Christmas Day – December 25, 2017

“Christmas Special” – Luke 2

Christmas Day – December 25, 2017



Introduction: TV Christmas Specials

Every year at Christmas the network TV channels will inevitably show some classic Christmas Specials.


I polled my TV critics (a.k.a. members of the small group that meets at our home), and asked them for the “moral of the story” from some of those Christmas classics. Here’s what they came up with:


Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” – Tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man. Moral – Compassion and forgiveness overcome greed and selfishness.


“It’s a Wonderful Life” – George Bailey is a good man that sacrificed his dreams and his youth on behalf of the citizens of his small town, Bedford Falls. He is married, but had a tough life with his four children. When his uncle Billy loses $ 8,000.00, found and stolen by the evil banker, Mr. Potter, George decides to commit suicide, since he believes he is worth more dead than alive. A guardian angel – Clarence – literally falls to earth to convince George not to commit suicide. He gives George a glimpse of what the lives of others would have been like if he had not been born. At the end of the film George prays and is given his original life back. Moral – He discovered that what’s really important in life is not money or social status, but faith, family, and friends. He is in fact, “The Richest Man in Town.”


The Grinch – A town of merry Christmas-lovers called the Whos goes about their annual holiday preparations. The Grinch who absolutely hates Christmas sets about trying to ruin it for the Whos by stealing their Christmas decorations, meals, and gifts. At the last minute, though, the Grinch hears the sound of all the Whos joining together in song despite the fact that their homes have been ransacked and their gifts are all gone. Finally, the Grinch feels a twinge of remorse (and maybe even Christmas spirit?), so he brings back all the things that he stole. He arrives in time to join in on the Christmas festivities. Moral – Differences are what make us special and unique. The holiday season is about including everyone. A little bit of love can change even the most cold-hearted.

[Miracle on 34th Street: An old man going by the name of Kris Kringle fills in for an intoxicated Santa in Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade. Kringle proves to be such a hit that he is soon appearing regularly at the chain’s main store in midtown Manhattan. When Kringle surprises customers and employees alike by claiming that he really is Santa Claus, it leads to a court case to determine his mental health and, more importantly, his authenticity. Moral – Just because you cannot see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.]

Home Alone: Kevin is an arrogant 8-year-old boy who hates the fact that he lives in a family who constantly bullies him. When his family leaves for their European Christmas vacation, they accidentally leave him home alone. Kevin makes the best of this situation by jumping on beds, eating ice cream, watching gangster movies, and doing whatever he pleases. However, two robbers, who are invading the neighborhood plan to break into the family home. Kevin saves the day by laying a series of traps for the bungling burglars. Moral – Appreciate your family, through all the ups and downs. Petty fights are not worth not having your family around.


Charlie Brown Christmas – When Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism that he sees among everyone during the Christmas season, Lucy suggests that he become director of the school Christmas pageant. Charlie Brown accepts, but it proves to be a frustrating struggle. When an attempt to restore the proper spirit with a forlorn little fir Christmas tree fails, he needs Linus’ help to learn what the real meaning of Christmas is. Let’s just watch it to get the message… (video clip)


Speaking of Charlie Brown, there is also the Charlie Brown Christmas Song, which concludes with the words: “Oh, that we could always see Such spirit through the year.”


Sometimes you have to read between the lines to cut to the real heart of what Christmas is. We want to see the spirit of love and joy and peace throughout the year, not just at Christmas.


Even so-called Christmas songs confuse the message. A song I heard on the Christian radio station seemed to muddle up what Christmas is truly about… until you get to the very end. The song is called Christmas Is… let’s listen, watch, read.


So… are the morals of those TV Christmas Specials the gist of Christmas? Is Christmas about snow on the ground, about being home for Christmas, about Santa Claus coming to town, about turkey and all the fixings, about presents on the tree? We have come to see those things as part of our culture’s celebration of Christmas, but they are really more like the wrapping paper than the actual gift. We could dispose of them without losing the real meaning of Christmas.


  1. God’s Christmas Special

What if God wrote and produced a Christmas Special? What would it look like? What would the story line be? What would be the moral of the story? Luke 2 is the original (and ONLY) Christmas story!!


The essence of the first Christmas special was that Mary gave birth to her first-born, a son, and she wrapped Him and laid Him in a manger. In the infancy narrative, the name of this child is not even mentioned, but in the very next verse, according to the custom, on the 8th day, He was named Jesus. That brought to full circle the instructions of the angels to both Mary and Joseph to name this child of God Jesus – for He would save His people from their sins. That’s the simple essence of the story… Jesus the Saviour is born!


  1. The Cast: The Shepherds were…

Although we must agree that the main character in the story is the baby Jesus, and maybe the best supporting actor and actress were Joseph and Mary, the plot in Luke 2 mostly deals with the shepherds in the fields around Bethlehem. They were the first ones to hear the story.


a. They were encouraged by the message of the angel (unpack: good news; great joy; (promised) Saviour born; to you / for you; Christ = Messiah)


b. They were inspired by heavenly worship (unpack: glory to God in heaven; peace to men on earth)


c. They were transformed by meeting Jesus (unpack: let’s go see; hurried (cf. Emmaus Road disciples hurried; prodigal father ran); found Mary and Joseph and THE BABY (the main character) and they were changed)


d. They were equipped to be effective witnesses (unpack: they spread the word; all were amazed at what they said)


  1. Our part in this Christmas Special

The really interesting thing about God’s Christmas Special is that, although it was written, produced and released 2,000 years, we are in it, too. We’re kind of like the local extras that mill around as part of a crowd in a movie scene. But that doesn’t mean that we are unimportant, trivial, irrelevant. We just need to put ourselves in the place of an extra shepherd who experienced the whole thing.

You have heard and been encouraged by the message (last night, today, in the past)

You have been inspired by worship (Word of God, singing angels’ song – Gloria, Communion)

You have met Jesus and been transformed by Him – He’s the Saviour, He’s Your Saviour!! (child is born, son is given… to you; Prince of peace, great joy, the Hope of the Nations, forgiveness, eternal life)

You have everything it takes to be effective witnesses – Go tell it on the mountains, over the hills… EVERYWHERE! Christ the Lord is born! Amen.

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