Surprising Good News

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Surprising Good News
Text: Luke 2:1-20
Occasion: Christmas
Audience: Adults
Theological Tradition: General
Topic: Surprises
Author: George Lyons


Direction

Appearances are deceiving. All that matters is that God is there.

How to Get There

  • The birth story of Christ is full of surprises. Nothing happens like it was expected to happen.
    • Heaven rejoiced when Christ was born, but all the wrong people got a chance to experience God’s peace.
    • The story begins with a secular tax law, about as unspiritual of a situation as you can get.
    • Caesar ruled the known world. Rome stretched into lands most people had never heard of before. But he only appeared to be in charge. In this story and in life, God is unexpectedly at work behind the scenes.
    • The provision for God’s people seems to be missing too.
      • Mary had to travel while heavily pregnant, walking and sleeping on the ground.
      • There were no rooms for them in town.
      • It was a busy time and they were ignored.
      • Until finally their child was born in a place not fit for anyone, let alone for theirs.
    • It all must have been a let-down after all the angels promised her earlier.
  • When God does finally appear, it’s not to Mary and Joseph. It’s not an appearance to nobles or religious leaders.
    • It’s to shepherds that God appears to, low lives with bad reputations and whose testimony was not even accepted in court.
    • And this magnificent appearance isn’t the sign of a new age. A simple normal seeming baby was the sign. The miraculous showed up just to point out the seemingly mundane.
  • This is the greatest surprise and the miracle itself, that God became human like us. The seemingly normal things of that night showed God.
  • This is all shocking. It is all the wrong people in all the wrong places and ways. Astrologers and shepherds instead of priests and kings.
    • And all the people who heard it were amazed.
    • But we are not amazed. We are buying things and keeping ourselves busy.
  • Appearances are deceiving. Here was a poor couple from a small village in an occupied third world country. But the woman’s child is God’s means of saving the world.
    • By all appearances nothing important happened there.
    • But God was there and that’s all that mattered.
  • Christmas was the start. We too must welcome Christ into our lives. We too must decide what to do with this shock.
    • Are we like Herod or Augustus, never seeing it and never in the picture?
    • Are we looking like the priests in the wrong direction, waiting until God appears just like we want Him to?
    • Or are we kneeling at the manger side?
    • See Christ is in those around us now, and we have a choice to see that or not.
  • And when we see Christ in those around us we must decide whether we will let appearances deceive us today as well, or whether we will recognize that the only thing which really matters is whether God is there or not and react accordingly.


This message was originally written by Dr. George Lyons and was converted to this format by Brian M

Things to Watch For

There are many myths surrounding Christmas. Many believers are quite "sure" that many things about Christmas are in the Bible that really aren't. Most of these myths, especially the ones perpetuated by Christmas songs, are meant to dispel the discomfort and questions that are found in the text. This must be dealt with in order to help people really see how strange and shocking it really is.

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