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Celebrate Christmas

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Celebrate Christmas!

Luke 2:8 through Luke 2:20 (NIV)

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14        “Glory to God in the highest,

        and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Introduction:

Just a few days before Christmas two ladies stood looking into a department store window at a large display of the manger scene with clay figures of the baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, and the animals. Disgustedly, one lady said, “Look at that, the church trying to horn in on Christmas!”

 

 

I.         Celebrate the Birth of the Messiah

A.      The Messiah Foreshadowed by David

                        A shepherd boy / A babe in a manger

                        Anointed king as a boy/ Announced king as a babe

B.      The Messiah Foretold by Prophets

- The chances that any one person would fulfill all the messianic prophesies is astronomical. Jesus fulfills the prophecies to the letter.  Jesus was born of a virgin, as the prophet Isaiah foretold “that the virgin will give birth to a child, and He shall be called Immanuel.” The genealogies tell us that He fulfills the promise to David, that his will be an eternal Kingdom. Jesus fulfills all the prophecies, even the miraculous. It had to be Him, because only God could meet the demands he had set up for himself, He had set up an incredible scenario, that only God could fulfill, but isn’t that precisely the point?

C.      The Messiah For All People

                          "On the planet earth there are many kinds of people.  But in

God's sight there are only two kinds.  Not rich or poor, old or

young, tall or short, fat or thin, black or white -- only saved

or lost.  In God's Kingdom the mighty and the humble join hands

when all of them become the children of God.”[1]

II.       Celebrate the Work of the Messiah

A.      He Elevates Our Vision

-Jesus Christ is the ultimate doxology as He gives glory to God in a way that speaks God’s glory back to Him. In His doing so, He lifts our gaze upward to the heights. He did this by coming from the heights, and descending to earth. By his descent, comes our ascent.

   St. Ireneaus expresses it beautifully when he points out that it was "our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through his transcendent love, become what we are, that he might bring us to be even what He is Himself."

B.      He Ends our Captivity

* "If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator.  If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.  If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist.  But since our greatest need was deliverance from the captivating penalty and power of sin, God sent us a Savior."

C.      He Establishes Peace

*Two painters were asked to paint a picture illustrating peace. The first painted a beautiful evening scene in the foreground of which was a lake, its surface absolutely calm and unruffled. Trees surrounded it, meadows stretched away to the distant cattle gently browsing; a little cottage, the setting sun-all spoke of perfect rest. The second painter drew a wild, stormy scene. Heavy black clouds hung overhead; in the center of the picture an immense waterfall poured forth huge volumes of water covered with foam. One could almost hear its unceasing roar, yet perhaps the first thing to strike the eye was a small bird, perched in a cleft of a huge rock, absolutely sheltered from all danger, pouring forth its sweet notes of joy. It is the second painter who could describe the peace that passeth all understanding which is the Lord Jesus Christ, the wisdom of God in the heart of the redeemed. One can only have peace with himself if he has peace with God.

                       

III.     Celebrate the News of the Messiah

A.      News to be Trusted

- A Reliable Source, the story confirmed, and the truth established. The story can now be told.

- The Shepherds did not doubt the reliability of the news they had been given, but went to see it, not out of doubt, but out of wonder. They said “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

                       

B.      News to be Treasured

                        *"The Gospel is the greatest story ever told, about the greatest

                        offer ever made, by the greatest person who ever lived."[2]

C.      News to be Told

                        *Enthusiasm is contagious - and so is the lack of it

                        - We have become too much like the newspaper industry. We are                             quick to publish bad news, but when it comes to the greatest story                            ever told, we clam up. We bear GOOD NEWS, of GREAT JOY                          for ALL PEOPLE

 

Conclusion: Let us celebrate the great news of our King and savior given to us. Let us celebrate the day of His birth. Let us celebrate His work, because he came to lift us up on high, and deliver us from the hand of the destroyer. Let us Celebrate the great News we have been given. What better way to celebrate than to share the news. Real celebration comes naturally. It is not worked up. When we come to realize the good news of great joy that comes to us individually, we will quite naturally bubble up with excitement as these shepherds did, and share it with everyone, even all people.


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[1]      - Zig Ziglar

[2] - D. J. Kennedy

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