December 25, 2005
“Christmas Without Christ”
INTRODUCTION: Luke sets the events of the gospel against the background of world history. The pagan emperor's decree about a census created the situation in which the Messiah was born in David's city of Bethlehem.
Jesus did not bring political peace to the world, but he made it possible for men and women to have peace with God. Charles Wesley (1:183) interprets the message as “Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.” Yet, to a skeptical world this is too much! Have you grown tired of Christmas? Do you believe possibly that Scrooge was right? Consider our text for today.
Christmas is bunk, unless…
Christ is born anew in us. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11
In worldly terms Christmas is a happy time in terms of parties, banquets, gifts and friends. This is happiness that may wither with the Christmas tree which is discarded soon after Christmas day. Our joy is different. In fact, joy is far different then happiness. It is deeper because it is based on good news. A Savior is born to save us from our sin. It is a joy that remains long aft the Christmas celebration is over. For this reason people who are unhappy at Christmas because of unfortunate circumstances can still have experience this Christmas joy.
Transition: Christmas is bunk unless Christ is born anew in us. You must also experience the worship of Christ.
Worship of Christ child is experienced. “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” Luke 2:15-16
With a heightened sense of excitement and determination, the shepherds rushed off to the baby's side. Notice the missionary interest of Luke in the spread of the gospel, this thing..., which the Lord has told us about. (v.15)
In the recorded history of the world, there have been few years of universal peace. There has been very little peace among nations since the first Christmas. How can Jesus then be called the “Prince of Peace”? The peace Jesus brings is not necessarily peace among men but peace between God and humanity. Only when spiritual peace prevails will there be peace among nations. There will not be peace between God and people until Christ is accepted by faith.
Transition: The bunk of Christmas disappears when salvation’s joy is found.
The joy of Christmas is the joy of salvation. “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Luke 2:10
The angel's announcement includes several of the most frequently used words in Luke's gospel: " I bring . . . good news," "joy," "today," "Savior," and "Lord." This shows the tremendous importance of the angelic pronouncement.
It is a bold proclamation of the Gospel at the very hour of Jesus' birth. The time has come for the fulfillment of the prophetic expectation of Messiah's coming.
Christmas was a communication event. The shepherds told the Holy Family what the angel said. If Christmas is good news, it must be told. It is told spontaneously. Here is good news! What has been promised and longed for over thousands of tears has at last happened.
CONCLUSION: The cradle of Christianity is evangelism – the telling of good news to sinners that they might have life in Christ. This leads to a joyous celebration because for us a Savior has been born!