Keep Christ in Christmas (Matthew 2:1-12)

Keep Christ in Christmas, part 2 (Matthew 2:1-12)

Pastor Steve Rhodes

Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, December 9, 2018

Is it possible to go through the Christmas season and miss Christmas?

A lady had taken her five-year-old son shopping at a large department store during the Christmas season. She knew it would be fun for him to see all the decorations and window displays and toys and Santa Claus. As she dragged him by the hand, twice as fast as his little legs could move, he began to fuss and cry, clinging to his mother’s coat. “Good heavens, what on earth is the matter with you?” She scolded, impatiently. “I brought you with me to get in the Christmas spirit. Santa doesn’t bring toys to little crybabies!”

His fussing continued as she tried to find some bargains during the last minute rush on December 23. “I’m not going to take you shopping with me, ever again, if you don’t stop that whimpering! Oh well, maybe it’s because your shoes are untied and you are tripping over your own laces,” she said, kneeling down in the aisle to tie his shoes.

And as she knelt down beside him, she happened to look around. For the first time, she viewed the department store through the eyes of her five-year-old. From that position there were no baubles, no bangles, beads, presents, gaily decorated display tables, or animated toys. All that could be seen was a maze of corridors too high to see above, full of giant stovepipe legs and huge posteriors. These mountainous strangers, with feet as big as skateboards, were pushing and shoving and bumping and thumping and rushing and crushing. Rather than fun, the scene looked absolutely terrifying! She elected to take her child home and vowed to herself never to impose her version of a good time on him again. On the way out of the store, the mother noticed Santa Claus seated in a pavilion decorated like the North Pole. She knew that letting her little boy meet Santa Claus in person would go a long way toward his remembering the Christmas shopping disaster as a pleasant, rather than unpleasant, experience.

“Honey, go stand in line with the other children, and then sit up on Santa’s lap,” she continued.” Tell him what you want for Christmas, and smile while you’re talking so we can take your picture for the family album.”

Even though a Santa Claus was standing outside the store entrance ringing a bell, and although they had seen another Santa at the previous shopping center, the little five-year-old was pushed forward to enjoy a personal chat with the “real Santa.”

When the strange-looking man with the beard, glasses, and red suit stuffed with pillows hoisted the little boy onto his lap, he laughed loudly and tickled the little boy in the ribs.

“And what would you like for Christmas, son?” Santa boomed jovially.       

“I’d like to get down,” was the little boy’s response.[1]

If you watch television, in Christmas is not about Christ. Watch this:

Elf: Santa’s an imposter:

https://youtu.be/9tIcnydrwFY

We can watch many classic movies and see what Christmas may be about. Think about them:

It’s A Wonderful Life: nothing about Jesus

A Christmas Story: nothing about Jesus

A Christmas Carol: nothing about Jesus

What about television? Little House on the Prairie hardly has Christ in Christmas.

We could go on and on.

As we see these we can realize why the Puritans outlawed Christmas. Christmas was no longer about Jesus. We, as Christians, must make sure our view of Christmas is from the Bible and we keep Christ in Christmas.

Once again, I want to talk to you about keeping Christ in Christmas.

My theme today is keep Christ in Christmas

I want to look at Matthew 2 and show you people who missed Christmas. Don’t be like them. Don’t miss Christmas.

Let’s read Matthew 2:1-12:

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw 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. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet:

‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
Are by no means least among the leaders of Judah;
For out of you shall come forth a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”

Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.12 And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.

  1. Herod missed Jesus (Matthew 2:1ff).
    1. Herod was afraid of another king. Herod was the local king of Jerusalem. Herod was not even Jewish as he was an Edomite which means he was a descendant of Esau. Jewish kings were to be descendants of David.
    2. Herod not only missed Christmas, Matt 2:16 tells us that Herod killed children 2 and under. Herod was so afraid of another king that he slaughtered the children of that age range.
    3. Now, what about you? Have you missed Christmas? I know you might be able to say, “I am here.” But have you really made Jesus Lord? There are many people who want Jesus as a resource or a nice spiritual friend, or even someone to keep us out of hell. But these same people do not want to make Jesus King and call Him Lord.
    4. It is not too late. We should worship Jesus as Lord every day of the year. We should celebrate His birth, life and resurrection every day of the year.
    5. Some of us may have the Herod problem, we do not want another King. We want to be King of our own life. If that is the case we miss Christmas, just like Herod. We will not bow to King Jesus.
  2. The teachers of the law and priests missed Christmas. In Matthew 2:3-4 Herod called them together and asked them where the Messiah was to be born and they responded, “In Bethlehem of Judea…”
    1. They knew this. They had to have known why Herod asked. Why did they not go and look for the Messiah?
    2. I think they were obviously indifferent. They were happy as religious scholars.
    3. Please don’t be indifferent. Acknowledge Christmas. Don’t let the busyness of this time of year rob you of the joy of this time of year.
    4. I think this is an important example of what we face. Many of us become indifferent to Jesus.
    5. So, what happens? Instead of making Jesus the center of Christmas we let culture dictate what Christmas is all about. Our family pays the price. We make Christmas about materialism and NOT about Jesus. We make Christmas about family, which is good, but we neglect Jesus, and that is not good.
    6. It is not too late. Change now, keep Christ in Christmas. Don’t be indifferent to Christ. We do not want Christ to be indifferent to us, do we?
  • I bet that is not all. It appears from Scripture that the people living in the immediate vicinity of the birth of Jesus missed Christmas. He was born in a stable.
    1. Certainly, we know that Mary and Joseph could not find a room. Everyone just went on with their normal life. They were arguing in the streets about the census and missed Christmas. They were arguing about who’s donkey hit who’s donkey and who was at fault and they missed Christmas. They did not notice. They were oblivious that the Savior was being born. They missed Christmas.
    2. I know, I know, they didn’t know any better. No one knew the importance of this baby. They were mostly not accountable, but you are.
    3. You now know. You know the importance of Christmas. Keep Christ in Christmas.
  1. We miss Christmas too. Respond like the magi in verses 10-11.
    1. We need to worship Jesus. These magi came from the east. They had a long journey and they did not miss Christmas. They likely traveled for over a year. They sacrificed. Let’s think of some ideas to keep Christ in Christmas.
    2. Here is an idea, The Nativity Story is a movie that keeps Christ in Christmas. Watch that as a family this year.
    3. Institute family devotions during this Christmas season.
    4. Start praying as a family this Christmas season.
    5. Serve at the Rescue Mission, Heartreach Ministries or the Pregnancy Help Center. Don’t just send money, help in-person. I once heard someone say that his family would serve at a Homeless Shelter on the holidays. It is hard for them to get volunteers on holidays.
    6. Keep Christ in Christmas.

Jesus’ birth changed the world. Don’t miss Jesus. Keep Christ in Christmas.

Please don’t allow the busyness of life, the Christmas shopping, the family get-togethers and everything else keep you from the importance of Christmas.

This dog didn’t miss Christmas:

[1] Swindoll, Charles R. Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Page 83. Exerted from Denis Waitley, Seeds of Greatness.

Jesus’ birth changed the world. Don’t miss Jesus. Keep Christ in Christmas.

Please don’t allow the busyness of life, the Christmas shopping, the family get-togethers and everything else to keep you from the importance of Christmas.

John 3:16 for God so loved you that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

Do you believe that? It is something amazing!

Pray

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

 

God created us to be with Him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means being with Jesus forever. (Rev. 22:5)

 

[1] Swindoll, Charles R. Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Page 83. Exerted from Denis Waitley, Seeds of Greatness.

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