Christmas Eve: The Start of Something Great
The Start of Something Great?
The Start of Something Great?
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
I could only imagine that if this was to happen today they’d end op on Jerry Sp ringer or the Murray Povich show! I can imagine Joseph on the stage saying “that's not my kid”,,, Murray would open up the envelop… “in the Case of Mary’s child.... Joseph, you...”
and that where it gets complicated.... good thing God didn’t choose today for Jesus’ birth!
Most of you have only just met me… I’ve really only been coming for a few weeks. My family and I have been blessed so far by being here and it’s an honour to be asked to preach on Christmas eve, so even though he can’t here it. Thank Jeremy!
My wife Jolene and I have been in ministry together for over 10 years on and off and one thing that you will learn about us, is we LOVE young people. we’re passionate about them, we love being involved in their lives and seeing them blossom from Spiritual Children to matured Christians, plugged into our Christian community, on fire and ready to take on the world! there is something about those young years (especially the teenage years) that can really make or break a persons spiritual journey and Jolene and I have been truely blessed to see time and time again young people come into the fullness of their callings in Christ!
I’m still pretty young (I think) so it’s with the lens of youth that I often look at the Bible, and it’s that lens that I want to look at the Christmas story through...
It’s funny that when God wants to change the world he so often chooses young people and Mary and Joseph were no exceptions… by most accounts Mary would have been a young teenager, and Joseph not much older. and As they are about to get married, the get the h-bomb of all news dropped right on them. Marry Is pregnant!
So think about this for a moment… You know upon hearing this that everyone around it going to assume one of 2 things
1)Mary is impure and has been sleeping around, or worse
2) Mary and Joseph had gotten together before their wedding
Both senarios would be DEEPLY embarrasing to Him, to her, to their families
Talk about how when Isaac was conceived everyone around was doing the math
And think about it, that sort of thing was WAY more tabboo then than it is now!
And so it’s no surprise that Joseph wanted to put her away quietly (that is he was going to marry her and then divorcer here quietly afterwards)… you’ll also notice that Joseph still married her (what a good man!).
But I want you to think about this for a moment… See, Joseph didn’t have to put her away quietly… The Bible says he didn’t want to make a public example of her, and sometimes we gloss over that part, but Mary and Joseph were not Christians, they were Jewish, and the Jews had some real strict laws about such things.... IF you read Deuteronomy 22:23-24
“If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor’s wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you.
SO Joseph had the law on his side… in fact the RULES told him exactly what he should do.... but you know… leave it to a young guy to not follow the rules… cause lets be honest.... he was young, and in love! and a young man in love will ignore all the rules… Maybe this is one of the reasons that God chooses young people so often… we just don’t follow the rule! and in this case it’s a good thing too. But he was still hurt… after all his wife to be Had apparently cheated on him, so he intended to simply quietly divorce her.... no one would have blamed him, right? and that’s why God had to send a messenger to set the record straight.
So all is well, Joseph keeps his wife to be, there’s no divorce and for a time they go about the business of preparing for a baby… painting his room, making his crib (Joseph was a carpenter), reading all the scary momma blogs, getting all the “baby stuff” and making sure the house is baby proof… I imagine the whole scene was probably like Father of the bride 2! who remember that movie?
And then Caesar the Roman Emperor makes life interesting again. in Luke 2:1-5
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph 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, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
And I want to highlight that This is another part of the story that really requires young people, because the trip from Galilee to Bethlehem is no a short walk down to the supermarket Bethlehem was a 160km hike… so let me ask the women here… of those who have been pregnant before… which of you would have chosen to take a 8-10 day wilderness hike while you were 9 months pregnant?
Well these young kids did…!
I think most of us by the time we reach our 30’s or so probably would have heard that decree and said “Ya, right!” I mean what we’re talking about here is the mother of long form census’s right? we would have skipped it, but Mary and Joseph did it, and they did it just before she was to give birth!
Story about Jolene doing Drumhellar 3 day to due.
I guess my point is… could you imagine what this story would have been like… if Mary and Joseph had been in their 30’s or 40’s?
But lets continue on through this birth story and I want to finish off by looking at Jesus First Distinguished Guests. Matthew 2:9-12
When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
Firstly.. you know what this is right?
It’s the first ever recorded secret Santa!
But this was gift giving with a purpose. To honour their Son as King and Priest.
Now it’s important to note off the Bat that Contrary to the way we rehearse it year after year.. the Wisemen (or magi) didn’t actually come to see a Baby Jesus, but instead had been following the “New Star” in the sky for a few years… this means that Jesus was probably a Toddler by the time they found him, and the bestow upon him 3 significant gifts and they’re significant for several reasons… but I want to look at these young people, so think about this… you’re dealing with diapers and learning to walk, you’ve been through the crazy pregnancy and birth experience.. and things are just starting to settle down, and suddenly there’s a stir in the town as this caravan enters, and honestly for the time this wouldn’t have been an uncommon thing, but instead of heading down the main road and out of town, the turn off and stop at the house of Mary and Joseph!
Now this in itself would be the equivalent of getting the golden buzzer on Americas got talent. a Visit from a wise-man or Magi was something that would have been reserved only for kings, priests and other Royalty… but then to be given gifts… and we’re not talking a small box of each like we saw in the play last week (who else loved those little kids!)… you have to understand that What happened this day would be like you or I winning the lottery!
And it’s a good thing that they did because right in the midst of what would have been an amazing scene (a whole caravan of people coming to worship your child?!) we see in Matthew 2:13-14
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,
I’m not gonna lie… When I read through this I’m kinda getting exhausted for them!… The Christmas story is one what needed Young people because this would have been a trip of about 700kms! (about the distance from here to Seattle) now at this point most of us would have for sure just settled in Egypt… But Mary and Joseph made the trip back too!
Who’s ever travel with a young child before? I have and you have to deal with all that boredom… the are were there yet? the don’t touch that, don’t run off… etc..
Let no one despise your youth
Let no one despise your youth
So As I bring this to a close, I want to leave you with a though about our youth, the young people of not only this church, or community but youth in general. because we have this tendancy to think and feel that the generation after us is worse off then we were. we get stuck int he “back in my day” syndrome....
you know : Back in my day we....
Back in my day we didn’t___
or back in my day things were better...
We didn’t have these crimes, or these problems… we weren't lazy like they are, we worked harder then they do.
and don’t feel too bad, because we’ve been doing that since the dawn of time… But I want you to think about this .. virtually every time God wants to make a major change to the wold. he chooses someone young… he chooses a Joshua, or a David.... he chooses a Samuel or a Mary. and he says to us
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
This is our task to teach young people to be examples to the world, in Conduct, in love, in sprit, and in purity
and don’t get me wrong… especially in this world we have an up hill battle, but its our job non the less
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
and that is the truth of the matter right there… It’s our job to rain our young people. to show them the things that they should do and shouldn’t do. to teach them right from wrong. to teach them that there IS a right and wrong (because so many believe that right and wrong are subjective.)
and why is this so important?
It’s important because when God looks to see who the next Mary is going to be… the next Joshua, or David… or Ruth… we want to make sure that we have brought them up in the right spirit, with truth and righteousness in them.
This Christmas… as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and what his life led to. let also give a thought to the young people that we are growing up in his name, to reflect His character and Spirit!
Call for all those 18 and under.
Let’s pray for our youth today...