Speaker: Rev. Shine Thomas
Scripture: Luke 2:1-20
Christmas has relevance for every one of you. This morning we are going to see what Christmas means for you, in your present condition.
Let us look at the story of Christmas.
Luke 2:1-4 1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register. 4So 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.
Joseph and Mary traveled all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem (140 km/70 miles) for the fulfillment of the prophesy in Micah. Micah 5:2 2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Luke 2:5-7 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and 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.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE BIRTH OF CHRIST
1. No room in the inn/lodge
What is the mention of ‘no room for them in the in?’ v7. In ancient Palestine Bethlehem was not a famous city. It was just a small village. There was no need for a hotel/lodge here. There were hotels in Jerusalem but no hotels in Bethlehem. An inn here is the guest room in a house. Jesus by all probability was born in Joseph’s ancestral house. But understand it was census time and all his relatives would have come to this house and the guest room would be full. Jesus was not important for the relatives. They took him just as another child in the house.
2. Jesus was born in on the roadside
There is a misconception among people that there was no room in the lodge/inn and Mary gave birth to Jesus in road side and laid Him in the cattle shed. Read v6. This passage clearly means Joseph and Mary were already in Bethlehem and then the time came for the baby to be born. If they were already in Bethlehem they would have been staying in someone’s house.
Laid him in a manger
Many feel Jesus was born on the roadside and placed in a cattle shed. Manger means: A trough or an open box in which feed for livestock is placed. Jesus was placed in a manger inside Joseph’s ancestral house.
When a boy was born in Palestine the local musicians congregated at the house to greet him with music. Jesus was born at a time where people were moving for census. There was no time for anyone to play music for him. The ceremony of playing music for the new born child, Jesus was not carried out. Therefore the heavens decided to sing for Jesus. Luke 2:13-14 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.”
TO WHOM JESUS’ BIRTH MATTER THE MOST?
Luke 2:8-12 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.”
Now, the first announcement of Christmas went to the shepherds. It just amazed me when there were so many teachers of the law, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, Temple priests, Herod, the Romans etc the first announcement of Christmas went to some poor shepherds.
WHO WERE THESE SHEPHERDS OF CHRISTMAS?
These shepherds were in all likelihood special shepherds. In the temple at Jerusalem every morning and evening an unblemished lamb was offered as a sacrifice to God. To see that the supply of perfect offerings was always available the Temple authorities had their own private sheep flocks and history says that these flocks were pastured near Bethlehem. It is most likely that these shepherds were in charge of the flock from which the Temple offerings were chosen. The sheep were born, raised, and sent to the temple by these shepherds.
Jesus was born in the very birthplace where tens of thousands of lambs, which had been sacrificed to prefigure Him. Luke 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. God promised it, pictured it and performed it Bethlehem.
FOR WHOM IS THE REAL CHRISTMAS?
It really amazed me that it was the shepherds who were the first to get the good news of Christmas, not any one else. The shepherds were despised by the orthodox good people of the day. The shepherds raised the sheep for Temple sacrifice and the priests used to use their sheep but the shepherds were ceremonially unclean because of their work. The sheep made them busy all the time and they were ceremonially unclean. They were despised, rejected, and people who where left to themselves. It was to the simple men of the fields that the first Christmas message came.
Child of God what is real Christmas? Real Christmas is for the simple people not for the rich or the influential. Christmas brings good news for people who are poor, lonely, depressed, orphans, widows. It gives a new hope for you.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
If God gave the first message of good news to the shepherds, I want to tell the good news of Christmas to the suffering people today
1. God knows you.
This Christmas is good news for you. The shepherds were insignificant people of Bethlehem, yet God remembered them when Jesus was born. This morning you may be insignificant, in pain, lonely, depressed, orphan, or without a spouse (husband or wife) to care for you and love you. God knows you. He loves you, and he cares for you. This is good news for you. Since God knows you and he loves you.
2. You small life matters to God.
Maybe no one bothers you. You are leading a lonely life. There is no one to tell your problem. This Christmas God is telling you matter to him because he loves you.
3. Your faith matters to God.
These shepherds were insignificant men but men of faith. They knew the law. They prepared the sheep as per the law for sacrifice. They also knew the Messiah would come. Their little faith mattered to God and God gave them the good news.
Child of God your little faith matters to him today. He will reveal Himself to you this Christmas. Cheer up God loves you.
When we look into the world, it is the rich who celebrate Christmas. The joyful celebrate Christmas. Yes it is true Christmas is for everyone. But understand Christmas is also a festival of the poorest of the poor, the orphans, widows, and the lonely people of the earth.