Getting the Most Out of Christmas

Isa 9:6-7

For unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father , Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace

There will be no end,

Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,

To order it and establish it with judgment and justice

From that time forward, even forever.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. NKJV

There is hardly a more exhilarating passage in the Bible. To us a child is born, the Christ Child. And the government will be on Him. And look at His names; Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His kingdom knows no end. It will be a kingdom of justice and peace. That’s almost enough to even make a Baptist shout.

And that is what Christmas is all about. I beg to differ with a secularist that I read after the other day. He said the Christmas was just a secular holiday that centered on gift giving and having a good meal with family and friends. That may be what we do, but that is not what Christmas is all about. If that is what your Christmas is about then it will be quite hollow and will give no lasting joy or peace.

This morning we want to look at how to get the most out of your Christmas.

I.         Overcoming Disappointments

            A.        Mary & Joseph had no decent place to stay.

                        1.         They were poor and had no resources.

                        2.         Now the worst has happened

                        3.         They not only need a place to stay, they are about to have a baby.

            B.        Of all the nights to be in a stable.

                        1.         Have you ever wondered if things could get worse.

                        2.         They had every reason to be disappointed.

                        3.         Joseph might have felt bad that he could not provide something better and Mary might have felt very insecure that evening.

            C.        Didn’t God care about them.

                        1.         Hadn’t God obligated Himself to take care of them.

                        2.         The long trip that they were forced to make at such a bad time.

                        3.         It would have been so much easier at home, at least they would have been safe and secure.

            D.        But there is no record of any of these thought.

II.        Humility

            A.        Christmas was much bigger than the participants.

                        1.         In the movie just released, Deck the Halls, pride is the focus, who has the best lights and attractions.

                        2.         Not everyone who makes a big deal about Christmas does for the child in the manger.

                        3.         As matter of fact some of the great light displays shine more for pride than a humble babe in a manger.

            B.        It was not them, but God who brought all this to pass.

                        1.         Christmas is about God’s gift to us, not ours to Him.

                        2.         The shepherds and the wise men did not give us Christmas.

                        3.         It was God.

            C.        They were but servants as Mary said in Luke 1:38

                        1.         Mary calls herself the handmaid of the Lord.

                        2.         She knew that this was beyond her.

                        3.         She was just there, to be used by God in fulfilling His promise.

            D.        No place for pride for the lowly babe laid in a manager is greater than all.

                        1.         All who approached the babe came bowing, in homage and reverence.

                        2.         As Isaiah had said in our text, this was all about Jesus.

III.       Worship

            A.        Mary & Joseph were in awe and wonder that they should be so blessed by God.

                        1.         They were just amazed that God would call them to be the Messiah’s parents.

                        2.         In the wonder of that night, Mary and Joseph could only be thankful for all that God had done to them.

            B.        The angel’s announcement was more like worship than an announcement.

                        1.         This was no ordinary birth announcement.

                        2.         These angels worshiped the Lord that night.

                        3.         Listen to their words, Glory to God in the Highest.

            C.        The shepherds came to worship.

                        1.         This was no ordinary birth.

                        2.         This could be no ordinary child.

                        3.         It had such a profound affect upon them that they went away worshiping

                        4.         Luke 2:20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them NKJV

            D.        Simeon and Anna both worshiped

                        1.         These both were looking for the promised Messiah.

                        2.         They spent much of their time in the temple area in prayers and worship.

                        3.         When the infant Jesus is brought in they worship.

                        4.         Luke 2:28-38 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: 29 "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; 30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation 31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, 32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel." 33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35(yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

                        5.         Anna Bears Witness to the Redeemer

                        6.         Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. NKJV

            E.        The wise men came from another country to worship.

                        1.         Matt 2:1-2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying,"Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." NKJV

                        2.         Matt 2:11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. NKJV

            F.        All the above had heard from God.

                        1.         God had interjected Himself into their lives.

                        2.         God had revealed to them the birth of Jesus.

                        3.         Each one had responded as God intended.

            G.        Those who truly worship have heard from God.

                        1.         Hearing from God in your own life will increase your worship.

IV.      It is all about Jesus

            A.        Everything that first Christmas centered on Him.

            B.        When the angels appeared there was not just one or two but a multitude.

            C.        No where else in Scripture do we find so many angels all appearing at once.

            D.        So today, it is never about the presents, decorations, Santa or big family dinners.

            E.        That is why it is so wrong for people to take Christ out of Christmas.

            F.        Jesus was God reaching down to a rebellious people.

            G.        Jesus was God’s attempt to soften our harden hearts.

            H.        Jesus was God making a way for sinners to be saints.

            I.         Jesus was God displaying AGAPA love to disobedient rebels.

The way to get the most out of Christmas is to keep Jesus at the center. Gifts, family dinners and all the rest may be nice, but without Jesus. It is not Christmas.