Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sermon: Matthew 1: 18-25 The Christmas Cracker

I’ve got something with me this morning to show you, but I want you to guess what it might be. It’s something that you might have on your table when you sit down for Christmas dinner. Any guesses?

It is, of course, a Christmas cracker. But this is no ordinary cracker. It’s a special one that is going to help us understand the Christmas story. The things inside will tell the story. Now, can we have two volunteers to help pull the cracker?

The first thing we’re going to look at is the wee bit of paper. Now, normally there’s a joke in a cracker, and even though there isn’t one on this bit of paper, I know you want to hear a cracker joke, so here goes: ‘2 snowmen in a field, one turns to the other and says, “can you smell carrots?”’ or ‘What sort of pizza does good King Wenceslas like? Deep pan, crisp and even.’

The paper inside this Christmas cracker has a Bible reference on it - it’s pointing us to Matthew 1:18-25. So let’s read that, and then move on to the other contents. Now in that passage there were three names for the baby, and we’re going to look at them in turn.

First up, is the crown. Who wears a crown? We’ve already seen some crowns this morning on the stage - the wise men, or kings. The baby to be born is the Christ, which is another way of saying he is the king, promised from the Old Testament. You see, Christ isn’t Jesus’ last name in the way that mine is McMurray. Christ is a title for the baby, who is the king.

Next, we come to the cross. The name Jesus means ‘God saves’ - as the angel told Joseph, ‘he will save his people from their sins.’ While the nativity story finishes when the wise men come to see Jesus, the truth is that the story goes on until Jesus grows up and dies on a cross. It’s the reason he came into the world in the first place, to die for our sins and rescue us.

The third item we found in the cracker points us to the final name for the baby we find in the passage. It’s that longer name - Emmanuel. Emmanuel, as Matthew tells us, means ‘God with us.’ And the third object in the cracker was a ring, which symbolises love, commitment, and being together.

Jesus is God with us, not just at Christmas, but always. Jesus coming into the world shows that he loves us, and he never leaves us.

I wonder if, as we hear the story of Christmas, you know the real meaning of Christmas? It’s all about Christ Jesus Emmanuel - the King who saves his people, and is with us forever.

This sermon was preached at the Family Nativity Service at Aghavea Parish Church on Sunday 11th December 2011.

No comments:

Post a Comment