A LIVING NATIVITY
Sometimes, it’s difficult to enjoy Christmas when we’re too busy to stop and savor the holiday. For most of us, it feels like the Christmas season gets shorter and shorter each year. This sermon series takes you back to the foundation of the Christmas story, revealing the joy and celebration it brings to all those who place their faith in Christ. Christmas changes everything. God has come to us in the form of Jesus! He is literally “God with us.”
Read the Sermon Summary below
A Living Breathing Nativity
How God make turn our adversities into our advantage
“Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” C.S. Lewis
The day after Thanksgiving is a big day for our family because it’s the day we start getting into the Christmas spirit. That Friday, we blast old and new Christmas music as we transform our house into the best Winter Wonderland that we can. After both the house and the tree are lit with lights, we huddle around the TV to watch our first Christmas movie of the year.
Regardless of the decade it was filmed, Christmas movies have one simple and obvious thing in common. They all narrate a story unfortunate events which is magically resolved by the end credits. Overcoming the adversity as everything go wrong in every way imaginable is what makes these films feel so right. It gives us joy and hope to know that our circumstances can change for the better. This theme is not only present in most films but is also clearly seen in the original Christmas story. Jesus birth is more than just a story. It is a real life even that gives us hope by teaching us that God can use any adversity and use it for our advantage.
Like most families in Christmas movies, Joseph and Mary would see an amazing situation seem to go from bad to worst at a rapid pace. Joseph was ready to start his new life with his great girl. While he is preparing his house for his future family, Mary, his engaged wife, sets off to visit her cousin Elizabeth in a different town. Marriage customs in ancient Jewish culture are far different from our. When a couple would get married, they wouldn’t set off to some exotic location for their Honeymoon. Instead, the husband would go and prepare a place for his new bride in his hometown, while the wife was to wait and save herself for her husband. Being intimate was not allowed for one year. Could you imagine living in a culture where you would have to wait 365 days AFTER the wedding to kick off the honeymoon?
A thousand things must have been flying around Joseph’s mind when Mary drops the bomb that she is pregnant with the Son of God, all while still remaining a virgin, fulfilling the old prophecy found in Isaiah 7:14. The initial shock must’ve been tramatic, but after entertaining the possibility of having to raise this special child, the reality had to have set in that Mary would have gotten pregnant during her betrothal period. The consequence of this was death! This is why Joseph wanted to divorce Mary quietly, in order to save her life because he loved her so much (Matthew 1:18-25). He had the right to have Mary stoned to death, yet he chose to deal with the shame of divorce than rather execute his true love. He was a good man. You can see why God would choose him to father His Son, who would one day bare the shame of our sin so that we may live.
If Joseph was struggling mentally with this situation, you could imagine what Mary was going through. Again, accepting this pregnancy could’ve been a death sentence. She could’ve been rejected and despised by everyone. Yet her faith outweighed her fears and she declared a sentence that all Jesus followers should live by. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38 ESV). What a great character trait for the woman who would have to be Jesus’ mom. This confidence was not in her ability but rather it was rooted in God’s promise that “Nothing will be impossible” for Him (Luke 1:37 ESV).
It’s amazing to see how things had come full circle. In the beginning, a woman believed the lies of the devil, leading her to stubble and causing her husband to sin. This sequence opened the door for the curse of sin to reck havoc on mankind and all creation. Thousands of years later, a woman believes the Truth of God, leader her to obedience and inspiring her husband to do the same. This sequence launched the redemption of the world that would make it possible to reverse the curse of sin!
This was just the beginning for this special family. They had to face many more obstacles, yet through each one they would see God do the impossible and turn their adversity into their advantage as their own enemies played a helping hand in fulfilling the necessary Biblical prophecy for the Messiah. God can do the same in your life too as long as you follow Joseph and Mary’s example. They made room in their hearts for Jesus. If you want to see God doing impossible things in your life, then you too need to BE a nativity.
The manger that Jesus was laid in was not perfect. Nor was it clean. It was a feeding trough for animals. Yet it still carried the King of Kings. Mary and Joseph were not perfect people/parents (they actually lost Jesus one time on a trip in HSHDH ??:??), yet they raised the Son of God. You and I are not qualified to properly house Jesus in our hearts. But when we act like a nativity and receive Him as Lord, the dirt of sin is washed away and we become sons & daughters of God who carry His name forever!
The first nativity was temporary because Jesus eventually had to go from the manger, to the cross, to the grave, and then to the throne. But the nativity in our hearts is eternal. He will never outgrow us or abandon us because that is not His nature. Remember that His name, Immanuel, means “God with us”. What joy it should bring to our hearts to know that we never without when God is with us. Jesus reiterated this promise as He was ascending to Heaven, encouraging the apostles and us today not to fear because He would be with us until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). If God can provide for Joseph and Mary in their adversity and circumstances in the way He did, then He can do the same through you today. After all, if a virgin could give birth to the promised Messiah, then what can’t God do through you!