us as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.” Obviously the intent of that flyer was to make the reader think about his or her celebration of Christmas. Perhaps the reader would be led to see how his or her celebration of Christmas had gotten off track over the years. It was also somewhat of a sarcastic reflection on the typical Christmas celebration in our country.
“Whose birthday is it, anyway?” All of us would emphatically answer that question. We would say without hesitation, “Christmas is Jesus’ birthday!” But does that simple answer convey the awesomeness of Christmas? To make it clear to ourselves and others that the birthday celebration we will have on December 25 is more than a choice between Santa and Jesus we need to answer the question “Whose birthday is it, anyway?” more thoroughly and very carefully.
The Word of God that will lead us to several answers to that question is our Psalm for this morning. Please direct your attention to the insert in the worship folder where you will find the verses of the Psalm printed as well as an outline of the thoughts that we will explore together. (Read Psalm 24.) Fellow believers who have been invited to a birthday party unlike any other, let’s look for answers to the question:
WHOSE BIRTHDAY IS IT, ANYWAY?
I. It is the birthday of our Creator
II. It is the birthday of our Savior
III. It is the birthday of our King
A lot of ink has been put to paper by pastor’s and Bible students speculating about Psalm 24. For what occasion did the Holy Spirit move King David to write this Psalm? What was its purpose? Some have said that Psalm 24 was composed for the time that David brought the Ark of the Covenant out of storage at the house of Obed-edom and took it to the capital city of Jerusalem. The Psalm does fit that context. The people of Israel would have been welcoming a visible symbol of God’s presence. The words of this Psalm could fit such a celebration. On the other hand, perhaps the Holy Spirit prompted David to author this Psalm simply to encourage his people to welcome God at their worship and into their hearts and lives.
Although their original purpose is unclear thousands of years later these words still speak to the people of God. They take on a special meaning for us during Advent. We are preparing to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. This Psalm tells us about the guest of honor. He is the our Creator, our Savior, and our King.
Verses 1-2 of Psalm 24 begin to answer our question about Christmas. Whose birthday is it, anyway? “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.” Christmas is the birthday of the one who created the world. It is the birthday of our creator.
Our reaction to this news might be similar to the reaction that Mary had to the angel’s message. It seems impossible. How can the same God who created the world have a human body? Logical minds will ask, “Is Christmas really the birth of our Creator”? Although it appears to be an impossibility nothing is impossible with God.
Listen to what the Bible says about Jesus’ participation in the work of creation. John 1:3 tells us, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” In Colossians 1:1516 the Apostle Paul declared, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” Hebrews 1:2 connects Jesus to creation by saying that he was the one God the Father, “appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” Yes, the little baby who had a manger for his crib created the wood out of which that manger was made. He created the straw for the animals in whose who he was born. He even created the womb in which he spent nine months. Unbelievable! Awesome! Amazing! Whose birthday is it, anyway? Shout it from the rooftops, “Christmas is the birthday of our creator!”