Sunday, December 17, 2017 - Are You Satisfied With Christmas?
Pastor Roger C. Marcos
December 17, 2017
Delivered at North York Church of Christ
Christmas Celebration of Christ Birth
When Pope Julius I authorized December 25 to be celebrated as the birthday of Jesus in A.D. 353, who would have ever thought that it would become what it is today.
When Professor Charles Follen lit candles on the first Christmas tree in America in 1832, who would have ever thought that the decorations would become as elaborate as they are today.
It is a long time since 1832, longer still from A.D 353, longer still from that dark night brightened by a special star in which Jesus the king was born. Yet, as we approach December 25 again, it gives us yet another opportunity to pause, in the midst of all the excitement, bright decorations and expensive commercialization which surround Christmas today, to consider again the event of Christmas and the person whose birth we celebrate.
The Song like "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," "Jingle Bells," and "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" all communicate that Christmas time is to be a joyous, trouble-free season.
How can you improve your level of joy knowing that we are the reason for the season Christ was born-we need a Savior!
Matthew 2:1-15 Read the text
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ” 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
The Escape to Egypt
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Matthew- recognized Jesus THE KING of the Jews, Mark recognized Jesus as a Servant- the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve"(Mark 10:45).Luke recognized Jesus as A Man- The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost," Luke 19:10 KJV John, recognized Jesus as a God.
From the attitudes of these wise men and the events that surrounded their journey, we see how we can raise our level of joy during Christmas.
Church, friends, and family the three Magi set an example to follow in order to elevate our joy.
I. What Do You Seek Most During the Season?
Your level of joy during Christmas is directly related to What it is You Seek.
What is it that would make your Christmas wonderful and satisfying?
Snow? Family together? Finding the right present to give? Getting the present you have been hoping for? The problem with all these is that they can leave us disappointed.
Have you ever had that kind of experience - when you were disappointed by Christmas because it did not deliver what you thought it would? The problem is not Christmas. It is in our expectations. We are looking for the wrong thing.
In the Bible, the three men, thought to be kings or astrologers, followed a star to visit Jesus Christ when he was a baby and gave him presents. They are also called the Three Kings or the Three Wise Men.
The magi show us how to increase our level of joy at Christmas by looking for the right thing. What was it they were looking for? Verse 2 tells us. They came to Jerusalem and said, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." They were looking for Jesus. Christmas for them was an opportunity to worship Jesus.
That is what we need to be looking for and expecting this Christmas - an experience of worship, a fresh glimpse of He who was born King of the Jews. Our goal this SEASON should be to worship Jesus, As the Magi did.
II. Where Do You Look?
Your level of joy during Christmas is directly related to where you look.
We learn from the magi that there are wrong and right places to look for Christmas. They started by looking in the wrong place. They looked where their own human reasoning said they should look. The star indicated the birth of a new king in Israel. The magi went where kings should be born - to the palace of Herod the Great in the capital city of Jerusalem. But what a mistake that was! When Herod heard of the birth of a new king, his jealousy sought to destroy him.
We too, are tempted to look for joy at Christmas in the wrong places. We think by getting or giving the right gift will satisfy us. We imagine that being with family will be joyful. All these can easily disappoint us. You may not be able to afford the right gift for a loved one. Family members may be missing from your holiday celebration. If you are looking to these things for joy, you may be left with a feeling of disillusionment.
The magi looked in the right place when they looked to God. The trip to Jerusalem was not a total loss. While there, they discovered where they should have looked in the first place: the Bible. The scribes in Jerusalem said that, according to the prophet Micah, the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. With this new information, they looked again at the star and followed it to Bethlehem until it stood over the place where Jesus was born.
III. What Do You Give?
Your level of joy during Christmas is directly related to what you give.
The magi came to Jesus' house bearing gifts. The gifts they gave were entirely appropriate. They gave gold, gift for a king. By giving it they acknowledged that Jesus was and is the King. They gave frankincense, a gift for a priest. This was incense the priests used in the Temple. By giving it they acknowledged that Jesus was a priest - the One who would bring us to God. They gave myrrh, gift for the dead. This was a fragrant ointment used to anoint a body before burial. By giving it they acknowledged that Jesus had come to die for the sins of the world.
We ought to give appropriate gifts this Christmas as well. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about material gifts. I am talking about more important things. We ought to give the gift of our love and kindness to our friends and family. We ought to give the gift of our help to those who are hurting. We ought to give the gift of forgiveness to those who have hurt us. Giving these kinds of gifts will result in a joyous and meaningful Christmas.
What are you giving to Jesus this season?
Give your compassion to the hurting. Give your forgiveness to the isolated. And give your heart to Jesus.
I promise you, when you look for the right thing, look in the right places, and give the right gift, you will have joy at Christmas.