The Nativity 2

Merry Christmas! We’ve been in a series talking about the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus. Today, I want us to read the Christmas Story from Luke’s Gospel and finish building our own Nativity.

Manger
Luke 2:7 says, “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” The word “stable” is not found in the Nativity story but the word “manger” is used repeatedly. The shelter could have been a wood enclosure but it was more than likely a cave. Jesus was born in a cave and buried in a cave but He was not planning on staying in either cave very long! God sent His son to be born in a barn in front of animals, not in a palace in front of Kings. Bethlehem was crowded! If God can create the heavens and the earth, part the Red Sea, cause the sun to stand still, and send a star to guide the Wise Men from the East, why was there not one room available? A homeless birth was part of the plan. It was no accident. It is not like God forgot to make a reservation at the inn!

Tim Keller says, “The manger at Christmas means that, if you live like Jesus, there won’t be room for you in a lot of inns.” Don’t get too accustomed to the comforts of this world. This world is not our home. We are just passing through. In the Father’s house there are many mansions, more than enough room for you (Jn. 14:2). Jesus was laid in a manger on earth, so we could live in a mansion in heaven and walk on streets of gold! 2 Corinthians 8:9 says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” Some days we do not have room for Jesus in our schedules and on our calendars, but remember, He has made room and prepared a place for us.

Angels
Luke 2:8-14 tells of the angel’s message to the shepherds. There are so many things we can learn from this encounter. Verse 9 says when the angel appeared, “the glory of the Lord shone around them.” Jesus is the Light of the World and He will be a light when the days are dark and you don’t know what to do. In verse 10, the angel told the shepherds, “Do not be afraid.” Do not live in fear, live by faith! In the same verse, we read that the angel brought good news. The message was encouraging! Listen to this news, the hope that Jesus brings, and you will not be discouraged. Verse 11 says, “there is born to you….” Salvation is personal! It is not based on race or religion or your parents or anyone else; it’s based on what Jesus did for you! The angel told the shepherds, “You will find a babe….” You will find what you are looking for in life. Whether that’s bad, good, negative, positive, a party crowd, or other believers. Finally, we read that “there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God….” There is a heaven! Our worship should be like the worship of heaven. The angels remind us that worship should be with “great joy and glory to God!”

Shepherds
The Bible says the Egyptians and the religious rulers of Jesus’ day despised shepherds. They were considered ceremonially unclean, having a job everyone needed and no one wanted. They were the least appreciated, but God saw their work and rewarded them. If you feel unnoticed and unappreciated, Jesus sees you. God comes in unexpected times to unexpected places and He uses unexpected people. David was a shepherd. Moses was a shepherd. Jesus is the Good, Great, Chief Shepherd.

In the Nativity story, the shepherds’ search ended when they found Jesus. What you are searching for in life you will find in Jesus! Luke 2:11 says, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Is Jesus your Savior? Do you believe He is the Christ? Is Jesus Lord of your life?

The shepherds met Jesus and they left telling the message. They went back to their old occupation, but they had a new job; they were messengers on a mission. Are you living on mission, sharing the message of Jesus? How will you go back to your job this January?

The Nativity

The Nativity
The word “nativity” is defined as the process or circumstances of being born. Christmas is Sunday so I want us to look at the process and circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth, and build our own nativity.

Joseph
Matthew 1 highlights Joseph’s role in the birth of Jesus. While he is sometimes the forgotten man of Christmas, we know he was a carpenter betrothed to Mary. He was busy preparing for the wedding and building place for them to live, when he got the unexpected news, the heartbreak of his life. Mary was pregnant! He is in shock, hurt, disappointed, devastated, and angry! How could she do this to him? He knew it was not his baby! It would be the scandalous talk of the town. He was planning to privately call the wedding off when God spoke to Joseph in a dream (Matt. 1:20-21).

Joseph just wanted to be married, have his own wife, have children, and a son named after him, but it did not happen the way he had always planned. He married a wife already with-child. He became an adoptive father. Joseph and Mary were the ones God trusted with His only son, Jesus. Joseph was committed to God, to Mary, and to Jesus. He worked hard, provided for his family, loved his wife, was a good father to Jesus, took his family to church, and is a great model and example for all men today!

Mary
Mary is just an ordinary teenage girl, growing up in a small town, dreaming like all little girls of her wedding day. All of a sudden an angel appeared. Mary was the first to doubt the virgin birth! Luke 1:34 says, “‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’” She doubted and she questioned, but she believed God by faith.

When Mary found out that she would be the mother of the Messiah, her response was a song of praise. “My soul magnifies the Lord” (Luke 1:46). When we think about Christmas, Jesus coming down from heaven to live inside of us, you can’t help but praise Him. Just like Mary had Jesus living inside of her, if you are saved, you have Jesus living inside of you! You may be filled with disappointment, hurt, bitterness, or anger, but you can have Jesus living inside of you. The doctor may have said you have cancer inside of you, you may feel lonely inside, but you can have Jesus inside of you!

Being the earthly parents of Jesus was not easy. It meant damage to their reputations and danger to their very lives. God is still looking for human vessels He can use. Will you let Him use you?

Jesus
Matthew 1:23 says, “‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’” Wherever God has placed you, Jesus is there. Wherever you find yourself this Christmas, Jesus is there. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Hebrews 13:5 says, I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

The Nativity is ultimately about Jesus, Immanuel, God with us! What was the purpose? Matthew 1:21 says, “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Jesus is the baby born to die for the sins of the world. Those tiny little hands would have nails driven through them. Those baby feet would one day walk up Mount Calvary to take our place. His sweet head would one day have a crown of thorns beaten into his brow… and He did all that for you. Take some time this Christmas to reflect on all that His birth means for you.