Sunday, December 19, 2010

Celebrate Jesus' Birth

The sermon this morning was first preached in December, 1999 shortly after we had moved to Houston to begin working with the church.  Much has changed since that first Christmas message.  After many of us in the Church of Christ had grown up (myself included) keeping Christmas and Jesus' birth separate, the purpose of the 1999 sermon was to communicate that it really is a good thing to keep the two united and celebrate God sending his son into the world. 

 Our church building is now decorated with beautiful trees, ribbons, and ornaments.  Our annual candlelight service is our best attended event of the year.  As always tonight we will have a great amount of singing: congregational, choir performances, a soloist, and even two of our teenagers singing a special song for us.  Our children will be dressed in nativity costumes with "Mary" bringing in the candle from which all others will be lit.  I will preach a message in keeping with our theme, "Seeking the King" and three of our members will give video taped testimonies of what they found when they found Jesus. 

The purpose of the sermon this morning was slightly different than when I preached it 11 years ago.  This morning I wasn't so much trying to convince people it was o.k. to celebrate; I wanted to encourage us to do so!  May we join with the Apostle Paul in proclaiming, "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15)

4 comments:

tommytwotoez said...

Loved the sermon Byron!

I grew up within a conservative Church of Christ and so my views on celebrating Christmas as mere secular tradition was concrete. This is all past-tense of coarse because as I studied more of the Advent season and witnessed for myself how much celebration went on during the birth of Jesus within scripture. So I started wondering…why, why was it so wrong to worship the birth? Why was I taught this?

I recently published a post on this topic because of my own concern for those who still view the spiritual celebration of Christmas as sinful. That’s right, I said sinful! That was the viewpoint I grew up with! But when I finally started to research verses for myself I found no proof, just as you did, giving way to either side of the argument. The only thing I found was the abuse of proof-texting verses of the bible to fit an agenda.

When I realized that there was no proof within either side of the fence I asked myself, “Can you worship Christ without worshipping His entire life?” I mean, isn’t the birth of Jesus the catalyst for everything else? Obviously the death, burial, and resurrection are extremely important aspects of the life of Christ but don’t we also look at his life before his suffering? Do we not look at the lessons he taught us while he was still with us?

Sure, the date that we worship and celebrate the birth of Jesus is not historically accurate, but neither is the American calendar. Being able to prove the historical accuracy of scripture is no longer an important aspect of my belief structure. The proof for me lays on the power Christ has in changing lives.

For me, I find no fault in celebrating when the Word became flesh.

Byron said...

Thanks Tommy. For those who want to read Tommy's blog here's the link:

http://humbleperseverance.blogspot.com/

Adam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adam said...

I thought the candlelight message about the three/several kings/wise men/astrologers was really interesting. I often wonder about the accuracy of the details written, translations translated, or interpretations extrapolated. Fortunately, no matter what the actual number or identities of the gift-bearers was, they brought glory to the Lord. The message was a great reminder though that many times, memorable childhood bible story details are not central to the Bible's message of God's grace, Jesus' redemption, or our salvation.