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Date: 16 December, 2021
Text: Luke 2:1-20
Christmas is a precious time of year:
ill. My family would leave after church on the Sunday evening before Christmas.
- We would stop at McStop - A truck stop with a McDonalds (innovative back then.)
- mom would open the ketchup packets in such a way that we could dip....
- When we were young - we laid the back of the station wagon flat and slept on matts grandpa roth (upholsterer had made to fit those spaces.)
- I remember watching the stars, seeing the car lights reflecting on the windows.
- Some years we would travel in blizzards
- We'd count the number of cars off the road or the tracks where they had....
- My grandparents home is not big.
- My mom has 3 sisters, 4 families would converge.
- We'd set up a pop up camper in the garage - people slept on the floor in the kitchen
We would go caroling - I wish I appreciated it more - sometimes with tone chimes.
We would have a carol sing service every Christmas Eve.
- Grandpa was a quiet man, could not sing well, would read the Christmas story.
- And we'd sing the Christmas carols.
- A great time as family - reflecting on the birth of Jesus.
On Christmas day - presents, we'd start at the youngest - to the oldest - 4 hours...
This morning, we are going to enjoy some time together as a church family,
...reflecting on Jesus birth.
We are going to have a bit of a Carol Service....without singing....
- as we find the Christmas Carols in the Christmas Story this morning.
Pray - Ask God to open our eyes to the greatness of the gift which He gave us 2,000 years ago.
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
I. Silent night, Holy night.
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
carol: Silent Night
Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, and all is bright
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace
exp. The Bible says, "GREAT WITH CHILD" - The hymn writer penned, "Round yon virgin"
ill. At our day of prayer - on Tuesday - we were praying for 2 mother's great with child. One of those babies was made an appearance on Wednesday.
exp. All of us have seen someone who is great with child. (You try to be discreet - but it is obvious that the baby must soon be making an appearance.)
note: Mary has had to take a great trip being very pregnant.
ill. My wife endured a long trip when she was great with our first child.
- We moved 5 days before Kay Lee was born. It was two days of travel from NYC to MI.
- The Dr.'s thought we were crazy - we had prayed much about it.
- We got there on a Wednesday - Katie went into labour at midnight Sunday night.
- Kay Lee was born early Tuesday morning.
exp. As we look into the Christmas story - we see a very young mother enduring a difficult trip. Now doubt she and Joseph were much in prayer about their travels and praying for safety.
note: This child was precious - not only as Mary's first born - but as the virgin born son of God.
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
ill. 650 years later, in Nazareth, Gabriel appears to Mary to let her know that she is the virgin.
Luke 1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
Luke 1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
app. When holy things are happening there is a Holy hush - awareness of God's presence.
The first and only virgin born child, the Son of God, was being born.
- It may have been loud - the inn was full, the livestock in the barns may have been noisy.
- But - spiritually there was an awesome silence of anticipation at the birth of Jesus.
II. Born to Die Upon Calvary.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes,
ill. My wife and I have never had the blessing of children who sleep through the night.
- I'm thankful for each bundle of joy God has given to us.
- But, we knew that bundle was also a bundle of sleep deprivation.
- To try to help a child sleep, you wrap them tightly....
exp. Mary lovingly wrapped her son.
note: There are two times God's Word tells us that Jesus was wrapped. I believe God recorded this in His Word to remind us that Jesus was born to die.
Matthew 27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:
58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.
exp. This baby in the manger was destined to DIE for the sin of the world. The joy of Mary would be like a sword thrust at the crucifixion.
Luk 2:34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
carol: Born To Die
Born to die upon Calv’ry,
Jesus suffered my sin to forgive;
Born to die upon Calv’ry,
He was wounded that I might live.
exp. Mary's PERFECT child had to die a horrible death - so that you could get saved.
THE SON OF GOD - had to die for your sin's to be forgiven.
note: Praise God - death could not keep the Son of God in the grave!
