IT WAS CHRIST WHO CAME TO TOWN NOT SANTA
January 1, 2023
IT WAS CHRIST WHO CAME TO TOWN
Luke 2: 1-20
Christmas is literally the day on which the world celebrates the birth of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Our calendar is built on the birth of the Lord Jesus (BC and AD). This birth was so monumental that it became the high point of history, the peak, the apex. All history before this birth is B.C. Before Christ. All history since is A.D., Anno Domini, Latin for “the year of the Lord.” The birth of God in human form, then is the most important moment in all history. The truth that He was born is much meaningful than where and exactly when Jesus was born.
The Christmas story begins in the little town of Bethlehem in Israel over 2,022 years ago, a baby was born whose life was destined to affect countless millions. The world knew not of His birth. Work went on as usual. Cathedral bells failed to ring; bands were silent; no royal choruses burst forth in song. Only the music of heaven was heard. In fact, God had to arrange a welcome for Himself, and legions of angels circled the skies and heralded His birth. Out in the fields, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds who were tending their flocks of sheep by night. The angel announced that the Savior had been born in the town of David. When Jesus was born it wasn’t just some baby born in a manger, it was the revelation of all the glory of God Himself wrapped in flesh named Immanuel – God with us!
It was Christ who came to town, and not Santa! The primary focus of Christmas is, the child in the manger was the incarnation of God! I say it again, “It was Christ who came to town, and not Santa! Help me to refresh your memory about what happened that Christmas day.
I. A PROVIDENTIAL DECREE v. 1-5
(Caesar Augustus ordered a decree (ruling, mandate, decision etc.) for the taxing, not a lucky coincidence that resulted in Jesus being born in Bethlehem. It was by divine providence that this decree was established.)
A. The Promise – The taxation was used by God to fulfill His plan for the birth. It has been prophesied that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, Micah 5:2, and Scripture had to be fulfilled. Joseph and Mary lived in Galilee, and Mary was now great with child. How was God going to make sure that the child was born in Bethlehem? The taxation happened just at the right time and in the right way; that is, everyone had to return to the city of his birth to pay his taxes. God was miraculously controlling the events of the world, working all things out for good so that He might fulfill His promise to send the savior into the world.
B. The Problem – Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth. They had no idea that they would have to travel to Bethlehem for taxation. An 80 mile trip would be very difficult for a pregnant woman. Joseph was of the house of David, Luke 1:27, Bethlehem was a city of David. God was in control every activity to ensure that His plan will be fulfilled. He even used a pagan emperor fulfill His divine plan!
It was Christ who came to town, not Santa
II. A PROMISED DELIVERY v. 6-7
There was the shocking place of birth. Jesus was not born in comfortable surroundings. Shockingly, he was born in a stable and laid in a manger or feeding trough.
A. Jesus was born in a smelly stable. He was neglected and turned away by men from the very beginning. There was no room in the inn and Mary was about to deliver. If someone had cared, room could have been made for her.
B. Jesus was born in poverty.
C. Jesus was born in obscurity and loneliness. The birth took place away from people, all alone. Note that Mary herself wrapped the child in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger.
D. Jesus was born in humiliation. He did not enter the world….
· In a hospital
· In a comfortable home
· In the home of a friend or relative
· Under a doctor’s care
· Under the stars of heaven, nor even out in the open
· But in a smelly stable, the lowest imaginable place for a birth.
E. The purpose of Jesus’ birth was the salvation of the soul of man. Jesus was a baby born to die. He came down to be our Savior.
It was Christ who came to town, not Santa
III. A POWERFUL DISPLAY v. 8-20
There was the unbelievable appearance of a real angel to shepherds. In the eyes of many, an angel would never appear to a shepherd. Shepherds would seldom be found praising and worshipping God; as a result, they were looked upon as anything but worshippers. Their reputation was lowly at best, and religious people snubbed and ignored them. They were despised because they were unable to attend services and to keep the ceremonial laws of washing and cleansing. Their flocks just kept them too busy. What a beautiful foretaste of the salvation to come: God gave the Shepherds the first birth announcement.
A. The angel’s appearance was that of splendor and glory. This was
the shekinah’s glory. v. 9
B. The angel’s message was one of reassurance and good news v. 9. He proclaimed the Messiah’s birth and charged the shepherds to visit the child. He gave them a sign: they would find the babe lying in a manger v. 12.
C. There was the spectacular appearance of the heavenly host v. 13-14
1. They cried out for glory to be lifted up to God.
2. They cried out for peace, for good will toward men.
D. There were the excited shepherds seeking evidence v. 15-18
1. They immediately decided to visit. “They said one to another, let us now go…” v. 15
2. They rushed to see for themselves.
3. They shared the message.
4. They caused a stir among the people v. 18
IT WAS CHRIST WHO CAME TO TOWN, NOT SANTA
Responsive Reading: Luke 2:1-20