Christmas Eve Sermonettes
A virgin will give birth…to a son! – Luke 1:26-38
Our lifetime has seen some amazing technological advances: cars, cell phones, laptops, ipads. All of which can be used for beneficial purposes. However, at times, doesn’t it kind of “dull” us? While humans haven’t changed, technology has. I mean, we’ve seen so much in the world, so many things that at one time would have been thought impossible, happen. And perhaps it’s kind of dulled us to the point where we’re not really surprised by the new and impossible anymore. And perhaps we can even carry that ho-hum, dull attitude toward God’s Word. But one thing has remained the same since Creation: people cannot manufacture a human life. For a human life there needs to be a man and a woman.
But there was one exception. Humanly speaking it is impossible for a virgin to give birth to a son on her own. It just doesn’t work that way. But it happened. The virgin Mary DID become pregnant and DID give birth. It’s true, it’s a paradox. How? Because God can do anything, God can do the impossible.
In a miraculous way God caused Mary to become pregnant. And what an awesome truth to treasure! Since it’s God using the virgin Mary “The holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Mary’s son would be every bit human just like Mary, just like you and me, with one exception: he would be sinless.
He shares all of yours and my humanity. What does that mean? If you wanted to know what it was like to have a baby would you ask me or my wife who’s had 4 babies? Obviously you’d ask my wife- she’s been there, she’s done that, I haven’t, I’ll never know what it’s like to have a baby. Jesus knows exactly what it’s like to be human. To be hurt, to feel pain, to feel disappointment, to have a friend turn his back on him, to rejoice at a wedding. He knows what you’re going through. And, yet, he’s not just human, he’s also 100% God! He can do anything! Humans, like you and me, have limitations, there are things we simply can’t do. But God can do anything! What a Savior you have! A human who knows what it’s like to be human AND God with all power to help you no matter what! All found in this paradox: A virgin giving birth to the Son of God! Amen.
A Heathen King… (seems to) determine the place of birth – Luke 2:1-5
When it rains, it pours. Ever felt like that? Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse…they do. How disappointing! Just imagine Joseph. His wife is around 9 months pregnant with a very special baby, who is not his own. Then, lo and behold, here’s Caesar Augustus. Just to rub it in a little more how HE is the king, how HE is in charge, how much power HE has, orders this census. So Joseph can’t just leave Mary at home in Nazareth – 9 months pregnant- but they have to go the at least 3 day journey to Bethlehem at this time of all times. Do you think with good reason he may have harbored some complaints about this situation in his heart along the journey?
But what was going on? Looking back, they, and us can see. The Roman empire, the world power of the day, the largest and most powerful nation of the time, was moved by God so that His prophecy that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem would come true. God moved an emperor and entire empire to bring about a seemingly small detail: the Savior would be born in Bethlehem.
So what’s raining and pouring in your life today? What complaints are you muttering under your breath about what’s going on? Look at this paradox: a heathen emperor makes sure things happen according to God’s plan. Why? Because God remains in control. And that same God who moves emperors and empires to accomplish His purposes will continue to make sure things happen according to His plan today. Will we always see it? No. But looking at Bethlehem we trust it because He who remained in control in the past will continue to do so forever. Amen.
No room…for the Creator of all! Luke 2:6-7
Bethlehem wasn’t a very big city. In fact, it was more of a town or a village. Now, thanks to Caesar, all the descendants of David had to make their way to Bethlehem. If you were of means and were wealthy enough and fortunate enough you may have been able to secure your own private quarters. Most, however, probably had to share some sort of communal sleeping area with many other people. But even that’s no place to have a baby- with a bunch of other people around.
So where can you go? A stable. A place that housed animals. Again, remember, lots of people, and therefore probably many animals –donkeys, oxen? And its there where Jesus is born. He’s laid in a manger, his first crib, even that has to be borrowed from animals. But who is He? Is this not the Almighty? Is this not the “Word through whom all things were made”? Is this not “He who fills heaven and earth” and who would later say “surely I am with you always”? But there is not room for Him in the inn. What a paradox!
Don’t we want the best? Don’t we want honor and praise? Don’t we seek power and influence? Not our God. He didn’t come for power and might, he didn’t come for riches and honor. He came to serve and to save, to redeem and to rescue! May we with humble hearts seek to serve as He has served us! Amen.
Angels announce the birth…to shepherds! Luke 2:8-15
When Prince William and his wife Kate had a baby, everyone heard about it, no doubt world leaders sent them cards and well-wishes. When my son David was born the President didn’t hear about it, Governor Dayton didn’t hear about it, the Mayor of Bemidji didn’t even hear about it. Why? Because in our world the most important births are generally announced to the most important people, right? So wouldn’t we expect that the birth of the Savior would be announced to the chief priest, or to the Roman emperor, or the political rulers, or to the “movers and shakers” of Judah? Well, once again, God acts in a way which is different than what we’d expect, and the birth gets announced to the lowest of the low – to poor shepherds. And he sends the mighty angels to do it! But finally, it’s announced to shepherds. Shepherds who were in such station in life as having to work day and night out in the elements.
But that reminds us of something wonderful. This Savior who was born? He’s not just for the “movers and shakers,” not just for the powerful and wise. No. Instead, this Savior is for EVERYONE! And if He’s here for EVERYONE, then I know He’s here … for ME! So it’s with joy that I see the angels going to the shepherds, being reminded through that that the Savior has been born … for me. And while it’s yet another paradox, we thank God for it, because it gives me the assurance that my salvation is sure! Amen.
He became poor…that I might be rich! – 2 Corinthians 8:9
What could you live without? If you and I had to give up something important to you, what would it be? Your car? Your boat? Your house? Your savings? What if you had the option to give up everything in your life and turn into a slug in order to save some people, in order that they could go to heaven? Would you do it? And add to that not people that mostly like you, but people who reject you, who wouldn’t care, who’d turn their backs on you? Could you do it?
Jesus did it! He humbled Himself to that extent, laid aside his heavenly glory for a time. Why so? Because He loves you, because He wanted to be your perfect substitute, because he wanted to go to the cross and rescue you from your sins, and because he wants you to spend eternity with Him! Yes, he became poor, so that you, through his poverty might be rich-eternally rich! Amen.