Rev 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
app. Jesus - Mary's precious son, was born to die upon Calvary.
III. Born in a Manger.
...and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
exp. President Joe Biden and many other world leaders were in Scotland for Cop 26. It was difficult they said to find accomodations during Cop 26.
President Biden stayed at the Dalmahoy Hotel - "A Scottish Baronial Manor House"
note: I'm certain there was no difficulty in him finding a nice place to stay - and we expect that.
ill. The Inn at Bethlehem was not the Dalmahoy. But, it would have suited them.
- You can picture it - A young carpenter and his very pregnant wife arrive.
- NOBODY GIVES UP THEIR ROOM OR THEIR SEAT IN THE INN.
There was room in the inn, "But no room found FOR THEM in the inn."
- Thankfully, they can shelter in a little room on the outside wall where livestock are kept.
carol: Born in a Manger
Born in a manger long ago
How could the Savior love me so
He left His throne for Calvary
He came to earth for me
Not a palace for the little King
Nor a pillow for His bed
Not a scepter for His royal hand
Nor a crown adorns His head
I have nothing fit to give a King
But I long to do my part
All I treasure I will gladly bring
For I give Him all my heart
Rev 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
exp. What if you had been in the inn that night? What about those who didn't give place for a pregnant woman - not knowing that in her womb was the Son of God - KING OF KINGS....
note: If they had known - they would have fallen on their face before the new born son of God.
app. How are you treating Jesus? Have you given place for Him? Have you made room for Him in your heart?
IV. Joy to the World.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
exp. There is something wonderful and we would say, "Majical" about this story. But a better word would be, "Miraculous."
ill. Have you ever sat by a camp fire and looked at the stars? Sitting out under God's heavens.
- Colorado - great place to see the stars - you are closer to them - high elevations
- Atmosphere is very thin - very little cloud cover, no light polution.
ill. These shepherds were in an arrid area - very likely a beautiful night - perhaps speaking about the coming of the Messiah, maybe even praying for His appearance. *God revealed this to them.
exp. All of a sudden and angelic messenger appears with an announcement....
FEAR NOT FOR BEHOLD I BRING YOU TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY....
WHICH SHALL BE TO ALL PEOPLE.... unto you is born this day....a Saviour.
note: Sin can be forgiven - eternal life can be received - God can save you!
Isa 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
carol: Joy to the World.
1 Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
let ev’ry heart prepare him room
and heav’n and nature sing,
3 No more let sins and sorrows grow
nor thorns infest the ground;
he comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found,
ill. I've read several prayer letters this past week.
- Dan and Connie Lindsey in Liberia
- Dan and Karen Hassman in South Africa
- Barry and Cheryl Webb - USA
- Joe and Abby Nicholson - Wales
- Oriel and Heather O'Gorman - Ireland
- Rebekah Fruin - Ukraine
note: This is just a wee list - there are Gospel Messengers all over the world - because THE MESSAGE OF JOY IS TO ALL PEOPLE.
Rev 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
app. Have you entered into the Joy of Jesus birth? "Unto YOU is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
V. O Little Town of Bethlehem.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
exp. You may recal that Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth. However, this baby could not be born in Nazareth because God's Word said he would be born in Bethlehem.
Mic 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
exp. Just as God said - THE MESSIAH WAS BORN IN BETHLEHEM.
carol: O Little Town of Bethlehem
1 O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by;
yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.
4 O holy Child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray,
cast out our sin and enter in,
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Immanuel!
exp. This child of Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, would one day visit many villages in the area.
note: Sadly - many cities - like Jerusalem would be ignorant that the King had come.
Luke 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
exp. Judgment would come because they rejected and Crucified their King.
ill. As I knock on doors - hand out literature - grieved to see people not wanting the Holy Child of Bethlehem. IGNORANT OF THE DAY OF THEIR VISITATION.
