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Making the Christmas Connection: The Christmas Story

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Making the Christmas Connection

 

The Christmas Story

 

 

The Significance of the Christmas Story…

 

Part 1: A story of faith

 

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

Luke 1:38 NIV

 

            Principle #1: Submit to God’s plan for your life

 

 

Part 2: A story of courage

 

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and 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.

Matt 1:24-25 NIV

 

            Principle #2: Live for the Audience of One

 

 

Part 3: A story of love

 

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:4-7 NIV

 

            Principle #3 Realize you are part of God’s love story

 

 

 

Making the Christmas Connection:

The Christmas story points to Christ the Savior. Will you trust Him? Will you live for Him? Do you love Him?


 

Intro:

Christmas…what a wonderful time of year!!

Making the Christmas Connection Series…

·    The Christmas Sign

 

·    The Christmas Song

Today, the Christmas Story…

It is interesting to hear the Christmas Story from the perspective of a child…

Watch this…

[Christmas 101 Video…]

It is interesting how they pieced the Christmas Story together…from memory…(examples...)

Today I want to take some time to piece together the Christmas Story from the Bible.

The Christmas story is found in Matt Chapter 1 and Luke Chapters 1&2.

In order to make the Christmas connection we need to know the Christmas Story.

A lot can be said about the Christmas Story…but today I want to focus on 3 significant parts of the Christmas Story.

As we do we will see the Significance of the Christmas story for our lives this Christmas.

Let’s begin with the first part of the Christmas Story…


The Significance of the Christmas Story…It is…

Part 1: A story of faith

Mary’s part in the Christmas story can be summarized with one word: faith.

In Luke Chapter 1 we read that the angel Gabriel announces to Mary had been chosen to give birth to Jesus the Messiah…

Imagine Mary’s surprise when she is told of her the assignment as Jesus’ earthly mother.

Notice Lk 1:34

"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

Luke 1:34 NIV


All of this was astonishing news.

Mary was told that she would fall pregnant and give birth to a son who would have deity in his bloodline and who would one day be king of Israel.

Mary asked the angel how this could possibly take place, since she was a virgin.

Literally, what she said was “since a man I know not,” or “since I have no sexual relationship with a man?”

Mary’s question was not one of unbelief!

She believed what she was told.

She didn’t even ask for some kind of confirmation, as Zechariah had.

She simply didn’t understand how she could possibly become pregnant.

She did not laugh, as Sarah had laughed when she was told she was going to bear a son.

She did not dismiss the angel’s words.

She simply asked for clarification about something she believed was going to happen.

Lk 1:35-37…
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
With quiet faith Mary accepted the angel’s explanation and submitted herself to the Lord.

Lk 1:38…

38 "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

Luke 1:38 NIV

 

Knowing the enormous price she was about to pay, Mary surrendered herself first to the Lord and then to His plan.

Notice that although we have made much of the cost to Mary, she says not a word of it!

She said, “I am the Lord’s servant.”

Servant: doulē: [doo'-lay]

THE WORD MEANS...

A slave girl; a handmaid; a female servant; a bondslave.

Practical Application:

Mary was saying that she was a bondslave, willing to sell herself out completely to God.

She would possess herself no longer but would give herself completely to God.

There’s a wonderfully childlike aspect to her faith.

Near the beginning of 2005, Chinese officials from the Public Security Bureau burst into a Sunday school room at a local church.

They found 30 children inside and herded them into a van.

Despite the scary situation, one child started to sing. In a few moments, the van was filled with song.

Upon arrival at the police station, the children marched bravely into the interrogation room, still singing to the Lord.

The Chinese officers attempted to force the children to write, "I do not believe in Jesus," telling them that they had to write it 100 times before they would be released.

Instead of obeying, the children wrote: "I believe in Jesus today. I will believe in Jesus tomorrow. I will believe in Jesus forever!"

Exasperated, the officials called the children's parents, some of whom did deny Christ.

However, one widowed believer absolutely refused to deny Jesus when she came to pick up her twin sons.

