12/20/98, Christmas Sunday

“God Has Landed on Our Shores”
Matthew 1: 18-25

ur Father’s stepping down the stairway of heaven with His Son in His arms means that we never need to ask again how much he loves us. God has landed on our shores! Or, as C.S. Lewis said, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.” (Mere Christianity, Chap. 5, par.1) The grand miracle of Christmas is God’s great evangelical effort to win fallen humanity back into relationship. The God who flung the stars into space came into human nature, and rose again bringing us up with Him. From this higher plane we have a broader vision: We can see things more clearly: We can dream dreams of a higher calling

Joseph had a vision amid what must have been a a heart breaking experience for the young carpenter. He learned that the love of his life was expecting a baby. Being a good man, his first inclination was to privately break off his engagement; however, in a dream an angel explained to him what exactly was going on. Mary had indeed been selected by God to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy that a Savior would be born of a willing virgin, and would forever after be born into hurting human hearts. Indeed, Joseph was to name the baby Jesus (Savior) for he would make dreaming great dreams possible for all people, of all time. Jesus became flesh so that he might live in our hearts. It is the most profound truth, but is the simplest story ever told.

A small child was spending a long time drawing a picture and so her teacher asked her what she was drawing. She replied: “A picture of God!” The teacher asked, “But nobody really knows what God looks like do they?” “They will when I finish my picture!” The little girl innocently responded. The faith of a child can confound the wisdom of the wise.

I picked up a true story on the Internet this week about an atheist philosophy professor at the University of Southern California who had as his goal to dispel every student’s belief in God. His students were always afraid to argue with him because of his stern manner and impeccable logic. For twenty years he has taught his class and no student had ever challenged him. At the end of each semester he would say to his class of 300, “If there is anyone who still believes in Jesus, stand up!” In twenty years no one had ever stood up. They knew what he was going to do next. He would say, “Anyone who believes in God is a fool, If God existed he could stop this piece of chalk from hitting the floor and breaking.” Then he would drop the chalk onto the tile floor and it would shatter. Many of his students were convinced. Sure, there had been believers in his classroom, but they would not stand up. Recently however, a young Christian freshman had to enroll in his class in order to satisfy his major. All semester he kept quiet, but prayed every day for courage to stand up. Finally the last day of class came and the crusty old professor stood in front of 300 young students and challenged them: “If there is anyone here who still believes in Jesus, stand up!” The prof. and everyone in the classroom was shocked when our young man stood up for Jesus. The prof. yelled, “You fool! If Jesus existed he could keep this piece of chalk from shattering when it hits the floor!” He proceeded to drop the chalk, but as he did, it slipped out of his fingers, off his shirt, onto his pants, down his leg, onto his shoe, and as it gently hit the tile floor it simply rolled away unbroken. The professor’s jaw dropped as he stared at the chalk. He looked up at the young freshman and then ran out of the classroom. Our young hero walked to the front of the classroom and proceeded to tell the story of Jesus for the next half-hour. 300 students stayed and listened as he told of God’s unending love for them and how the babe of Bethlehem had been born, and died, to offer every person everywhere a living relationship with Jesus Christ.

This Emmanuel, God with us, who landed on our shores, also has planned a complete invasion; a complete conquest and occupation of our hearts and lives. The Son became a person so that each of us might become a child of the Father too. This is the glad tidings of great joy to all people. (Lk. 2:10).

A carpenter and his wife with a newborn baby in a stable, a few shepherds, perhaps some cows and sheep, but there was a star in the sky pointing the way to the Savior. Thus, God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven.

We received a Christmas card that read:

If our greatest need had been knowledge,
God would have sent a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money,
God would have sent an economist.
If our greatest need had been pleasure,
God would have sent an entertainer.
But our greatest need is forgiveness,
So God sent us a Savior.

Jeannie Williams shared a story in Chicken Soup For The Soul of being out Christmas shopping when she heard a mother loudly scolding a child. Evidently the little girl had put something off the floor into her mouth, but the child was saying that she was only kissing it. “Mother this is the baby Jesus that fell out of that little manger, please buy it for me!” This made the mother more angry because she was very poor, and she shook her child. Jeannie turned away, but then heard the mother crying, and saw her caressing her daughter. The child comforted the mother by saying, “Mother I really do not need to have the baby Jesus because my Sunday School teacher said that Jesus lives in my heart.” The mother and child walked away hand in hand. Jeannie sprinted to the checkout and bought the entire nativity set and gave the baby Jesus to the little girl. If you were to visit Jeannie’s home this Christmas you would see on their mantel a small nativity scene that is missing its baby Jesus. It might look incomplete, but Jeannie Williams would quickly point out that the Christ child lives in her heart. “Jesus, Emmanuel, God With Us,” Has been born in us today.

a sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor

12/20/98, Christmas Sunday