DON’T MISS CHRISTMAS  

 

Theme: Being too busy may cause us to miss the importance of the season

 

Text: Matthew 2: 2-5, “Where is He who was born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet.”

Luke 2:6-7, “So it was that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manager, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

 

 Since Halloween we all have been bombarded with Christmas sale fliers. For most of us, it would seem impossible to think that someone could miss Christmas. But, for the Christian, there is more to Christmas than all of the decorations, the parties, the music and the shopping. If your Christmas only involves those things, then it probably is possible to miss Christmas.

 

Note the three main characters that missed the first Christmas:

1.    The innkeeper

2.    The religious leaders

3.    King Herod

  In the passages of Scripture above we are reminded that there were some who missed the importance of that first Christmas. There was the innkeeper. The innkeeper missed Christmas because he was too busy. It wasn't his fault. He didn't set that time for the entire household of David to come to the small city of Bethlehem to be taxed. But the truth of the matter is the fact that Christmas was happening right under his nose and he missed it because he was too busy.

There were the religious leaders. There was not one religious leader who showed up for the birth of Jesus. It wasn't because they were ignorant of the fact a birth would take place. They had been teaching about and hoping for this blessed event for centuries. When the wise men came to Jerusalem and asked if anyone knew where the child would be born, Herod called in all of the religious leaders and they told him that related to him the Old Testament Scriptures in Micah 5:2 , “ But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” The religious leaders knew that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

 

The interesting point that I find in this account is the fact that none of the religious leaders followed the wise men to Bethlehem. They had been looking for the coming of the Messiah for centuries. And when a group of wise men came from a long way off to search for the Messiah, they are indifferent to the search. They were so caught up in their rituals and traditions that they were oblivious to the birth of their Messiah, Jesus.

There was another person who missed the birth. That person was Herod. Herod was called the King of the Jews. It is ironic that he acquired that title. The Romans gave him that title because he wanted to be a king. He wasn't even a Jew. Apparently, he was a terrible leader, because history tells us that no one liked him.

Herod was paranoid. He thought everyone was after his throne. History tells us that out of fear someone would seize his throne; he had his mother killed, his brother-in-law killed; he had his wife murdered; he had two sons murdered, and five days before he died, he had his remaining sons killed thinking they would get his throne. He was the original Saddam Hussein. The Bible tells us that when the wise men came and asked if he knew where the king of the Jews was supposed to be born, he panicked. When he found out that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, he had every baby under the age of two killed, thinking they were a threat to his throne.

I find it very interesting when you look at all three of those together, you find the innkeeper too busy, the religious leaders were indifferent and King Herod was afraid. I find those three reasons to be the same reasons people miss Christmas today. They are either afraid, indifferent or too busy. I believe that most of you reading these scriptures are wanting a fresh encounter with the Savior. So, therefore, , I want to remind each one on how not to miss Christ at Christmas.

I. STOP AND MAKE TIME FOR YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE

If you have a deep desire to meet Christ this Christmas, then you will have to make time for Him. I know that is easier said than done.

There are many factors that go into making you who you are. There are the physical factor, the emotional factor, the social factor and the spiritual factor just to name a few. For most of us, our life is out of balance. We have a tendency to focus only on one area of life at a time. There are some who only focus on the physical area of their life. Their body is in terrific shape, but that is only thing in their life that is in good shape. There are those in who have their financial life in great shape. They get up each day wondering how they can keep what they have and make more. They have their financial world in great shape but their family may be falling apart. There are some  who are social animals. They live for the next party. They don't think they have time for God. But I'm here to tell you that your spiritual life needs attention also. If you want to have a fresh encounter with Jesus this Christmas, then you have to make time for the spiritual. And if you don't have that, then your life is out of balance.

Psalm 39:6, “Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: he bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.” Would you agree with me that we are a lot busier than we used to be? Would you agree that you can get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life? I know people who get up in the morning go to work, come home watch TV and go to bed. That is the very existence of their life. They are not living. They are only existing.

Would you like to know the antidote for that kind of life? Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” Circle the first couple of words, “Be still.” Someone has said, “All of man's problems come from his inability to sit still.” I find it interesting that the first ones to receive the message of the birth of Christ were the shepherds. Why? Because they were quiet long enough to listen. They were not too busy to hear God speak. If God tried to call some of us, He would get a busy signal. If you think that you don't have time for God, then you are too busy. If, at anytime during the month of December, you have thought or said that you were too busy for Christmas, then you are too busy.

 Proverbs 10:27, “Fear of the Lord adds length to life, . . . “ In the Living Bible it says, “Reverence for God adds hours to each day.”

How many of you in the past few days have said, “I need more time?” Well, here is your answer. If you put God first in your life, He will give you more time. I am sure there is someone here who is thinking. “I don't have time for God.” You can't afford to have time away from God. So, if your heart's desire is not to miss Christ this Christmas, then you will have to make time for Him.

Let me give you a project this next week. At sometime during these holidays, take the time to ask yourself, “What has been the direction for my life during 2008?” Do you have the priorities of your life in order? If you don't have God at the top, then your life is out of balance.