GOD REACHED OUT AND THEY REJECTED.
app. It is heartbreaking to think that instead of joy they will reap ETERNAL SORROW.
VI. Angels We Have Heard on High.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
exp. I love this part in the story - One angel has been allowed to declare the coming of the Messiah - but now Heaven breaks through the ORIGINAL HALLELUJAH CHORUS is sung.
1 Angels we have heard on high,
sweetly singing o'er the plains,
and the mountains in reply
echoing their joyous strains.
Gloria in excelsis Deo,
gloria in excelsis Deo.
def. latin: Glory to God in the Highest.
ill. Sometimes as a family - you have some great news to share - you might have a rule - mum and dad get to say it first - BUT AS SOON AS IT IS SAID - EVERY CHILD IS DECLARING THEIR EXCITEMENT.
exp. If a kid isn't excited about it - they don't say anything. They may even pout.
ill. Kind of like the grinch at Christmas - the joy thief - no joy in family, giving gifts, etc.....
app. Are you a spiritual grinch? Does you heart still warm to sing, "Glory to God in the Highest" with the angels who declared the birth of Jesus. (Can you keep from praising God for His gift?)
VII. Go Tell it on the Mountain.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
exp. The Shepherds had an incredible experience. (God broke through.)
They verified it with truth. (Let's go and sese this thing which God made known.)
Then they declared it with power. (They made known abroad the saying.)
question: Has God ever broken through in your life?
- Beginning to believe things about God, His Word, your sin....
- Have you verified it with God's truth - receiving Jesus as your personal Saviour.
ill. For me - that was after my dad preached a message on hell... prayed and asked Jesus....
exp. The first thing I did was go and tell my mom. (I've told many people the Gospel since....)
ill. There is a Bible story - of a famine - and provision found by some leperous men.
2 Kings 7:9 Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace:
exp. When you have awesome news - you have a moral obligation to share it with others.
carol: Go Tell it On the Mountain
Go tell it on the mountain,
over the hills, and ev'rywhere;
go, tell it on the mountain
that Jesus Christ is born.
Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Isaiah 52:7)
ill. Darline Diabler - was reminded by this verse as she replaced the bandages on her husbands lacerated feet - he had injured them taking the Gospel into the interior of Papua New Guinea.
app. How beautiful are your feet this morning? - Are you FEET SHOD WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE?
VIII. I Wonder as I wander.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
exp. Nobody, should hear the story of the virgin birth of Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem of angels declaring that upon this baby THE HOPE OF THE WORLD rests - without taking time to.....
- Marvel at the grace of God - "wondered at those things which were told them....
- Ponder in your heart all these things. "Mary kept all these things and pondered...."
1 I wonder as I wander, out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die
For poor ord'n'ry people like you and like I.
I wonder as I wander, out under the sky.
2 When Mary birthed Jesus, all in a cow's stall,
Came wise men and farmers and shepherds and all,
And high from the heavens a star's light did fall;
The promise of the ages it then did recall.
3 If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
A star in the sky or a bird on the wing,
Or all of God's angels in heav'n for to sing,
He surely could have had it, 'cause he was the king.
exp. The miracle of the birth of Jesus is only eclipsed by the mirace of his death for mankind.
quote: C. T. Studd - “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”
app. Our world is so busy - thinking about everything else but Jesus. What about you? Have you take some time to ponder the birth of the Son of God and your unworthiness? Have you considered what you should give back to Him who gave you everything?
I'm excited about Christmas - wonderful family times - joy to have Kay Lee back with us.
I trust you'll have some wonderful family time as well.
We're excited as a church to have our Carol Sing Service - perhaps it will be more meaningful.....
What has God spoken to your heart about this morning?
1) Are you distracted by the world, or are you aware of who was born in the stable?
2) Do you understand that the innocent babe was born to go to a cruel cross for your sin?
3) Have you made room in your heart for Him?
4) Do you know the Joy the angels spoke about?
5) Are you keeping the good news to yourself?