Have you ever thought of the people who missed the first Christmas? The Bible shares how some people who were alive when Jesus was born didn’t experience it. I’ve heard a number of sermons on the topic and thought I’d share some of my observations.
Theirs is a cautionary tale about our Christmas. Many of us go through the Christmas season and miss it’s true meaning. Here are some reasons they missed it and why we may miss it, too.
1. We’re too preoccupied (The Innkeeper)
There is no direct mention of an innkeeper in the Christmas story. Sorry to all of you who played this cold-hearted individual in the church pageant. However, we know that Bethlehem was inundated with people, and Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room in the inn (Luke 2:1-7). There is a reason there is no record of the innkeeper. He or she was simply too busy with business.
All of us need to set margins during the Christmas season. We simply get too busy. It’s okay to say “no” to some things. Do whatever you can to keep Jesus at the center of your Christmas. The Psalmist gives us good advice when he wrote, “Be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10). Spend time alone with Him. Worship Him. Reflect anew on the Christmas story.
2. We’re too prideful (The King)
Another person who missed Christmas was King Herod the Great. He thought he was the greatest and couldn’t stand that someone may be born “King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:16-18). His arrogance led him to order the slaughter all baby boys under the age of two in Bethlehem.
Ultimately, pride is selfishness. It is when we put ourselves first. It is wanting my way, not God’s way. We will miss Christmas unless we humble ourselves and surrender everything to Jesus.
3. We’re too pious (The Religious People)
The record reveals how King Herod gathered “all the chief priests and scribes of the people” and asked them where Christ was to be born. (Matthew 2:4). These people were experts in the Law and quoted the prophet that a ruler would be born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:5-6). Yet, we have no evidence that even one of them traveled the few miles to Bethlehem to see if the prophecy was true. Why?
In their religiosity, they had their own view of what the Messiah would look like. He was to come as a conquering king, not a crying baby.
Our religion can keep us from God. We go to church. We give. We serve. We try to be good. But we don’t have a personal relationship with Christ.
In 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.”
4. We’re too passive (The Townspeople)
Many people who knew about Christ’s birth didn’t seek Him. In Bethlehem, the shepherds shared the Good News with the town after they saw the Christ Child. The people of Jerusalem were “troubled” by the news of the birth (Matthew 2:3). Yet, we have no record of the people coming to see Jesus. Why? I think it was indifference. They just didn’t care.
Apathy keeps us from Advent. To experience Christmas, we must deliberately engage. The Shepherds responded in obedience to the angel’s announcement. The Wisemen traveled diligently and followed the star.
What is God asking you to do this Christmas? Maybe there is a project you can give towards or a neighbor you can witness to. Perhaps there’s a friend you can invite to church.
BEFORE YOU GO
Let’s commit to not missing this Christmas! Let’s say no to some things so we can say yes to the right thing. Let’s seek God’s way, not our way. Let’s give up religiosity and pursue relationship with Jesus. Let’s take action and leave apathy behind. I pray that this Christmas season will be precious for each of us!