Take the time this next week to ask yourself the tough questions. Is my life in balance? What place does God have in my life? I promise you this, if you will take the time to do this next week, then take proper actions as a result of the inventory, you will not miss Christmas.

As I was thinking about the innkeeper, I thought about his encounter with Mary and Joseph. If he had let Mary and Joseph and the unborn child have a room, then he would have to displace someone. Isn't that right? There is a truth here to be seen. Anytime you invite Christ into your life, there will be things that have to go to make room for Him. To know the true meaning of Christmas, you first must stop. You also will have to look.

 

II. LOOK: HONESTLY INVESTIGATE WHO CHRIST IS.

Notice that is exactly what Herod told the wise men to do. In Matthew 2:8, “Go and make a careful search for the child.” You and I both know that the reason Herod told them to do that, was not the best of motives. But I am telling you to do this because I believe if you will take an honest look at the birth of Christ and the reason for His birth, you will be amazed at what you discover.

Have you ever thought about the phenomenal happening here in the journey of the wise men? These men were wise and are remembered in history because they took time to check out this miraculous event happening in the sky. They did not know the prophesies of the Old Testament; but they were curious enough to go the extra mile to learn about this unique event. That is why they call them “wise.”

I am amazed at the number of people who celebrate Christmas year after year without having a clue as to what the true meaning of Christmas is. They will put up the tree. They will buy presents. They will make their biannual visit to a worship service without a clue as to who this Christ is and the reason for Christmas.

The Bible says that Jesus Christ is God. Jesus said that He was God. If He is God, then we had better listen to what He had to say. If He isn't God, then He was the biggest con man to have ever lived. Why is it that more than a billion people today and the next week will celebrate the birth of this child in a worship service? The reason is that almost two thousand years ago, God came to earth so we could relate to Him. Because of this great event, all of the history is divided into BC and AD. Every time you write a date you acknowledge His birth.

He came to earth in the same way that you and I came to earth. He was born into this world. If He had wanted to reveal Himself to ants, He would have come as an ant. If He had wanted to reveal himself as a dog, He would have come as a dog. But His sole purpose in coming to the earth was to reveal Himself to mankind. He could have done it in a more miraculous way. He could have done it with a tremendous light show. He could have done it through a holocaust. If He had, we would have all run in fear. So He came as a baby. Why? Because no one is scared of a baby. We were able to see Him grow and live. We could understand that the way Jesus did it is the way He would have us to live.

Jeremiah 29:13, “God says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Will you understand it all? No, but that does not mean that you cannot benefit from it. I don't understand anything about internal combustion. That does not keep me from driving a car. I don't understand everything there is about airplanes. That does not keep me from enjoying the convenience of flying. There is a lot about the world that I don't understand, but it does not mean that I can't enjoy life and benefit from it. You may not understand everything as you journey through life.as a Christian.  If a billion people will worship the Lord Jesus Christ in the next week, someone is saying, “He changed my life.” We all can't be wrong. Check Him out.

 

III. LISTEN: DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE GOOD NEWS

Luke 2:10-11, “The angel said, 'Fear not: I bring you good news of great joy! ... a Savior has been born for you-he is Christ the Lord!”

 It is interesting to me that the first thing this angel said was, “Don't be afraid . . . “ The truth is that the primary reason most people do not get close to God is that they are afraid. What are they afraid of? I believe the reason they are afraid falls into three areas:

1. They will lose their fun
2. They will lose their freedom
3. They are afraid they will become a fanatic

They are afraid that if they become a Christian, then they can't have fun any longer. They have been told all of their life that Christianity is a bunch of don'ts. Listen. Jesus did not come to earth to tell us not to do anything. He came to get us to do something. Have you ever thought about the fact that if being a Christian is just not doing anything, then anyone who is dead would qualify?

There are others who think if they become a Christian, the party is over. Life will become one big miserable experience. Their idea of God is that God is one big cosmic killjoy. He is waiting for us to make one false move, “Bingo, I got you!” Get serious. You have not bothered checking it out. And then there are those who think that if they become a Christian, people will think they are a fanatic. Don't reject Christ because of everything that is done or not done in His name. You must get rid of your fears.

The Bible tells us not to fear, “because unto us is born a Savior . . . “ What is a Savior?

I think it can best be explained by an article I read. It said, “If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer. But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.” I don't know about you, but I don't measure up to my own standard, much less God's. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We are all in need of a Savior.

You lose your fear when you realize why Jesus came to earth. John 10:10, “I have come so that you may have life, and have it to the fullest.”. Christianity is not a religion. It is a lifestyle. He did not say, “I have come that you might have religion.” No! He said, “I have come that you might have life.” Jesus did not come to give us religion. Why? Because religion is only man's attempt to get to God. It is man's attempt to gain God's favor. The Bible says God came to earth to show us that we already have His approval. He approves of us so much that He wants to have a relationship with us.

You lose your fear when you realize why God came into the world. John 3:17, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save the world through him.” Jesus is saying, “I did not come into the world to get you or scare you, but to save you.”

My advice to you is this. If you want to experience Christ this Christmas, then Stop, Look and Listen.

 

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