God Doesn’t Force Christmas on Anyone
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them,"Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, 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, goodwill toward men!" So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
There has been much in the news lately about people being offended by Christmas. A lady wrote the McDonalds Corporation to complain that she did not like the reference to Jesus on the sign out front of one of its franchises.
A certain school somewhere rewrote the words to Silent Night to make it a non-sectarian holiday song. That would be like celebrating the 4th of July in a non-patriotic manner.
Several mega churches will close their doors on Christmas day so that everyone can spend time with their families.
Now I understand how this happens. I too was thinking the other day how inconvenient many of the things at Christmas are. Between writing four different ads for the news paper and getting everything lined up for the food distribution and getting people to ring the bell for Salvation Army, beside all the things I have to do for my own family, I thought, Christmas sure is an inconvenience. It would be so much easier to just do your normal things without all the extras.
Then as one person says, we have to go out and buy presents we cannot afford, that they never will use, for people we don’t even like. Kinda makes you want to say bah humbug.
But then I though, you know that first Christmas was also probably pretty inconvenient for all involved in the first Christmas.
I. It was no doubt pretty inconvenient for Mary
A. She was a young girl who no doubt had her life planned with Joseph.
B. Now she was being asked to put that on hold and to even put that relationship in jeopardy.
C. She could have said,
1. I would rather wait until I have fulfilled my own dreams first.
2. But Joseph and me have it all planned.
3. Do you know what my friends will say?
4. Do you know what my relatives, my mother will say?
II. And what about Joseph.
A. It was hard enough to make ends meet without supporting someone else’s kids.
B. He had to know that the child would never be really his.
C. If Mary and Joseph had other children would that affect them.
D. Would this put his family in danger?
III. The wise men.
A. Can’t you hear some of them discussing this.
1. You want to go where?
2. All because of a star.
3. What if we are wrong.
4. It is very expensive.
5. That is always a dangerous journey.
IV. The shepherds.
A. No one likes to be awakened out of a deep sleep.
B. What would happen if someone tried to steal the sheep while they are off in Bethlehem.
C. It would have been so much easier to just stay out there watching the sheep.
V. What about the innkeeper.
A. He always gets a bad rap for not letting the first family sleep in his own room.
B. But no doubt he had to go out and straighten up the stable a little before they could move in.
C. I can see him now out there getting things arraigned muttering to himself, “Who do I talk myself into these things.”
A. Now Herod was the most inconvenienced of all.
B. I doubt he slept a wink, worrying about his precious throne, for which he had murdered several wives and children.
C. Now he has a new rival to the throne.
D. Will he have to put down a revolt?
E. And he was so upset about the first Christmas that he set out to undo it by killing all the children in Bethlehem under two years old.
VII. The religious leaders
A. As far as I can see only the religious people were not inconvenienced over Christmas.
B. They just gave the message where the messiah would be born and then went about their business.
C. They would not travel from here to Wyoming to see this child that the wise men had traveled hundreds of miles to see.
D. But it would be their loss.
Yes God does not force Christmas on any of us. It is there for the blessings it bring for all who will gladly accept it and rejoice in it.
Will you miss Christmas this year?