The officers threatened her, saying, "If you do not deny Jesus, we will not release your sons."

The widow replied, "Well, I guess you will just have to keep them, because without Jesus, there would be no way for me to take care of them!"

With no avenues left open to them, the officials said, "Take your sons and go!"

Childlike faith is expressed when we can truthfully say in any situation or circumstance:

"I believe in Jesus today. I will believe in Jesus tomorrow. I will believe in Jesus forever!"

Mary possessed a childlike faith…

With absolute trust Mary bows herself to the will of God and declares herself to be His servant.

Her words must have brought great joy to the heart of God.

He has always longed for His people to give themselves so unreservedly to Him.

Mary also surrendered herself to the Lord’s plan for her life, as costly as it was going to be: “May it be to me as you have said.”

Regardless of the consequences…“May it be to me as you have said.”

You see, Mary understood the issue of faith…conviction to stand up for Christ

Do you?  What is faith????

·    Faith is not: A blind leap

 

We respond to a faithful God…a firm foundation

·    Faith is not: A blank check

It is not about telling God what to do…He is not a cosmic genie waiting to grant our 3 wishes

 

·    Faith is not: A bad choice

We respond to a loving God

 

·    Faith is: a bold conviction

Faith is the deep settled assurance the God will do what he promises to do!

When we have that bold conviction…we will submit our lives to God’s plan for our lives.

What is God’s plan for our lives?

Just like Mary…God’s plan for our lives centers on the person of Jesus Christ

·    To be saved…accept Him as our Savior

·    To serve Him..

·    To share Him with others…

Have you submitted to God’s plan for your life?

If not, why not?

Mary teaches us this principle:

·    Principle #1: Submit to God’s plan for your life

Mary would submit herself to the Lord even though she didn’t understand it all.

The Significance of the Christmas Story…it is…

Part 1: A story of faith


The Significance of the Christmas Story…It is…

Part 2: A story of courage

Joseph’s part in the Christmas story can be summarized with one word: courage.

From Joseph’s example we learn about living a life of courage… even when we are faced with the most difficult challenges…

Matt 1:18 -19 records Joseph’s challenge:

18 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. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

Have you ever been at a place in your life where you asked the question: God what is going on? What are you doing to me?

Who hasn’t felt that way?

We have all been there where it seems like everything we had ever hoped for has suddenly disappeared…and you can’t make sense out of your circumstances.

You feel like your dreams and hopes for life just came crashing down.

Well that is where Joseph was…obviously confused and no doubt crushed by what was happening to him.

When Joseph learned that Mary was pregnant…the news floored him.

Why?

Because he was engaged to her…and he knew that he had not been with her…that he couldn’t possibly be the father.

There was only one logical conclusion…Mary had been unfaithful to him.

You talk about a huge problem!!

 

Problems…some you have some problems this Christmas…(I see no way out of this)

Your problem…

·    Financial problem

·    Relational problem

·    Spiritual problem

·    Vocational problem

Your solution…

·    trying not to think about it…

·    feeling sorry for yourself

·    hoping it will go away

·    taking it out on somebody else

What do you do? (great question)

Notice what Joseph did…

After God spoke to him in a dream notice what Joseph’s did…

Matt 1:24-25 says…

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Matt 1:24-25

Here we find Joseph putting feet to his faith.

Look at the action words in vv. 24-25:

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Matt 1:24-25

Joseph had the courage to act on what God told him.

Here is what we need to learn from Joseph…courageous obedience.

If we say we believe in God and yet our behavior says something else…we are not living by faith.

Joseph had to make a courageous decision.

He had to take for his wife a woman who was not bearing his child and, in so doing, share in the unjust shame that was heaped upon her.

He would be also undertaking to provide for the child and function in a fatherly role as he raised him.

But Joseph did what the angel commanded him.

Joseph’s courageous faith in God was what enabled him to overcome the stigma of becoming the husband of Mary and to accept the responsibility of the child.


Joseph will always be remembered as a man of courage because he was willing to act on what he heard God telling him to do…despite the ridicule.

