Bryan Aalborg, pastor of the Foster Seventh-day Adventist church in Asheville, North Carolina, preached this sermon on December 11, 2010
As we INVESTIGATE the major elements surrounding what we call
the Christmas Story –
What happened BEFORE Jesus was born –
What happened AT THE TIME Jesus was born –
And what happened AFTER his birth –
ALL of these events most likely covered a span of at least
2 ½ to 3 YEARS.
Mary announcing that she had been selected to be the
mother of the Messiah--.
The angelic announcement in the sky they go immediately
But the Wise Men were directed by a star --- a STAR!.
Was it an angelic star? Was that star visible before Jesus was born?
Was it visible to the Wise Men of the East but not visible to the
residents of Judea? Or was it the same light seen by the shepherds on the
night of his birth --
And if it was NOT visible until Jesus let out his first cry after his birth
Then the Wise Men might not have saddled up their camels until a day
or so after Jesus was born – then we’re looking at a long journey.
How long did it take them to travel to Judea from wherever they came -
By the way, we don’t know whether they rode on camels or not –
The Bible doesn’t say they rode on camels -- it just makes for good
“Nativity Scenes” and sells a few thousand camels --
We do know that he was brought to the temple about 40 days after
He was born --- Luke also tells us that this was done according to the
Law of Moses -- And when we do read the account in Matthew of the visit of the
Magi you will notice that when they followed the star it came and stood over the
house where the young CHILD was – a young CHILD – not a babe.
It was a babe that the shepherds came to see. But the Wise Men came to
see a young child.
The term used here in the Bible for a young child can refer to some
one who is half grown.
It is likely then that the Wise Men did not make their visit until Jesus was taken
on his first dedicatory visit to the temple –
Months most likely passed – between the birth of Jesus and the
the arrival of the Wise Men –
As they inquired – “Where is he? Where is he that is born king of the Jews?”
Maybe a year – or more.
Somehow time seems to have crystallized these events surrounding the birth
We have had centuries of art work of the Nativity Scene and music that has
Developed over the centuries -
Customs that have evolved with culture and with time –
And all of this has laid a very fanciful, fairy-tale-ish tapestry over
The birth of Jesus –
If we really want to know
what it was like
Get rid of all the Christmas cards, ---
Get rid of all the decorations, the trees
Park your car in the garage,
and be like the Keatons ---
Let’s imagine she’s in her third trimester. Indeed at the end of that
Third trimester. If Natalie wants to find out what it was like at the
time of that first Christmas story she needs to
find a donkey, and Danny needs to set Natalie upon the back
of that donkey
And then lets say you’ll take a trip to, let’s say, Johnson City
A trip taking three or four days, - and there you are , Danny, pulling
That donkey, and pushing that donkey, not on the shoulder of I-26
But on some little logging trail, or single track that has rocks and ruts in it ---
And when you arrive in Johnson City
Bypass the hospital –
Find some Motel 6
Inquire if they have a room,
But they don’t have a room,
So Danny, you’re going to have to settle for ,
Natalie is going to have to settle for –
A shed, over by a dumpster!
(Danny runs a business called “Danny’s Dumpsters”)
And as Danny has “mid-wived” Natalie –
These red-neck ‘good ol’ boys’ stop by with sheep-manure
On their boots – and want to see your new baby.
Merry Christmas, Mary!
Merry Christmas, Joseph!
Once upon a Christmas,
Christmas was a bit more – earthy!