The People Who Missed Christmas Sermon

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the people

who missed christmas

John 1:10-12 (NIV) 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— [1]

I. Introduction:

A.   Have you ever missed a great opportunity? The story is told of a small resort area along the east coast that was having an open town meeting concerning some financial problems they were facing. Among the two dozen or so people was one man no one seemed to know who was apparently visiting the area and had just dropped in on the meeting. He started to make a comment as various projects were considered but he was interrupted; so for the rest of the time, he kept still and finally left early.                                                                                                     Just as he went out, someone arriving late came in and said breathlessly, “What was he doing here? Is he going to help us out?” The rest of them said, “Who are you talking about? Who was that man?” The person who had just arrived said, “You don’t know who that was? That was John D. Rockefeller.” That night they missed an incredible opportunity because THEY DIDN’T KNOW WHO HE WAS!

B.   We miss some incredible opportunities because we don’t recognize them when they’re right in front of our face. Andy Stanley made the statement in his book “Visioneering” that “We don’t need to pray for more miracles, we just need to be more sensitive to the opportunities that God brings our way.”

C.   The story is told of a shoe salesman who was sent by his company to test the African market. After being there only 2 weeks, he sent word back to America, “Please bring me home, nobody wears shoes over here.” The company brought him home and sent another salesman to replace him. In a couple of weeks, the second salesman sent word back to America saying, “Please send me all the shoes you can because nobody here has shoes.” OUR ATTITUDE AND PERSPECTIVE HAVE A LOT TO DO WITH WHETHER WE EMBRACE OR MISS THE BLESSING.

D.   Today I want to look at the people in the Bible who missed that first Christmas and how we can be sure not to miss it this year.

II. The Inn Keeper – His life was too crowded for Christ

A.   Luke 2:1-7 (NIV)The Birth of Jesus2     In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. [2]

B.   Hotels today love to brag about being the luxury get-away- of the stars. In New Orleans certain hotels boast about the stars that have stayed there.

1. Imagine the story the inn keeper could have told if only he had know who it was that came to his inn seeking refuge.

2. I can see the sign hime would advertise with for years to come: “come stay in the #1 hotel chosen by God himself.”

C.   Why did the Inn keeper miss this incredible opportunity?

1. His inn was too full with other guests.

2. Some people today miss the true meaning of Christmas because our life is too full of “other stuff.”

a)    Shopping

b)    Decorating

c)     Parties

d)    Cooking & baking for get-togethers

e)     Wrapping and mailing packages

f)      All all the other things that we think must be done for Christmas to be successful

3. I heard about a man who was busy with his Christmas shopping. He bought his wife a beautifyl diamond right for Christmas. A friend of his said, “I thought she wanted one of those sporty 4-wheel drive vehicles.” The man replied, “She did, but where am I going to find a fake 4-wheeler?”

4. Don’t miss Christmas in the midst of all the “stuff” that crowds the season.

a)    “We plan to go to church regularly when life calms down a bit for us.”

b)    “Well, my kids have ballgames on Sunday afternoons.”

c)     “I’ll get to church after it gets too cold to fish or golf.”

d)    Many of us would get serious about our relationship with Christ if we weren’t preoccupied with careers, managing families, chasing goals and dreams, materialistic pursuits.

D.   Like the Inn Keeper, if we are not careful, we miss the true message of Chrsitmas because our lives are too  crowded.

III. Townspeople of Bethlehem – too indifferent to take notice of Christ

A.   John 1:10-12 (NIV)10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— [3]

B.   The people of Bethlehem, by and large, missed the greatest birth in all eternity because they were only concerned with their own needs, desires, their own busy, full, and burdened lives.

1. They were too busy to be bothered by this young couple. There were reunion meals to prepare, tax forms to get in order, there were animals to be fed and a night’s rest to be enjoyed.

2. Compared with what was going on just down the street or across town, how important were those activities?

3. Compared with your salvation and eternith, how important are the things that are keeping you from Christ?

a)    Your career? I don’t see God saying, “Oh, you were the Top Salesman? Whell, then by all means you get in!” or

b)    Your house was How Many square feet? Wow! Enter into the gates of Heaven.” I wonder how many people walked by the woman who was carrying the Son of God that night.

C.   Sometimes we are like the people back in those times—indifferent to the most important news of all. “Yeah, Yeah, Jesus came to earth—God in the flesh. I’ve heard this story a hundred times.” “yeah, I know. He died on the cross for our sins. I’m suppose to accept Him as my Savior. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda. There are people that will admit to these truths, but just don’t want to bother to do anything about them.

1. Paul Harvey tells the story of one man who finally understood the significance of the Christmas story. This family had a Christmas Eve tradition where the mother and the children would go to the Christmas Eve service and the father would stay home and read the paper. When the family returned, they would all gather to open up their presents. The father was not an evil man, but he just couldn’t believe in the childhood stories anymore of God coming as a baby in a manger.                                    As the family left for church, he opened up the paper and began to read by the fireplace. Suddenly, he heard tapping on the window. It was a bird flying against the glass, trying to get out of the snow into the warmth of the house. The man had compassion on the bird and he went outside hoping to bring it in. As he approached the bird, it flew against the window even harder—trying to get away from him, finally getting trapped in the bushes below the window. After a few minutes in the cold and seeing the bird continue to injure himself, the man said in frustration, “Stupid bird, can’t you understand that I’m trying to help you?” The man paused and thought, “If only I could become a bird, and get you to understand. Then you wouldn’t fly away from me.” Just then the church bells rang as they always did on the hour. But, when the man heard the bells this time, he fell to his knees and began crying, saying, “Oh God, I didn’t understand.”

2. You see, we must never miss the miracle of what happened that night so long agao. May be never become indifferent to the wond that truly is Christmas.

IV. King Herod – saw Jesus as a threat

A.   Matthew 2:3 (NIV) 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed and all Jerusalem with him. [4]

B.   Many at that time knew about the ancient prophecies regardin the Messiah who was to come and be the king of the Jews. The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem and be the ruler of the Jewish people. As we’ve studied, there are over 300 prophecies that were exactly fulfilled by the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Anyone who bothers to look at the clues objectively must notice God’s clear-cut proclamation that Jesus was His Son – the promised Messiah.

1. Many at that time understood it to predict a Military ruler who would cmeo and overthrow the curen government and establish a Jewish nation. Herod was disturbed because he saw this as a challenge to his power. It is interesting to note that Herod took the prophecy of scriptures seriously. He eeventually ordered all the boys born in Bethlehem around that time to be executed.

2. It’s easy to make Herod a villian, but there are many Herod’s around today. There are many people who, like Herod, understand and perhaps even believe the teachings of Jesus. But, Instead of being eternally grateful for what Jesus did and willingly giving their life to Him, they are resentful. They say,

a)    What do you mean “No one comes to the Father except through Jesus.” How narrowminded!

b)    What do you mean I have to surrender my life to God’s will? I worked hard to get to the point in life where I control my own destiny. I’m not going to mindlessly follow some unseen “Savior.”

c)     What do you mean I need to turn from my sin? Who determines what is right or wrong for me? There’s nothing wrong with my current lifestyle. Allyou narrow-minded, ultra-conservative, right-wing, self-righteous Christians can take a hike and leave me alone!.

C.   Like Herod, who waged war in an attempt to rid the world of the baby Jesus, there is a movement at work in the world today that seeks to rid the world of Chrsitian influence. Christmas and Esaster—the holiest holidays to Christians – have been commercialized to be only about Santa Claus and bunny rabbits instead of about our risen Savior. Am I the only one upset that they took Our Chrsitian hiliday, diluted it with secular themes, and now forbid us to publicly celebrate or make mention of its origin and true meaning?

D.   If you think I being melodramatic; A judge in New Jersy has told Jersey City they can’t put up a nativity scene or a Hanukkah Menorah unless they put up enough non-religious symbols to mask the religious one. The Colorado ACLU is threatening to sue a school if the principal refuses to censor Christmas for its students. I could go on with more examples of how Christmas is being “De-Christianized” by our modern society that bows to political correctness above truth.

1. Here is a politically correct Christmas card—I mean “holiday card.”

2. “Please accept without obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice NOT to practice religious or secular traditions at all. And may you enjoy a financially successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects whose contributions to society have helped make America great, (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any  other country or is the only America in the western hemisphere) and having regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of political platform or dietary preference of the wishee. This greeting implies to promise by the wishor to actually implement any of these wishes.

E.   Thank God, it’s not quite that bad yet, but it’s only funny because it’s partly true. Here’s just a bit more humor to help me make my point that we’ve got to fight to preserve the real Christmas.

1. If the ACLU ran the world Christmas day,                             what exaclty would well-wishers say?                                    Since Christmas says “Christ: and He is taboo, would we say, “Merry Xmas” but wasn’t “X” religious too?                                Perhaps “Merry Whymas” but “Why” makes us think, asking why we should bother with gifts, hymns, and drink.                 Especially in winter, in the cold, we might think of Christmas, and that just won’t go.                                                                          The ACLU version of Christmas is clear:                                                 It must just be about the end of the year.                                             No matter how happy or sad we may feel,                                     we may not reach upward for hope that is real.                            Forget all those sweet cards, take all the lights down.                       And somebody clue in that kid—Charlie Brown.                    We’ve been watching his special, the old one, you know.         Where Charlie and friends run their own Christmas show?    That kid with the blanket reads the story from Luke,                    In the ACLU Christmas, the whole thing’s a fluke,                Merry. . .  Merry. . . .  Well, have a nice day!

F.    Now I’m not telling you to run home and take your Christmas tree down and return your presents to Walmart. But shomhow pause to remember the reason for it all. Don’t miss Christmas! Mabe your family needs to plan to read the Christmas story together. Let me urge you to make Christ the purpose of Christmas this year. Christ is the One for Whom Christmas is. We should celebrate Christmas every day. Knowing Christ is like having Christmas every day. I encourage you to ask Jesus into your heart today and discover real purpose, meaning, and hope for your life. Jesus is the reason for this season and the reason we have an eternal hope. Jesus is inviting you to receive Him as your Lord and Savior. Will you honor the invitation?


[1]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984.

[2]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984.

[3]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984.

[4]  The Holy Bible : New International Version. electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984.

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