He didn’t make his decision based on what will others think of me…

 

After God spoke to him in a dream  Joseph’s…

 

Faced his problem with courage and conviction and followed God and trusted Him

Courage comes from this conviction:

I am going to live for the Audience of One!!!

 

·    Principle #2: Live for the Audience of One

Approval Addicts…

People Pleasers….

…OR…I am going to live for the Audience of One!!!

The Significance of the Christmas Story…it is

Part 2: A story of courage

 

The Significance of the Christmas Story…It is…

Part 3: A story of love

God’s part in the Christmas story can be summarized with one word: love.

We see that as we look at Luke 2:4-7,

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:4-7 NIV

Because of the Christmas story…some people think a manger is a nice little bassinet with a soft bottom and frilly ribbons.

Not so…a manger was nothing but a common feed trough for cattle and other livestock.

It was a crudely constructed piece of barn furniture.

In Nativity scenes the manger often appears as a little box that looks inviting and warm…a good place to lay a baby.

Instead, it was probably long, narrow, and smelly from sloppy animals that had eaten out of it.

Think about it?

God humbled himself…by coming into this world as a baby in a dirty filthy manger…

Why did He do it?

1 John 4:9-10 says…

9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

(from New Living Translation)

God humbled himself…by coming into this world as a baby in a dirty filthy manger…

Why did He do it?

He did it for you!!!

There is an amazing truth here: God initiated the relationship with us!

That is the exact opposite of what religion teaches!

Religion starts with the assumption that we must initiate the relationship with God.

Religion tells me that I must improve myself until I have earned the love of God.

But the opposite is true!

Think through these two statements carefully:

· God loves you and there is nothing you can do to make Him love you more.


· God loves you and there is nothing you can do to make Him love you less.
You cannot persuade God to love you more because His love is absolute.

And although God hates sin, His love for us sinners is so absolute that He sent his one and only Son to die for us while we were yet sinners.

God loves us…and He demonstrated it once and for all.

He came to a manger for you…

 

We see Joseph and Mary’s part of the greatest love story of all…(unpack from passage)

But do you realize you are part of the greatest love story of all…

You are the recipient of God’s great love…

John 3:16 was written for you…

16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 NIV

 

·    Principle #3: Realize your part of God’s love story

You are the recipient of God’s great love…

He came all the way from heaven for you


An African boy listened carefully as his teacher explained why Christians give presents to each other on Christmas day.

"The gift is an expression of our joy over the birth of Jesus and our friendship for each other," she said.

When Christmas day came, the boy brought the teacher a seashell of lustrous beauty.

"Where did you ever find such a beautiful shell?" the teacher asked.

The youth told her that there was only one spot where such extraordinary shells could be found.

When he named the place, a certain bay several miles away, the teacher was left speechless.

"Why ... why, it’s gorgeous ... wonderful, but you shouldn’t have gone all that way to get the gift for me."

His eyes brightening, the boy answered, "Long walk part of gift."

God came from heaven to a manger, from a manger to a cross, from a cross to the grave and from a grave back to heaven.

And we ask, "Why all this trouble, God?"

And God would say to us, "Long walk part of gift."

He did it for you…

[optional… Nativity Story, The (2006)

The Big Idea: Jesus is for everyone.]
Concl:

Making the Christmas Connection:

The Christmas story points to Christ the Savior.

It is:

·    A Story of Faith

·    A Story of Courage

·    A Story of Love

The Christmas story points to Christ the Savior.

1. Will you trust Him?

2. Will you live for Him?

3. Do you love Him?

You have a (Realize your) part in God’s love story…

Will you play your part by trusting Him?

With your plans

With your problems

With your purpose

[Optional…

Nativity Story, The (2006)

The Big Idea:

Jesus is for everyone.

Scene Setup:

Mary and Joseph have struggled to find a place for Mary to have her baby. They have finally secured a place in a stable, because there was no room for them in any inn.

