Christmas for Christians is just different. Why? Because instead of centering Christmas around family and the general spirit of generosity (all good things), we know the reason for the season is celebrating the coming of God to earth in human flesh.
Before the miracle of God becoming man in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the world was blind to true hope. The Jewish people had been unfaithful to the covenant God made with them. God had promised to raise up a Savior from the line of King David to release them from the punishment for their disobedience, but they misunderstood, thinking this Savior would be an earthly, conquering king to free them from earthly oppression.
The Israelite’s unfaithfulness also had other dramatic effects. Their faithfulness was supposed to result in the light of salvation reaching the ends of the earth, but their unfaithfulness meant that the world was left in darkness. Paul says in Ephesians 1:12 that the people of the nations were “without hope and without God.”
The world was in desperate need of the true Jewish Savior. He wasn’t the type of king born in a palace, but one who was born in a horse stable in Bethlehem. God himself had come down to fully identify with his people. At just the right time, while we were still enemies of God and children of the darkness, hope came down and good news for the world along with him.
Here is the sermon schedule for those who want to read ahead or read along:
- November 16th and 19th —Zechariah’s Response (Luke 1:5-25)
- November 23nd and 26th —Mary’s Response (Luke 1:26-38)
- November 30th and December 3rd —Mary’s Song (Luke 1:39-56)
- December 7th and 10th —The Prophecy of a Coming Messenger (Luke 1:57-80)
- December 14th and 17th —Shepherds and Angels (Luke 2:1-21)
- December 22nd, 23rd, and 24th—My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation (Luke 2:22-38)
Featured Sermon Series Resource:
Hidden Christmas – Timothy Keller
“Even people who are not practicing Christians think they are familiar with the story of the nativity. Every Christmas, displays of Baby Jesus resting in a manger decorate lawns and churchyards, and songs about shepherds and angels fill the air. Yet despite the abundance of these Christian references in popular culture, how many of us have examined the hard edges of this biblical story?
Timothy Keller takes readers on an illuminating journey into the surprising background of the nativity. By understanding the message of hope and salvation within the Bible’s account of Jesus’ birth, readers will experience the redeeming power of God’s grace in a deeper and more meaningful way.”
Desiring God has put together an amazing resource for the advent season (December 1st – December 25th). Check www.desiringgod.com/advent for two separate *free* 25-day daily devotionals written by John Piper to help us adore Christ this Christmas. You can either download the free eBook/PDF, or you can purchase a hard copy. There are also additional resources available at this site as well.
The Good News of Great Joy devotional actually covers many of the scriptures that we will be going through in this sermon series. So, this will be a great daily tool to keep your heart gazing upon the light of salvation himself, Jesus Christ.
-Alex Nolette (Equip Coordinator/Community Groups)
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