Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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Well, for several years in a row our town was pretty lucky. We had a winning football team every year in high school. And every year the parents had a dinner in the team's honor, and everybody came. I mean, even people who had nothing to do with the football season suddenly showed up: the politicians, the board members, a variety of seemingly unconnected dignitaries. Oh, I'm sure they were there to honor the players.
But do you suppose they might have come for another reason? Hey, listen. We all like to be associated with winners, right? You have to ask yourself, "Who would be there if this team hadn't won a game?" Well, if you like to be associated with winners, there's something very unsettling about the Christmas Story.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Christmas is For Losers."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God comes from Luke 2:8-9, where we find the cast of the Christmas Story and how revealing it is concerning God's kind of people. Familiar words, "There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them."
Now, if you know much about the shepherds of that day, you might want to say, "The angel of the Lord appeared to them?" It's almost like there's a question mark there, "To the shepherds? They're the first ones to know?" See, these were like the lowlifes of Judea at that time. They weren't even allowed to go in the temple. They were the classic outsiders.
And it is to them God announces the birth of Christ, and He goes beyond that. In verse 20 of Luke 2, it says, "The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen." These guys turn out to be God's first ambassadors; the first evangelists. And think about the wise men; they were Gentiles. And in that Jewish culture they were considered outcasts - Gentile slime. But some of them were the first worshipers of Jesus.
It's pretty clear from the coming of Christ where His heart is, and where ours should be. Jesus goes with those that we call losers. He said in His first sermon in Luke chapter 4, He was there for the poor, and the prisoners, and the blind, etc. It goes against our whole natural bent, though. I want to be with the power people. Jesus says, "Go to the powerless." "I want to spend time with those who make me look good." Jesus says, "Go to those who might diminish your reputation but who need you." "I want to be with those who can help me in some way, you know?" Jesus says, "Go to those who have nothing to give." Wow!
Look around you this Christmas season. Who's the outsider in your world, the reject, the left out person, the poor, the powerless, but they're within your reach? Go to some people Jesus would go to. They're all around us. From God's perspective, we're all like those shepherds - spiritually dirty, and smelly, and unattractive.
I can tell you this, Jesus knows how it feels to be an outsider. Oh yeah, He does. Yeah, the Bible says He was rejected by men. All the people who should have been there for Him ultimately seemed to abandon Him. And the Bible says, "He was a man of sorrows." And He ultimately ended up hanging alone on a cross, because He came to bring us inside the greatest love in the universe, because we were cut off from the God that loves us and the God that made us. He didn't cut himself off from us; we did it by running our own life and hijacking our life from Him and putting up a wall between us and Him.
And Jesus came here and became the ultimate outsider so we could become the ultimate insider; to be actually welcomed into the family of Almighty God. But it took Jesus' blood on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. It started in a manger, but it was what happened on that cross that tore down the wall.
And today He waits this Christmas season to welcome you into the family of God to bring you into. Why don't you tell Him - what a better time to do it; couldn't be a better time - "Jesus, I love you for loving me the way you did. I am Yours beginning today." Our website will help you know exactly how to begin that relationship. I hope you'll check it out - YoursForLife.net.
Aren't you glad Christmas is for losers like you and me? Let's be sure that Christ comes to some people no one else comes to. He'll come to them through you, and they'll come to you to bring you into His family.