Tom Scott - 15/12/2013
Date: December 16, 2013
Two weekends in a row we have had bad weather, but that has not stopped us from having great times of worship here on Sunday morning. Rachel has been leading us in some updated versions of some Christmas classics. If you like singing the old carols, let me invite you to come this Sunday afternoon as we go caroling. We will journey from the church at 2:00pm and return at 4:00pm. More than likely, we will travel in minivans and cars to visit those who are not able to get out much. Mary and Joseph would have loved a minivan when they traveled to Bethlehem, but the Bible does not mention one; nor does it mention any animal for that matter. Those eighty miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem were a journey of hope. That was the message yesterday here at Cumberland. If you missed the sermon; you should be able to find it on our website some time this week. Here are some questions to help you reflect upon the message:
1. Christmas is a time of hope for most of us. Kids hope they will receive that favorite toy that they have been asking for. Parents hope they find that gift the kids are wanting. Grandparents hope that the family stays safe as they travel for the holidays. Dads hope they can get through Christmas without receiving another ugly sweater or package of tube socks. What is something that you are hoping for this Christmas?
2. Mary and Joseph were hoping to get to Bethlehem before the baby was born. In the message I talked about the necessity of the trip and how dangerous it might have been for them. Luke records that the Emperor had ordered that a census be taken and that everyone had to return to the land of their fathers. This meant Joseph had to return to Bethlehem. We know from Luke chapter 10 that the stretch of road from Jericho to Jerusalem was dangerous because of the parable Jesus told. What would be the most difficult aspect of this eighty mile journey for Mary and Joseph?
3. When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem; their hopes turned to finding a place to stay while she prepared to give birth to her son. Luke tells us that when the time had come, Mary gave birth to her child and placed him in a manger for there was no room for them in the inn. The hopes of all the world were laid to rest in an object used to feed animals. Micah 5:2 foretold that Bethlehem would be the birth site for this child, but it is still hard to imagine that Jesus would be born in such humble surroundings. What is one thing that you would like to know about the birth of Jesus that has not been told yet?
4. The main point of the message was that hope is something that we can give to people this Christmas. I shared four ways that we can give people the gift of hope in the second half of the message. The first way we can give people hope is by sharing with others the words of scripture. Romans 15:4 tells us that the scriptures were written so that in them we might find hope. Psalm 119:74 talks about finding hope in God’s word. One of the best gifts that we can give people is the Bible. Is there someone on your Christmas list that could use a Bible?
5. During the second half of the message I talked about giving people a book (the Bible), a helmet of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8), an anchor (Hebrews 6:19), and a home (John 14:1-2). When Jesus came the first time there was no room for him. Jesus tells us in John chapter 14 that when he comes again that there will be plenty of rooms in his home for us. Our hope is in Heaven and what God has waiting for us up there. How can you share the gift of hope with a friend or family member this Christmas?
Many of us will be traveling this Christmas to visit family and friends. As we are loading up the minivan and heading off to who knows where: think about that journey of hope that took Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Let’s think of some ways that we can share that hope with others as we celebrate Christmas this year.
Luke 2:1-5 December 15, 2013
Introduction: Christmas is often a time for us to load up the minivan and head to Grandma’s house to open presents and enjoy a good family meal. Mary and Joseph would be stunned to see how we travel around today. Their journey of hope did not include a minivan or a warm comfortable bed as they traveled to Bethlehem. It is here that Jesus would be born in a manger for the inn was full. This morning, we will look at the gift of hope that we can share with others this Christmas.
I. Mary and Joseph were filled with hope.
A. They hoped to get to Bethlehem.
1. The trip was necessary. Luke 2:1-3
2. The trip was risky. 2 Corinthians 11:26
B. They hoped to find a room.
1. The time has come. Galatians 4:4
2. The town was full. Micah 5:2
II. We need to share the gift of hope.
A. We can give people a book. Romans 15:4
B. We can give people a helmet. 1 Thessalonians 5:8
C. We can give people an anchor. Hebrews 6:19
D. We can give people a home. John 14:1-2
Conclusion: Do you find it hard to buy gifts for some people on your list because they already have two of everything? This Christmas we need to give them a gift that costs very little, yet is very valuable. It is the gift of hope. Let’s think of some ways this week that we can share a gift of hope with the people around us.
Key Thought: Mary and Joseph were filled with hope as they traveled to Bethlehem.