Summary: What do you think about when you think of Christmas? What words pop into your mind? Home? Family? Gifts? Crowds? Jesus? Food? Santa Claus? All of these, & more, I imagine! (PowerPoints available - #195)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #195.)
Why does Christmas seem to be so much more important than all the other holidays of the year? Why is so much attention given to Christmas?
Mother's Day, Father's Day, 4th of July are important holidays, but put them all together & they don't begin to make the impact that Christmas does.
What is so very special about Christmas? What is it about Christmas that seems to bring about such a transformation in our communities, our homes, & even in the lives of so many people?
Then again, what do you think about when you think of Christmas? What words pop into your mind? Home? Family? Gifts? Crowds? Jesus? Food? Santa Claus? All of these, & more, I imagine!
This morning as we look at the beautiful & familiar passages of the Christmas story as recorded by both Matthew & Luke, I want to suggest three more words for us to think about.
The first one is the word "purity." Listen carefully to what Matthew says in Matthew 1:18 25. "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
“Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man & did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream & said,
‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, & you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’
"All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child & will give birth to a son, & they will call Him Immanuel’ which means, ‘God with us.’
"When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him & took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus."
A. Notice Joseph. He is called a righteous man, one who is all right with God. Out of his mouth comes words of truth & integrity. Here is Joseph, the epitome of what men ought to be, an example for us all.
ILL. Now contrast Joseph to some of the celebrities that are so well known today movie stars, sport stars, & some politicians. They are everything that Joseph is not, & Joseph is everything that they are not. Many of today’s celebrities seem willing to do anything to get what they want.
Somehow, it seems that our world teaches that to enjoy life we must be more like them than like Joseph. But Christmas comes to say that it is all right to be pure & that there is joy in being righteous.
Do you suppose that Joseph & Mary were in love with each other when they were teen agers? We don’t know. The Bible doesn’t say. But if they were, can you imagine them dreaming dreams of sharing their lives with each other & growing old together & experiencing all the joys that would come their way?
Then one day Joseph heard that Mary was expecting a child. All of his dreams came crashing down. He knew that it wasn't his child, so the only logical conclusion was that Mary had betrayed his love & given herself to another.
Yet, despite that, Joseph's righteous character shines out because he was not willing for Mary to be disgraced publicly. In those days whenever you were engaged it took an act of divorce to dissolve the engagement, & he decided to divorce her privately & not to embarrass her. He really cared about her!
But after the angel revealed to him that which was in her womb was of the Holy Spirit then Joseph did what the angel said, & took her to be his wife & cared for her.
In Matthew 1:23 Matthew quotes the words of Isaiah the prophet, "The virgin will be with child & will give birth to a son." Then in vs. 25 Matthew adds that "Joseph kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a son."
B. When you think of Mary you think of purity. Here is Mary, probably a teen ager among many other teenage girls. There must have been many temptations.