Ministry Monday – Christmas Season: New Sermon about Jesus (the Reason for the Season)
Written By: Glenn C. Stewart
Have you ever said something before you thought carefully about how it might come out? It is called sticking your foot in your mouth. I once was working with a seminary student who was doing an internship with our church. I was coaching him on preaching. He had some fear of being in front of people and it caused him to be hesitant, weakening his communication. So, we worked on his confidence and on being bolder in communication.
The next time he preached, he selected a passage from the prophet Jonah who was instructed by God to go to Nineveh, but instead he went to the city of Tarsus. The intern decided to emphasize this disobedience and put into practice his bolder communication techniques. After reading the verse, he ratcheted up his volume forcefully saying, “Tonight I want you to know that the whole problem with Jonah was his but. It was his but that got him in trouble. His but got in the way of God’s leading. If Jonah had just gotten rid of his but he would have been okay.”
We need to think carefully about what we do and say. And we need to think carefully and deeply if we are to understand things fully and properly. On the very first Christmas, there was one person who thought deeply about what was taking place and what it all meant. That person was Mary – the young teenage girl who gave birth to Jesus.
Let’s revisit the story on the night of Jesus’ birth.
In Luke 2:19, Mary displays two key expressions…
“But Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often.”
This communicates Mary’s serious thought and deep reflection. She was trying to put “all these things” – all the pieces of the phenomenal happenings – together much as we would try to put together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
Mary had a lot to think about from the initial angelic appearance announcing she would be pregnant, to the description of her son to be “the Son of God;” to the angelic appearance to Joseph assuring him this pregnancy was God’s doing. She had to process that her baby boy would be called Jesus (because He would save people from their sins). Then there is the journey to Bethlehem when she was very, very pregnant, only to discover the lack of lodging. She dealt with the messy event of a stable birth and then shepherds excitedly exclaiming that her baby boy was the Messiah, the Savior.
That’s a lot to take in. And yet Mary didn’t simply think about the strange and dramatic events surrounding the birth of her child. She moved past them to consider the significance of her baby, Jesus. She drilled down into her heart and mind the awesome reality of God entering our space, time, and world in the person of Jesus.
The Christmas script is compelling not because of the setting of the story, but because of the significance of the main character. Babies were born every day in Bethlehem, maybe in even less pleasant places than livestock sheds. But God becoming a baby and pouring himself into humanity – that is attention getting! It is worth deep contemplation and reverence.
God inserting Himself into humanity to save it makes for a powerful plot line. Angels sang, shepherds ran, and kings traveled for the express purpose of worshiping “The One.” We lose the significance of Christmas if we lose sight of the significance of its main character. Jesus came to Earth and died for the joy of giving us eternal life (so we can have connection with God right now). And He did it so that when our Earth lives end, we can have assurance of being with Him. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. Remember to reflect on and treasure Jesus, the reason for the season.
New Sermon: Jesus is the Reason for the Season
* Thinking Deeply about Jesus *