The Glory of the Christmas Story

Luke 2

December 18th 2011 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.                   Introduction


A.    Christmas is a most wonderful time of the year!

B.     But not for everyone.


1.      Most people have a twisted and ruined ideal of Christmas.

2.      Most only experience a series of failed expectations at Christmas.

3.      The shame is that today, with all the multimedia tools that people have at their fingertips, they are further and further removed from the words of a story that changes nations, and peoples and cultures and hearts!

4.      I would guess that less than half of the population of Europe has ever read the Christmas story in Luke chapter 2. I mean read it! Not from picture books, or children’s story books, but from the actual words of Scripture found in Luke chapters 1 and 2, and Matthew chapters 1 and 2!


C.     But when you take the time to read and learn the real Christmas Story, you fall in love with it over and over and over again! And you want to experience it just like it happened the first time!

D.    This morning, I just want to read through 18 lines of Scripture, 18 verses, and ask that you allow just the words of this wonderful event to show you the glory of this marvellous birth!

E.     I would like us to experience the glory of the Christmas Story! As if we were children, hearing it for the first time! It’s better than Santa Clause, and Rudolf, I guarantee you!


II.                Background (Luke 2:1-7)


A.    Mary is heavily pregnant – 9 months pregnant to be exact!

B.     The world was struggling to pay a new tax just imposed by Europe.

C.     Mary and Joseph were wrecked-tired from travelling over 60 miles to Joseph’s hometown of Bethlehem

D.    They arrived into the little village late one evening, and all the Inns were full – door after door turned them away

E.     Only was place remained open to them… a barn

F.      But that was okay. There was no need to complain! That’s right where God wanted His Son to be born!

G.    And it was in that barn, that the Christmas Story gets all its glory!


III.             Message


A.    The Audience of Christmas (2:8) Who heard about Christmas first?


1.      It was late at night - The world was fast asleep

2.      But way out in the country fields – there were some sheep.

3.      And the sheep were restless, and kept their shepherds up

4.      This was a small group of shepherds – may 10, or 15 tops!

5.      All keeping watch – wide awake! They sensed something was “out there” so they stayed vigilant – couldn’t sleep! Maybe a bear, or a mountain lion lurking in the darkness, hungry for a lamb steak!


B.     The Glory of Christmas (2:9) – the brightness!


1.      This was no ordinary night anymore!

2.      Something was happening that made this one day, glorious, beautiful, bright and wonderful!

3.      In the middle of the quiet of the night; in an instant, a flash of lightning

4.      An angel appeared out of nowhere – “came upon them” – like an approaching high speed train

5.      The night was transformed into the brightest day!

6.      It was glorious!


a.       It was the glory of just one angel

b.      It was the glory of heaven, surrounding those shepherds


7.      And this angel was excited!

8.      All the excitement freaked that small band of shepherds out – “sore afraid!”

9.      Wonderful events don’t always make sense!


C.     The News of Christmas (2:10)


1.      That angel turned to face that small group of shepherds and spoke right at them! He didn’t “speak into the air” like politicians

2.      Usually, when God spoke, there was trouble!


a.       Exposing sin

b.      Catching people in the middle of sinful acts and thoughts

c.       Warning of the Wrath of God

d.      But not this time!


3.      Listen to these precious words at Christmas

4.      “Don’t be afraid” he said! There is nothing to fear about what he was about to tell them

5.      “Behold…”


a.       To behold is to command someone to “Fix the eyes upon; to pay attention; to observe with care.”

b.      The angel was begging them… “Don’t miss this what I am about to tell you!”


6.      “I bring you Good tidings…”


a.       This is where the word GOSPEL comes from

b.      Good News! Great News

c.       Just like when


1)      The doctor tells you your wife just had a healthy baby

2)      When your candidate got elected

3)      When your team won the world cup


7.      Of Great Joy…

8.      To All People…

9.      You would think the whole world would be queuing up to learn about this Good News that even angels are excited about!


D.    The Gift of Christmas (2:11)


1.      Just One Gift – some of you would be very depressed if you only got one gift at Christmas! But not if you got THIS one gift!

2.      Unto you


a.       Not just “to the world” – that would be too generic

b.      But to YOU and YOU and YOU! To you poor shepherds!!!

c.       It’s like the Late late Show when everyone got a gift – everyone in the audience!

d.      It’s even greater when everyone in the world gets a gift!

e.       Santa can’t even do that! He only gives gifts to rich white people in the western hemisphere!!!


3.      Born THIS Day – it actually occurred! Christmas DAY!

4.      In the little, city of David – David’s favourite city, Bethlehem

5.      What is the Gift that GOD gave everyone at Christmas?


a.       A SAVIOUR!


1)      Not an entertainer, a politician, a musician, or an actor

2)      But Someone who could save people from the punishment of their sins!

