Let Every Heart Prepare Him RoomDecember 14, 2016 Drawing Near
In my tenure as a pastor of a local congregation, I have preached over a hundred Christmas sermons through the years. I have often thought that if someone attended our worship services only at Christmastime, they may think, “Wow, this Church and its leadership are in a rut. Every year it’s the same thing. They need to turn the page.”
However, far from a rut, preaching on the birth of Christ will never get old to me because the reality of the Incarnation will always be relevant to every generation. Furthermore, the biblical prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ first coming can’t help but stoke our hearts with anticipation for his second coming.
Bethlehem’s manger was the earthly beginning of God in the flesh that would culminate in the sacrificial death of Jesus to redeem a people for his glory. He was named for that very purpose as the angel instructed Joseph to name the baby “Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
When you consider the claims and legacy of Jesus Christ, one must conclude with Billy Graham that “Jesus was not just another great religious teacher, nor was he only another in a long line of individuals seeking after spiritual truth. He was, instead, truth itself. He was God incarnate.”
Every Christmas season is another opportunity for this world to see the Light shining into the darkness and to hear the Good News promised and provided through Christ. When Jesus was born into this world, He touched time. His birth utterly altered the way we measure the years of our lives and history of the ages.
D. James Kennedy in his thoughtful work, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?, wrote, “Jesus Christ, the greatest man who ever lived, has changed virtually every aspect of human life—and most people don’t know it. The greatest tragedy of the Christmas holiday each year is not so much its commercialization (gross as that is), but its trivialization. How tragic it is that people have forgotten Him to whom they owe so very much.”
This month we are given the privilege of joining multitudes through the ages in giving praise to this newborn King who arrived in the most humble of circumstances, but who is nevertheless the King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus once taught a parable comparing the kingdom of heaven to a grain of mustard seed sown into a field, and that while it is the smallest of seeds when it has grown it is larger than garden plants and actually becomes a tree. (Matthew 13:31-32)
No one would have imagined the impact of that little baby born long ago, that little mustard seed sown into the drama of this world. Jesus impacted the world in way that is without equal. He had no wealth, no political power. He produced no literary works. He was not a world traveler. His life was simple and pointed, and He fulfilled the mission for which He was sent. Many were caught up in the affairs of the day and thought little of what was happening in that little animal shelter where the hopes and fears of all the years came forth in the fullness of God’s timing.
This season the call is given once again for every heart to prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing.