As we approach Christmas I thought it might be good for all of us to meditate on the meaning of this season. Many times we allow the world to dictate what Christmas will be…that usually means how much will that cost us. I want to use that theme to shed a different light on the cost of Christmas.
When I was 12 I was in the Boy Scouts. One year while at a camp, two other boys and myself decided to leave the camp and hitchhike into the nearest town. It was 20 miles away. All we were thinking of was ourselves; we did not consider the cost to anyone else. We made it to that town and as evening descended on the area, the State Troopers were out in force looking for three “lost” boys, and our scout leaders was in an anxious frenzy, blaming himself for not being a good guardian. The cost to others was high emotionally and very unkind on our part.
“Cost” is an important thing to consider! That’s what I want to consider this Christmas. Instead of thinking about how much Christmas will cost us, let’s consider what that FIRST Christmas cost others.
· What did that first Christmas cost: Joseph & Mary
What I hope is that we can identify with them and more important ask ourselves some important questions!
Luke 1:26–38 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
Matthew 1:18–25 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’ ” When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.
Christmas cost them their future :
· a. Their Plans
What do I mean? Well consider…their future chosen for them!
Just like when you plan a BIG weekend, and your boss says WORK! Or Dad says we are going on vacation, and he drops at you at the Aunt that always pinches your cheek and makes you clean the house!
This is where we intersect with our free choices and God’s plans! So the question is…
How open are you to God's plans?
James 4:13–15 Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”
· b. Reputation and desires:
Consider the pressure on Joseph; then and later / Pregnant before marriage and even after marriage he could not be the woman he loved until after Jesus was born!
Also consider - What ever happened to Joseph? The Scripture gives no record! He just disappears!
Let me ask you a question: What is one of the first thoughts people have when they think of you?
Joseph was described as a good and righteous man! He vanished from history, yet that testimony remains!!
· c. Roles
In the day Joseph lived, the father was the key figure! It was HIS son! Yet, Joseph took the lesser role because God chose that Jesus’ mother would be more emphasized than Joseph.
Luke 2:29–35 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!” Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
Luke 2:48–49 His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”
This reminds me of Bill Cosby’s story about parents and American football – Dad’s teach their kids how to run, throw, catch, and hit…everything about football. Then at the big game their son catches the football and runs 98 yards, plowing through blockers to reach the in zone to score the winning touchdown! Then turning to the TV camera he says “Hi MOM!!!!”
Still, we seen no Scriptures that Joseph resented his place that God had asked him to be in!
Luke 8:19–21 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they couldn’t get to him because of the crowd. 20 Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to see you.” Jesus replied, “My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.”
Yet, in reality Jesus made it clear that no one human had special rights over Him. Yes He was the biological son of Mary, but he was the Savior and Lord of all, including all in His family!
Interesting note: * We know very little of Jesus’ childhood. Why? Because of what we would do with it – can you imagine parents - "Why can't you be like Jesus?” They would grow up hating Him
To be the parents of the Savior of the world was a Tremendous privilege, but with that the cost is a heavy responsibility
· If Christ is REAL in your life, what will it cost your:
Spend some time in meditation of what following Christ fully would cost you.