3)      Everyone uses this title, but very few actually allow this Baby to SAVE them from their sins (Mt 1:21)!!!


b.      The Christ (Messiah) – the promised One, with over 300 prophecies pointing to His birth and perfect life!

c.       The Lord! King of kings, and Lord of lords!


6.      What a GIFT! The KING of kings! The Creator of the entire universe! The Alpha and the Omega! He’s the answer to all the world’s problems! He is God!

7.      And He is presented to the world, all in one package!


E.     The Signs of Christmas (2:12)


1.      The angel tells these shepherds that just three things would tell these shepherds that they found Christmas


a.       A baby! A WHAT? A Baby?

b.      Lying in a manger – an animal feeding box! WHAT??? In a BARN?

c.       Wrapped in swaddling clothes – that is the POOREST of poor wrappings for warmth


2.      No mention of:


a.       His mother Mary, or of Joseph.

b.      No mention of the wise men (especially because they were not there – wouldn’t be arriving for another 6 months).

c.       No mention of Christmas trees, or piles of wrapped presents, or mistletoe

d.      No mention of anything else… except that Baby!


3.      What signs are there in your home that it is Christmas?


a.       A load of debts from overbuying gifts?

b.      An overloaded powerstrip with a half dozen strings of blinking lights hanging off of it?

c.       Cases of wine and drink piled up around the house?

d.      Someone singing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” on the CD player?

e.       The TV on later at night than usual so that you can watch all the old reruns again for the 47th time?

f.       I’m telling you, The signs that it’s Christmas are a whole lot simpler than any of that rubbish!


4.      What are YOU looking for at Christmas?


a.       We all want love… That Baby is love – at His BIRTH, He was and is God’s love!

b.      We all want forgiveness… HE paid for your forgiveness

c.       We all want some gifts… HE is the gift of God for your lost soul

d.      We all want joy… HE brings lasting joy!


F.      The Joy of Christmas (2:13-17)


1.      It was contagious to other angels


a.       At that moment, as soon as that angel finished telling those few men about the manger…

b.      A hundred million angels appeared in the sky – filling it from east to west!


2.      It started some singing and rejoicing! They all burst out with loud, resounding praise!


a.       “Glory to God in heaven”

b.      “And Peace to all mankind on earth!”

c.       Make sure all honour and praise and worship goes to God alone!

d.      Allow this one, single event to bring about what no one else has achieved! PEACE on earth!

e.       Do any of you realise that if you Give glory and rightful praise to God…

f.       We will actually start experiencing some real peace on earth!


3.      The excitement of those angels affected some tired, cold shepherds


a.       They abandoned watching over their sheep and ran into Bethlehem just to have one look at the Baby born King of the Jews! The Saviour of the world!

b.      They came with haste – RAN

c.       They went from barn to barn, out-house to out-building, shed to shelter looking for a baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger!


4.      When they found the right one, they took one look and bolted back into Bethlehem to go get some more people awake to see THE BABY!

5.      What a night that first Christmas night was!


a.       Over in the distance, there was a glow in the sky where angels were still shouting and praising God

b.      Shepherds were running around waking everybody up to come see the baby

c.       Every home was pouring out into the streets to go and see this new baby

d.      And Mary was overwhelmed with all the attention her Son was getting in that private barn stall!

e.       But it was worth it!

f.       To Mary and Joseph, Christmas was worth it!


IV.             Conclusion


A.    What is YOUR Christmas time like?


1.      A struggle just to get through it?

2.      A long series of depressive memories and heartaches?


B.     I’ll tell you what it was like for those shepherds…


1.      Those shepherds were like children on Christmas morning – they just couldn’t sit still. They were running around, yelling, telling everyone to get up, get up! Christmas has come! Come and get YOUR gift!

2.      It was probably hours before they ever got back to their flocks of sheep out on the countryside!


C.     You have seen what it was like for the angels


1.      There was great joy in heaven at THE GIVING OF THE GIFT

2.      At the MIRACLE of GOD having a Son, who would be the answer to all the world’s problems and heartaches!


D.    You have seen what it was like for Mary, and Joseph

E.     But what about for YOU?

F.      There can be great joy IN YOUR LIFE!

G.    If you would just RECEIVE THAT GIFT (John 1:10-12)

H.    Here’s how to be saved this morning from the wrath to come:


1.      Admit that you really are a sinner – separated from God by your wicked pride and arrogance

2.      Believe that God sent His Son to take your place in death so that you could live – could have life more abundant!

3.      Repent of your hard heart towards God

4.      Just decide to follow Jesus, asking Him to come into your heart and wash away all your sins – He can do it! He did it for ME!

5.      Right now, receive the gift of eternal life! Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death; but the gift, the GIFT! THE gift of God is eternal life… THROUGH Jesus Christ our Lord!”

6.      Is He YOUR Lord! He ought to be! There is no other way to enjoy Christmas!