The extraordinary challenge of the Saviours Birth

Advent 2022  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  12:28
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Luke 2:1-21
Scene 1. Imagine a huge party being held on your birthday in your honour.
There are presents and gifts and special speeches.
More food and alcohol is consumed than at any other time of the year.
Everyone considers the event so important that it is declared a public holiday.
In fact it is so important that they make the day after a public holiday as well.
But you the guest of honour are completely and utterly forgotten.
Left out, ignored.
And to make matters worse someone else makes themself the centre of attention.
You know the type, the life of the party.
Noisier than everyone else.
Always loud and jolly and in your face.
How would you feel, if that happened to you?
Scene 2. Jesus birth was a bit like that!
What was seen on earth was obscure; out of the way no big fuss, only a handful of people were there.
In fact there wasn’t even any room for Jesus at his birthday.
The Gospel according to Luke in Chapter 2 describes the circumstances for us. Luke 2:1-7
Luke 2:1–7 (NLT)
1 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
The baby Jesus wasn’t the centre of attention, the emperor’s census was.
His parents weren’t extraordinary people in the eyes of the town.
They were poor and of little consequence, no room was specially reserved for them
They ended up with only a stable and that was only because Mary was obviously about to give birth.
And the baby Jesus, he ended up being placed in an animal feed trough.
No special cot for him.
No crowd of relatives gathered to celebrate.
In fact Mary probably had to make do with Joseph and possibly a midwife or two.
This child, which we claim to be extraordinary, was born in the simplest most ordinary situation.
Poor, unnoticed, in an insignificant out of the way town.
At this point in history, the human being who best understands who God is and what he is doing is a teenage girl in a smelly stable.[1]
Scene 3. But in heaven things were different; the birth of Jesus was an event of cosmic proportions.
All heaven had been anticipating this event.
Night-shift shepherds don’t usually get to hear angels sing and see God in a stable.[2]
But on this day they did; they were woken by an explosion of light from heaven and a symphony of angels.[3]
This is no ordinary birth.
This is the most extraordinary event of all time.
Down through the eons of time God had promised a saviour and now he is keeping that promise.
This is not a saviour from the oppressive Roman occupation.
This is a saviour from the all-pervasive shackles of sin and death.
This is the promised messiah, the chosen one.
The ruler who will bring God to his people in a new way.
This is the Lord.
The one who will fulfil all the promises of the Old Testament.
He will challenge every person, for here is the expected and longed for Saviour.
Scene 4. We are each asked the question,
Is the birth, life and death of Jesus some obscure event, which we only notice a couple of, times a year?
Or is it the earth shattering cosmic event, which challenges and changes us every day?
The writer Max Lucado puts it this way;
“This baby had overlooked the universe.
These rags keeping him warm were the robes of eternity.
His golden throne room had been abandoned in favor of a dirty sheep pen.
And worshiping angels had been replaced with kind but bewildered shepherds.
Meanwhile, the city of Bethlehem hums.
The merchants are unaware that God has visited their planet.
The innkeeper would never believe that he had just sent God into the cold.
And the people would scoff at anyone who told them the Messiah lay in the arms of a teenager on the outskirts of their village.
They were all too busy to consider the possibility.
Those who missed His Majesty’s arrival that night missed it not because of evil acts or malice; no, they missed it because they simply weren’t looking.
Little has changed in the last two thousand years, has it?”[4]
Scene 5. One day we will stop celebrating Jesus birthday here on earth, instead Jesus will hold the ultimate party in heaven.
But only those who recognise him now as the extraordinary king of heaven and earth will get an invite to that party.
Let me ask, where is your invitation?
Have you been paying attention to Jesus?
The extraordinary King of Heaven & Earth.
The one who came to restore our relationship with God.
You see each and everyone of us has left Jesus out.
Instead of our lives being lived in perfect relationship with God we have let someone else take over.
It might not be the jolly loud guy in the red suit.
It might be our work, our wealth, our hobby, our family, ourselves.
But we have each left Jesus out, his Lordship as our saviour and creator is what the party is meant to be all about.
This Christmas Jesus invites you to make him the centre of all you are and all you do, now and for eternity.
Because that is his rightful place.
He is after all God with us.
He simply asks that you give him his rightful place and he will extend to you an invitation to join him
All are welcome, the poor, the rich, the outcast and the socially acceptable, there is no special treatment.
The King of heaven and earth is Jesus; his greatest desire is that you will be at his party; will you be?
[1] Lucado, M. 1992. And the angels were silent. Multnomah: Portland, Or. [2]Lucado, M. 1992. And the angels were silent. Multnomah: Portland, Or. [3]Lucado, M. 1987. God came near: Chronicles of the Christ. Multnomah Press: Portland, Or. [4]Lucado, M. 1987. God came near: Chronicles of the Christ. Multnomah Press: Portland, Or.
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