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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - The Reason for the Season

James Meehan - The Reason for the Season

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    James Meehan - The Reason for the Season
TOPICS: Bible Nerds, Christmas

Well, what's up Bible nerds? Christmas is less than one week away and I am so excited for it. Food, family, fun times, relaxing in my PJs, playing a whole bunch of video games. Yes and amen. But why do we really celebrate Christmas? What makes this holiday so significant? Not just here in the US but in just about every country on every continent across the globe, right? We know the cliche answer is that Jesus is the reason for the season, but what makes Jesus so special? Like why is he the reason for the season? Put a little bit more bluntly, why is it that we celebrate the birth of a Jewish religious extremist who lived 2000 years ago, was pushed out by his own religious system and executed as an enemy of the state? Well, because Jesus was so much more than just a man, he is the Messiah, the Savior king promised by God, which is exactly what Matthew tells us in Matthew chapter one, starting in verse 18.

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother married, 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. So before we get to Jesus, we are introduced to his parents. There's Mary, his mom and Joseph, his earthly dad. Right away though there is a twist in the plot because Mary's pregnancy didn't happen naturally, she became pregnant through the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. In verse 19, we read that Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly. So he decided to break the engagement quietly. Imagine the scene. You've got Joseph and Mary who are happily engaged. They're planning their future together. Then one day, Mary finds out she's pregnant, even though she's a virgin.

Now she has to deliver the news to her fiance knowing that he's gonna assume that she was unfaithful to him. And that's exactly what Joseph thinks when he hears the news. So he plans to end the engagement, but because he's a righteous man he doesn't wanna drag her name through the mud or tried to make a public spectacle of her situation. Verse 20 goes on to tell us that as he considered this, as Joseph 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". In a dream, you've got an angel from God telling Joseph that just so you know, Mary wasn't making any of this up. It's all true. The baby growing in her belly was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and you, Joseph, are to be her husband and you're to name him Jesus, a name that means God saves, because that's his purpose, to save his people from their sins.

The next thing that Matthew does is quote a prophecy from the Old Testament to show that Jesus is the one promised by God that the people of Israel have been waiting for this entire time. In verse 22, he writes this, that 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 Emmanuel, which means God is with us. You see, Jesus is no ordinary man. He is the Messiah. He's the savior king of the world but he's not just the Messiah, he is Emanuel, God with us. The God of the universe put on skin and bones and moved into the neighborhood. The one who spoke the cosmos into existence, stepped onto the stage of history and left his footprints on the sands of Judea. This is why we celebrate Christmas, because it was on that first Christmas 2000 years ago, that God became one of us, so that we could become one with him.

This event is known as the incarnation. It's the belief that God became a human being in the person of Jesus. And it was on that first Christmas that Mary gave birth to the Savior of the world, and because of his obedience, Joseph was there for every miraculous moment. In verses 24 and 25, Matthew closes out this tale by telling us that when Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded, and he took Mary as his wife. He didn't have sexual relations with her until her son was born and Joseph did as he was told and named him Jesus. So now here we are, 2000 years later, preparing to once again celebrate his birth. So what now? How should we respond to the good news that Jesus entered the world? We trust, we celebrate and we obey. First we trust, just like Mary did, that Jesus is the son of God and the Savior of the world. We trust that he is good and he's loving and he's just and he came to save us from our sins and fix the broken things in the world, starting with us.

Then we celebrate. We celebrate the grace of God that has been brought to us through Jesus, right? Like enjoy the fun and the excitement that comes with the Christmas season, but don't let the light and the presence distract you from the presence of Jesus. Carve out some time in your day to consider the love of God revealed in Jesus. Invite your family to read the Christmas story with you, before you lay your head down on Christmas Eve, pray for God to remind you that the most important gift you get will not be wrapped and under your tree in the morning because it was wrapped in a Bethlehem barn 2000 years ago. We trust, we celebrate, and we obey. Whatever God asks you to do, do it, just like Joseph did.

Now, it probably won't happen as an angel visiting you in a dream, more likely it'll be the Holy Spirit giving you a nudge, a feeling, a thought that originates from outside of yourself to do something good for someone else. And when it comes, don't ignore it. Do it and let yourself feel the joy that comes from living in obedience to God. Enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. Soak in all the things that make this time of year special. But more than anything, consider Jesus. Reflect on who he is, what he did, and how he loves. Trust him. Celebrate him and obey him because he's more than a man. He's the Messiah and he is the son of God.
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