December 16, 2012
"The First Christmas"
Christmas is perhaps the happiest day of the year! Christmas is a special
time - there is gladness and singing; decorations and presents; a special meal and
a visit from all the relatives. These are some of the things that make Christmas
a day to remember.
For the Christian, Christmas means a lot more than gifts and decorations.
Christmas is a great day of joy, victory and deliverance for the true believer.
It has been said that Christmas is the joyous celebration of eternity's intersection
with time. "When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made
of a woman" (Galatians 4:4).
The first Christmas celebration ever held was because of the birth of Jesus
Christ . On that first night when Jesus was born all the elements of a magnificent
worship service were there.
First, consider the audience: "There were in the same country shepherds
abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night" (Luke
2:8). A) These shepherds were the lowly, ill-clad hired hands of the religious
leaders who raised lambs for sacrifice in the Temple. B) The greatest news story
of history came not to the pious Levites, or to the scholarly religious leaders,
or to the Roman governor, or to King Herod. It came to these lowly shepherds. C)
God chooses the humble to do His work. Read 1 Cor. 1:26-29. Some examples: 1) Moses at the back
side of the desert; 2) David the youngest son of the smallest tribe; 3) the
twelve disciples who were fishermen and tax collectors; 4) the shepherds
who were humble men of simple origin. D) In choosing these men, God was picturing
His Son. 1) As the Good Shepherd . Read John 10:14; I Peter 5:4; Luke 15:3-7. 2) As the Lamb of God who
takes away the sin of the world. No longer would little lambs have to die as sacrifices
for the sins of the people; now God's substitute was born and in due time would
die on the Cross for the sins of the world.
Second, note the preacher. Read Luke 2:9, "An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the
glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. Compare Job 42:5-6 and Isaiah 6:5.
Third, hear the message of the angel. Read Luke 2:10-11. A) The angel's message at that first Christmas
service was: "Do not be afraid." The cure for fear is the message of Christmas.
B) Also the angel said: "I bring you good news of great joy that will be
for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
he is Christ the Lord ." The Good News of the Gospel is that
Jesus came to give you forgiveness of your sins and the gift of eternal life.
Fourth, what was their response? A) " They hurried off and found Mary
and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger" (2:16). B) "When they had
seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this
child" (2:17). C) "The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for
all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told" (2:20).
D) How has Christ transformed your life and what difference is it making?