There is a good chance, if you are American, that you celebrate Christmas (because, statistically speaking, about 93% of Americans actively participate in celebrating the holiday one way or another). Not only is it widely celebrated in America, but it is the single most celebrated holiday worldwide. And – there is good reason! Although there are many aspects of Christmas that have been commercialized, we still gather in masses across the world to celebrate the birth of Jesus. This week, Paul Jackson leads us in discussing Christmas, the first sermon of this December series.
Luke 2:1-20: “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”
In reality, the story of Jesus’ birth is nothing less than incredible. The journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem – which the Bible mentions only briefly – was a grueling 90-mile trek across dangerous terrain. His birth could not have been more humble, but his birth announcement was unlike any other (as seen in Luke 2:10-11): “I bring you good news of great joy, that will be for all people.”
This is what we are celebrating. This is why Christmas is such an extravaganza, because the birth of Jesus changes everything. In the midst of all the wonderful festivities, let’s direct our celebration toward the One who is worthy of it all.
Join us again on Sunday to hear pt. 2 of our Christmas series!