Beyond Christmas

Isaiah 60:1-6     Psalm 72     Matthew 2:1-12     Ephesians 3:1-12

Wow! I am sure glad Christmas is over. Now we can be back to living our normal lives.

Isn’t that how we feel on the 2nd Sunday after Christmas? We are done with the Christmas parties, the extra Christmas church activities, and we are done being nice so Santa will bring us good presents.

For us to go beyond Christmas, we may want to take another look at why Jesus was born. If Jesus’ birth is only about giving presents and being nice to people, then I think we have missed the point.

We know the baby Jesus didn’t stay in the manger. It wasn’t a baby who was crucified by the Romans. It was the grown up Jesus who died to take away the sins of the world. It was the grown up Jesus who rose from the grave by the power of God. It was the grown up Jesus and God the Father who gave the Holy Spirit to us. We realize our faith in Jesus grows up.

A. Jesus grew up being worshipped (Matthew 2:1-12)
+++1. Wise men/astrologers/magi wanted to worship the child born king of the Jews
+++2. King Herod didn’t know what to do about this situation
+++3. The child born king of the Jews would shepherd his people, Israel
+++4. The babe in the manger had to grow up!
+++5. The wise men followed the star until it stopped over the place where Jesus was
+++6. Jesus is not in a manger now, he is in a house with his mother, Mary
+++7. The wise men gave Jesus gold, frankincense, and myrrh
+++8. The went home another route because of being warned in a dream about Herod
+++9. Growing up involves moving from the place where we were born. Jesus went beyond Christmas, for he did not stay in the manger. I am thinking many of us have also gone beyond Christmas. For we do not keep Jesus in the manger.

B. Thank God, we grow up! (Ephesians 3:1-12)
+++1. When we hear about Jesus, the Son of God, we choose what to do
++++++a. We repent
++++++b. Or we keep on doing what we want to do
++++++c. Each of us has this choice
+++2. We grow up by being built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God (Ephesians 2:22)
+++3. Jesus didn’t stay in the manger, neither does our faith in Jesus
+++4. What does it look like for us to go beyond Christmas?
++++++a. We realize in Jesus we Gentiles become fellow members of the same body and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel
++++++b. We become servants to the Gospel according to the gift of God’s grace, given to us, by his power
++++++c. We let the mystery of God’s ways be made known
++++++d. It is through the church in its rich variety that the mystery is made known to the rulers & authorities in heavenly places
++++++e. The world knows Christ Jesus because the world sees Christ Jesus working in us
++++++f. We grow up to know the boldness and confidence through faith in Christ Jesus
+++5. I know that I have much growing up to do. As God’s chosen ones life cannot be lived at the manger. We go beyond Christmas so we can be more like Jesus. It is the power of God’s grace that helps us to be church, the body of Christ. By God bringing us, and more people, together, it shows how marvelous God is. Look what sort of people God has brought together! It could only be God who could do such a work! It is only by our faith in Jesus Christ that we are together.

I hope you have received this friendly advice to go beyond Christmas. No matter who we are, God is bringing us together to be the church. We grow up in Jesus by worshiping God. Along the way we put up with some crazy stuff from one another. Yet, we get to praise God for bringing us together to be the body of Christ.

Whatever happens in the world, we grow up. Knowing that God brought us together through the gospel of Christ Jesus is marvelous. Since God brought wise men to worship the child Jesus, surely he can bring more men and women to worship Jesus with us! May our boldness and confidence in God grow as our faith in Jesus grows up!

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