“Its Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”
written by Reverend Bill Ferguson
New Testament Scripture Reading: ……………… Luke 2: 1 – 20, Matthew 1: 18 – 25 & Matthew 2: 1 – 12
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmases, everywhere you go,” That’s how an old song, sung by Bing Crosby, began. Christmas decorations in store windows or the shopping malls and Christmas music, playing over the intercom system, help to set the mood. Yes, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Come to think of it, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas the week before Halloween in some of the stores.
It seems to happen earlier each year. Stores put up Christmas decorations. Newspapers and Television ads announce “The perfect Christmas gift.” TV stations advertise, “Get more Christmas for less” and “Save on Christmas this year.” Toy commercials punctuate television shows. It’s all so commercial – so materialistic. I have to ask isn’t there something down deep that we are missing? Where is Baby Jesus?
When I was younger, I thought that this time of the year was when people think about God and good will toward mankind more than they do at any other time. I still believe that is the feeling we should have. Yet, recent news startle and awaken us to a reality that reveals a hurting society. Mixed in between the commercials, decorations and music we know that all is not well. Tragic, headlines call out; “Another suicide Bomb in Iraq” & “Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death.” And there are other stories too: a drunken husband shooting his wife on Thanksgiving Day. What was his excuse? He said she nagged too much. Then there’s the story about someone’s Daddy shooting another Daddy in an argument over a Toy. I understand it was the last one in stock. Tragic and never-ending stories dot the newspapers and it happens every year – heart breaking news mixed with the sounds of joy. I won’t stay here because to dwell on this subject is too depressing.
On the surface there is a lot of tinsel and holly but beneath it all there is great hurt. If believers are not careful, we can get caught up in the secular spirit of Xmas. Notice that I said “Xmas.” That’s what you get when you take Christ out of Christmas. Christmas has been covered up by humanistic secular commercialism for so long that perhaps we need a refresher on what the season is really about – as the old saying goes; “Jesus is the reason for the season.” It is evident that this world needs a Savior. Friend, there is good news. There is one.
Believers set this time aside each year to celebrate the birth of the Savior of all humankind. We recognize this holiday as the fulfillment of the promised Messiah who was Jesus of Nazareth.
The cheerful “Merry Christmas” greeting sometimes gives the impression that everybody is glad that Jesus came to our world. But that isn’t true today and it never was.
The news of Jesus’ birth evoked a mixed reaction. We know from Matthew 2: 10 – 11 that the Magi (who arrived about three years after his birth) joyfully welcomed and worshiped the Messiah. Luke 2: 8 – 20 records the reaction of amazement and wonder by the shepherds and the shock and awe presented to them by the angels. But king Herod and his court was so troubled and worried when he heard about it that he tried to find the baby Jesus and kill him. Most people, however, were unaware of the significance of what had happened.
Today, multitudes honor Jesus and rejoice in their salvation. But many others hate him. And just like Herod in those long ago days, they want to take his name out of the season. You’ve heard it. For fear of offending someone they say; “Happy Holidays” not “Merry Christmas.” They grumble about the singing of Christmas carols in malls and schools and the display of nativity scenes in public places. Others are apathetic. Oh, they go along with the celebration of the season and they may join in singing Christmas carols, but they never ask who Jesus is or why he came to our world. They don’t think of their need for a Savior or a need to believe on him and receive him as their Savior.
Today’s Christmas message is asking: Are you among the indifferent? Friend, to ignore Jesus and his claim is to reject him. Christmas demands a decision about the Messiah. The choice is yours. The choice we make has eternal consequences or rewards.
Although millions celebrate Jesus’ birthday, there are many who seem to be unaware of its real significance. Think about it. The baby born in Bethlehem was born to die. For the Christian, Jesus is the Passover lamb found in Exodus 12
We know from Luke 2:15-16 that when Jesus was born, shepherds came to honor him. We know from Matthew 2:8-12 that three years later wise men from the East and brought him gifts. These people had no idea what Jesus would eventually accomplish as an adult. But they were right in doing what they did, because Jesus’ birth was the most remarkable event in human history.
How amazing, God in human form. God in the flesh. The Creator of the universe visiting this world. Friends, never hesitate to celebrate this baby at Christmas. Let us marvel together at his incarnation and let us stand in awe of the tiny baby who had created his worshipers. Then let us stand back in wonder, for the story gets even better. This baby grew into manhood, lived a perfect life, and willingly died for our sins. Friends, we can not look at the manager without seeing the cross.
Have you accepted God’s gift of Salvation? If not, I invite you to do so today. If you do, I promise you that this will be the most meaningful Christmas you have ever had. Then you can truly say; “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”
Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we praise your name. Thank you for the most perfect Christmas Gift ever.
In Your Son’s name we pray. Amen.
We invite you to worship with us at Sherrill United Methodist Church 118 West Main Street, Sherrill, Arkansas. We are located on highway 15 North just 15 miles from Pine Bluff and 11 miles from England. Worship begins at 9:30 A.M. and Sunday School begins at 10:30 A.M.