Scene:

Out in the fields at night, the shepherds are isolated from one another as they each guard the flocks entrusted to their care. Suddenly, the angel Gabriel appears to the shepherds out in the fields

"Rejoice! I bring you good tidings of great joy. For unto you is born this day, in the City of David, a savior, who is Christ the Lord. You will find the Child wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

All of the shepherds begin moving out of the hills toward Bethlehem.

The scene shifts to the stable where Mary and Joseph are caring for their newborn baby boy. Out of the darkness, the shepherds arrive. One of them approaches. He is old. His face is worn, and his clothes and skin are stained from working and sleeping in the fields. His eyes are filled with wonder at the sight. This is the child that the angel told him to seek. He is looking at the Savior of the world. Slowly he reaches out his hand to touch the baby's face, but then he becomes aware of himself and his condition. He realizes that he is unworthy and withdraws his hand.

But at that moment, Mary looks at the shepherd and encourages him to draw close and touch Jesus, saying, "He is for all of mankind."

Application:

The shepherds in The Nativity Story are not charming country lads with adorable lambs cast about their shoulders. Instead they are shown as they probably were: lonely, poor, unwashed men working at a difficult job who were despised by their own countrymen. When the angel appears to them, they are afraid. But we also learn that, like the wise men, they have been eagerly waiting for the coming Messiah. So when they are told where He may be found, they rush to see Him. But when one shepherd actually stands before Jesus, his excitement turns into dismay as he recognizes his unworthiness. And he is right.

It is easy to look at the dirty, disheveled shepherd and the smooth, unmarred skin of the infant Jesus and recognize the difference. If we were in Mary's place, most of us would have snatched our child away from the touch of a man like this. We should be grateful for the grace and mercy extended to men by God.

All of us, without exception, are like the shepherd. We are black with the stain of sin. We are utterly unworthy to reach out to the Savior. That is why God's gift is so great. God crossed the divide for us. Where we were unable, God was able. While we were in our sin, while we were His enemies, Christ came to die for the ungodly. He announced the "whosoever" believed in Him would not perish but instead would be granted "everlasting life." He has come to save us from our sins.

This gift is extended to all people willing to receive it as God intended. Jesus came for everyone, how sad that everyone will not come to Jesus. Some people think that they do not need this gift, that they are fine on their own and have no need to be redeemed. Others, like the shepherd, believe this gift to be too wonderful for them, and they are afraid to approach Him. Our role, as ambassadors for His kingdom, is to call the arrogant to repentance, and call the broken to come.

Sermon General's Warning:

None for this scene.

Topics:  Birth of Christ   Christmas   Salvation   Shame   Gift  

Scripture:  Luke 2:8-20    Romans 5:6-10    1 Timothy 1:12-17    Mark 2:13-17    John 3:16-17   

Keywords: Birth of Christ, Christmas, salvation, shame, gift, unworthy, shepherd, shepherds

Rating: PG     Genre: Historical/Epic

DVD Chapter: 0     Start Time:      End Time: 

 


 

Appendix:

 

 

#1848

Handmaid

Contents:

ENGLISH WORD

POSB Reference

GREEK WORD & VERSE

Parallel Translations

THE WORD MEANS . . .

Practical Application

ENGLISH WORD

Handmaid–KJV

Bondslave–NASB

Servant–NIV

Maidservant–NKJV

Servant–NLT

POSB Reference

(Luke 1:38)—Note 8

GREEK WORD AND VERSE

δούλη = doulē

Pronunciation: [doo'-lay]

Parsing (part of speech): noun

Case—nominative

Gender—feminine

Number—singular

Stem or root—from δούλη, ης

Concordance References:

ð  Strong's #<G1399> doulē

ð  NIV #1527 doulē

ð  NASB #1399 doulē

Luke 1:38

[KJV]

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

[NASB]

And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

[NIV]

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

[NKJV]

Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

[NLT]

Mary responded, "I am the Lord's servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true." And then the angel left.

