The First Christmas:
Everyone’s experience of Christmas is different. For some this is truly the most wonderful time of the year. These people revel in the gift-giving, home-decorating extravaganza of this month. For others this season is marked by sadness as they are reminded of a loved one’s absence. For still others, the holidays just mean more complexities, more expenses, and more stress. No matter how you approach the month of December, one thing is clear- every Christmas is connected to the First Christmas. And in this series, we are going to explore the real stories of the real people around this most significant event. We will discover how Christ’s arrival to this planet affected them. We will also see how that first Christmas can still impact our world today.
Sermon Series: The First Christmas
Sermon 1: The Shepherds
Have you ever been in a place where you felt you didn’t belong? For some reason, you didn’t quite fit? It could be you felt inferior. Or maybe you felt out-numbered. We probably have all had moments (whether real or perceived) when we were the odd-person out. If you can relate, then today’s Christmas message about the some hard working Shepherds should be helpful to you.
- Blue collar
- Sometimes despised by other cultures
- When close to Jerusalem, often considered ceremonially “unclean”. (Leviticus 11:39-40)
“The people of the town scorned the shepherds. They were wanderers. They had no roots. They seldom married and, when they did, they stripped the soil from the hillsides exposing soft white rock beneath. The men carved dwellings in these hills and raised their families remote from the town”
(Jim Bishop in The Day Jesus Was Born)
What would God say to someone who may not exactly fit into a “churchy” kind of environment? Here is what He said to one group of men who often felt on the outskirts of the religious community.
- God has a message for you. (Luke 2:8-11)
- Brought Good News (εὐαγγελίζω) verb- meaning the act of heralding or announcing a victory for the country in a distant land.
- This Good News causes GREAT JOY
- It’s for all the people (παντι τω λαω)
This message is for
– Those who are Bible scholars and for those who are Bible newbies
– Those who grew up in a God centered homes and those who come from broken homes where the mention of God was used only for cursing.
– Those who are trained in religion and those who have been trained to avoid religion
-Those who have long loved God and for those who would be totally surprised that God loves them
- God has plan. (Luke 2:13-14)
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Peace happens when we open ourselves up to God’s plan. And God’s plan includes an Army of Angels.
στρατιά (stratiá)- An army, in particular a ground force that was used to set up a perimeter and investigate a particular piece of land.
- God has a mission. (Luke 2:15-18)
From the very beginning, the nature of the Gospel caused people to share it.
Not a Believer Yet?
No matter who you are or what you have done the Good News of Christmas is for you.
Already a Believer?
No matter where you are the Good News of Christmas is a great message to share.