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"The Insignificant in Christmas"

By Pastor Don Erickson
Lighthouse Baptist Chruch, Jamestown, NY

Text:  Luke 2:1-20

Introduction: The Christmas story has everything needed for a great story: Political intrigue, conflict, anticipation, the drama of a delivery room, fear, doxology, and amazement.

But one thing that impresses about the Christmas story is how simple and unadorned it really is. In fact what captures me is the "insignificant" element.

Some might object by saying, "Insignificant?" How could the birth of the virgin-born Son of God be insignificant? Indeed for God to become human (John. 1:14) is no small thing. But watch how the only Gentile (outsider) to write a life of Christ shows in the Christmas story how God fills the seeming insignificant with His presence and makes what might have been mundane into profound mystery.

Theme:  The Mystery of Christmas is found in:

I. Insignificant Places.

    A. The "happening" places of the world were Rome and Syria. 
            People who ruled others lived there, and that mattered. 
            No one cared much about Palestine, tucked away in a 
            small pocket of the Roman Lake (Mediterranean Sea)—except God.

    B. But our story sets its focus on little places:

            1. Like Bethlehem—granted, the City of David, but 
                really not all that important in terms of size and clout.

            2. Like Nazareth—and even Nathanael asked, "Can anything
                good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46).

            3. Like a manger—a common cow trough but mentioned
                three times in our text.

            4. Like fields—where shepherds watch flocks. The first 
                Christmas took place "down on the farm."

    C. When God comes near all the little places become big!

Theme:  The Mystery of Christmas is found in:

I. Insignificant Places.

II. Insignificant People.

    A. The important people of the world were mentioned
            in v. 1 & 2: Caesar Augustus and Quirinius. They
            were the movers and shakers. When they spoke 
            people listened. They could call for taxes and the 
            word was, "So let it be done."

    B. But our story looks to different key players:

            1. Like a young poor couple from Nazareth—Mary and Joseph.

            2. Like shepherds—Biblically shepherds had important roles, 
                but socially they were outcasts.

            3. Like the innkeeper—this person is so insignificant that 
                technically he is not even mentioned in the text.

    C. When God comes near all the little people suddenly seem to matter!

Theme:  The Mystery of Christmas is found in:

I. Insignificant Places.
II. Insignificant People.

III. Insignificant Event.

    A. The event that would makes news was taxes—it still does.

    B. But our story gives attention to the birth of a baby. 
            Granted, for the believer this is anything but normal:

            1. There was the matter of fulfilled prophecy.

            2. There was the matter of the appearance of that star.

            3. There was the matter of the virgin conception and birth.

    C. But think: God started to save the world with the birth of a baby. 
            Babies are born everyday. The Bethlehem paper would have 
            read the next morning: Joseph and Mary, a boy. Big deal—it 
            happens every day. But therein is the wisdom of God 
            (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:26f). When God comes near all little 
            events take on spiritual power!

 
Conclusion

For the Gospel written for the outsider this was very good news. Christmas announces that all places, all people, and all events matter to God.

Hebrews says that He had "to share in their humanity" (Hebrews 2:14). This He did, so at least all could relate to this Cosmic Christ. Had He come in royalty only the rich could have appreciated Him. He is truly a man for all seasons!

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