[GNS]

εἶ πε δὲ Μαριάμ, Ἰδοὺ δούλη Κυρίου· γένοιτό μοι κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου. καὶ ἀπῆλθεν ἀπ ᾿ αὐτῆς ἄγγελος.

THE WORD MEANS...

A slave girl; a handmaid; a female servant; a bondslave.

Practical Application

Mary was saying that she was a bondslave, willing to sell herself out completely to God. She would possess herself no longer but would give herself completely to God.

—Practical Word Studies in the New Testament

 

·        From Joseph we can learn that obedience takes courage, and we must obey God rather than worry about what others might think.

 

I like a phrase that Luke used. He said, All who heard the shepherd's story were astonished, but Mary quietly treasured those things in heart and thought about them often. (Luke 2:19) Let's follow this example. Let's treasure this wonderful story in our hearts and think often about these things -- all that the Christmas story means. In this way, we will discover Christmas.

 

1. A story of faith

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Luke 2:14 NIV

 

 

2. A story of courage

 

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Luke 2:14 NIV

 

 

3. A story of love

 

When 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."

Luke 2:15 NIV

 

 

Making the Christmas Connection:

The Christmas story points to Christ the Savior. Will you trust Him? Will you treasure Him?


[Insert new sermon illustration: Childlike faith…PT Today]

Executives Choose to Act like Children 

When the stress of work gets to be too much, an increasing number of executives are escaping from the cares of this world in less conventional ways. Instead of simply retreating to the beach, to the mountains, or a golf outing, many adults are, well, acting like children.

At California's Camp GetAway, an adult can participate in sing-alongs, water balloon fights, kickball, s'mores around the campfire, and a sneaky excursion out of the cabin to toilet-paper the cars and cabins of other campers.

Some adults opt for the increasingly popular Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camps, where even unskilled participants can join in a jam session with real rock musicians.

Helen Oseen founded The Ultimate Pajama Party, a camp where older women can don their pajamas, pillow fight, and sit on the bed and share confidences late into the night. Oseen began the camp after "identifying in my own life that I worked a lot and didn't play very much."

Author Christopher Noxon coined the phrase "rejuveniling" in his book Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes, and the Reinvention of the American Grown-Up. A father of three living in Los Angeles, Noxon said: "In a world where pressure and problems pile on non-stop, more grown-ups are seeking a vacation from their adult side."

Kitty Bean Yancey, "Get Away From It All," USA Today (7-28-06); submitted by David Slagle, Atlanta, Georgia

Concl:

Next time you look at a Nativity Scene and see Joseph standing in the background, think of the courage of this man….who was willing to walk with God….on a journey of faith….hundreds of miles in the desert.

God calls each of to take a journey of faith…that will require courage.

The courage of one person can make all the difference in the world.

We’ve all heard about the courage of Todd Beemer who led the passengers of Flight 93 to resist the terrorists and they prevented the plane from crashing into a national monument. 

Newsweek taking all of the air phone recordings pieced together the story of faith behind that courageous event and put it out in one of their articles called “The Real Story of Flight 93”. 

It says this:  “More than once Todd Beemer cried out to his savior, ‘Jesus!  We’re going down,’ he said, his voice rising steadily. 

He told the air phone operator, ‘I don’t think we’re going to get out of this.  I’m going to have to go out on faith.’ 

He then asked the air phone operator to pray for him and he began to recite the Lord’s prayer ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ 

The operator began to join him in the Lord’s Prayer on the phone. 

Then Beemer said, ‘Jesus, help me.’ 

And he recited the 23rd Psalm from memory.  ‘The Lord is my shepherd.  I shall not want…Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for You are with me.’ 

After that Beemer’s last words were, ‘Are you ready guys?  Let’s roll.’ 

And they went out in a fight and by doing so saved countless others and spared a symbol of democracy and freedom from destruction.”

Where do you get that kind of courage?

When you have faith in God and follow Him!

Like Joseph and Todd Beamer…

You can make a difference for God if you will take a step of faith.

Will you take the next step…today?

It will take courage…

Step of Salvation

Step of Service

Step of Sharing with others

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