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The Story of Christmas

The Stories of Christmas  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The Christmas story is not only about the birth of Christ but also of those born in the Spirit. When we understand that the Christmas story is not over, we find ourselves very much a part of that story. We, like John, have been indwelt with the Spirit of God and we too have the job of preparing the ways of the Lord in anticipation of his soon return.

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Introduction
I’m sure as you drive around town you see posters of some kind that say, “Jesus is the Reason for the season.”
I’m assuming people feel the need to place these signs up because we as a society are quickly forgetting the meaning of Christmas. I was watching 911 last week and one of the characters said, “Christmas is about being with family and friends during the holidays.”
I would say that is a good summarization of what most people believe about the holidays.
You will have some religious that will put up nativity scenes in the yard to remember little baby Jesus. Some are like Ricky Bobby and prefer little baby Jesus in a manger. He did grow up y'all, and do stuff. He showed us the character of God, died for our sin, resurrected from the dead, and ascended into heaven. Jesus is alive today.
Christmas is not just a celebration of the birth of Jesus but the coming of the Savior of the world. The time of Jesus birth was just the beginning of the Christmas story. We are still living in the Christmas story today.
For the next two weeks I want to spend some time looking at the Christmas story in the book of Luke. Luke gives us the most detail in chapters one and two about the coming of Christ the first time.
Do you realize the birth of Jesus wasn’t the only significant birth to happen at that time. It was not the only miraculous birth. The book begins with the birth of John. John’s birth was also a miraculous birth. This was not like any other birth that we read about in history.
John would be born to a priest named Zechariah and his barren wife Elizabeth.
Zechariah, while performing his priestly duties, is visited by Gabriel in the temple even before he visited Mary.
John was going to be a big deal.
John would be filled with the Spirit of God before he was born.
Luke 1:15–17 ESV
15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
Luke 1:
Luke 1:15–16 ESV
15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God,
The birth of John would serve as both a conformation and a witness that the Lord has come to his people.
Luke 1:17 ESV
17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
John is the fulfilment of the last prophecy given to Israel prior to the 400 years of silence between the testaments.
Malachi 3:1 ESV
1 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.
Mal
Malachi 4:5–6 ESV
5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”
Mal 4:
An angel appearing to Zechariah in the temple wasn’t enough.
Zechariah wants another sign as if Gabriel is not enough and is punished by make him unable to speak.
Elizabeth conceives and is pregnant for 5 months when Gabriel comes to Mary.
After Mary receives the news that she will bear the Savior. Gabriel tells her about Elizabeth.
Luke 1:36–37 ESV
36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Luke 1:36
So, this miraculous birth of John was a sign to Mary that what was told to her is true.

Many times God proves a miraculous birth with a miraculous birth.

Mary runs to Elizabeth’s house to share what happened. Let’s pick up the story in
Mary runs to Elizabeth’s house to share what happened. Let’s pick up the story in
Luke 1:41-
Luke 1:41–43 ESV
41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
Luke 1:41–43 ESV
41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
John was testifying and confirming Christ before he was even born.
Finally John is born. Everyone wants to call him Zechariah after his father but God had already given him his name.
Elizabeth said, His name is John. They argued with her.
Zechariah wrote down on a tablet, His name is John. And immediately he could talk again.
Luke 1:67 ESV
67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
Luke 1:67
Now we get to the meat of the message this morning. Let’s look at what the Spirit says about John through the prophecy of his dad.
Luke 1:76–77 ESV
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins,
Luke 1:76
Luke 1:7
Luke 1:78–79 ESV
78 because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

The Holy Spirit’s Witness of John’s Ministry

To prepare the way of the Lord.
To give the knowledge of salvation to his people.
To realize their forgiveness of sins through Christ.
To show the tender mercies of our God.
To give light to those who sit in darkness.
To guide our feet into the way of peace.
As I read through this list I had to stop because I realized this is the exact same thing that the Holy Spirit does through us today.
Then I began to see it.
John is filled with the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit.
Zechariah is filled with the Holy Spirit.
This is what the Holy Spirit does.

When the Holy Spirit comes upon you there is a very specific work he does through you.

He prepares the way of the Lord.
He gives the knowledge of salvation to his people.
He reveals their forgiveness of sins through Christ.
He shows the tender mercies of our God.
He gives light to those who sit in darkness.
He guides our feet into the way of peace.
The same Holy Spirit that was in John, Elizabeth, and Zechariah dwells in us.
So what do you think the Holy Spirit would be doing through us?
We prepare people for the coming of the Lord.
through our witness and God’s Word we set a clear path to Christ living in expectation of his coming.
We are the heralds of the age to come. If we don’t tell people about his coming they will be unprepared.
We share the knowledge of salvation.
Our lives are holy, set apart, unto the Lord.
We give an answer for the hope we have in Christ.
We declare God’s forgiveness and mercy.
Learning to live in God’s forgiveness and mercy for ourselves.
Displaying the forgiveness and mercy of God on others.
We shine light to the darkness.
The light that God has shined in our hearts we are to share with the world.
We are the Christmas lights that light up the night with hope and beauty.
We guide people into the way of peace.
Walk through the slide
We prepare people for the coming of the Lord.
Through our witness and God’s Word we set a clear path to Christ living in expectation of his coming.
We are the heralds of the age to come. If we don’t tell people about his coming they will be unprepared.
We prepare the way of the Lord.
We share the knowledge of salvation.
We are living examples of a miraculous birth.
Our lives are holy, set apart, unto the Lord.
Our miraculous brith is proof that others can have a miraculous birth.
We declare God’s forgiveness and mercy.
Learning to live in God’s forgiveness and mercy for ourselves.
Displaying the forgiveness and mercy of God on others.
We shine light to the darkness.
The light that God has shined in our hearts we are to share with the world.
2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV
6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
We are the Christmas lights that light up the night with hope and beauty.
We guide people into the way of peace.
Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor, the Might God, The Prince of Peace.
As we live in peace with God and man, we can lead others into the way of peace.
Many times people will come to me asking for direction in the decisions of life. My answer is simple, “Follow the way of peace.”
Closing Thoughts:

Many times God proves a miraculous birth with a miraculous birth. Your new birth in Christ is proof of the Christmas story.

Elizebeth was the proof that God does the impossible.
We are the proof that God still does the impossible today.
God is wanting to have a miraculous birth in you. You must be born again.
The story of Christmas is not about a baby in a manger but about Emmanuel, God with us. Any time a person receives the message of Christ He indwells them with his Holy Spirit making them a new creation and filled with the power of God.
The story of Christmas is that with God all things are possible.
You too can have a miraculous birth and be filled with the Holy Spirit if you are willing to receive him. (Please bow your head with me this Morning.)

When the Holy Spirit come upon you there is a very specific work he does through you.

The Spirit is still preparing the way of the Lord.
The Spirit will use you just as he did John if you let him.
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