Waynedale United Methodist Church
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Dec 24, 2015 Sermon

“The Holy Spirit”
Matthew 1:18 – 25
Ted Jansen December 24, 2015  Waynedale UMC
           
1.)        As we come to celebrate the birth of Christ we might focus on the child, on Mary, on Joseph, on the shepherds, on the angels, on the innkeeper, on the other people that must have been around.  Yet, there is one person that was vital, instrumental and foundational to the Christmas story that we don’t pay much attention to.  That person is the person of the Holy Spirit. 
            I invite you into the birth story from Matthew as it is written about the Holy Spirit.  
           
2.)        Mathew first tells us that what is conceived in Mary is from the Holy Spirit.  Listen to Matthew 1:18. “This is how the birth of Jesus came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.”    This is the first time we hear of the Holy Spirit as it relates to the birth story. 
Then an angel affirms the message about the child in a dream to Joseph. Listen to Matthew1:20.  “But after he (Joseph) had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”  This is the second time we hear of the Holy Spirit.  The first was to Mary and the second was to Joseph.     
Isaiah wrote words that were inspired by the Holy Spirit and when the child was born this fulfilled the ancient words.  Matthew was led by the Holy Spirit when he wrote about the birth story and these words from Isaiah in Matthew 1:22, 23. “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord has said through the prophet: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means God with us).  Though the words in Mathew do not mention the Holy Spirit we understand that when a prophecy was fulfilled it was the Holy Spirit at work.  Isaiah recorded the words and Matthew saw them fulfilled. 
Joseph, who was led by the Holy Spirit to take Mary home as his wife, and told to give the child the name of Jesus did so after the boy was born.  It was the Holy Spirit that led Joseph to do this. Matthew 1:25 says, “He did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son.  And he gave him the name Jesus.”    
 
3.)        The Holy Spirit was a vital part of the story of the gift of God’s love in Christ.  The Holy Spirit is a vital part of the story of sharing God’s love in Christ.  When the church began on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit gave great witness to the Resurrected Christ.  
            The Holy Spirit is involved in communicating God’s love when we are not even aware.  We might call this “amazing grace!”    
            During this time of year when we see good things expressed, or loving acts shared, a person being blessed, etc.  we might say that it is done because of the “spirit” of the season.  That is a safe way to describe the Holy Spirit at work. 
That might even be a generic way of describing the Holy Spirit and God’s love without mentioning God or that which is Holy.  I believe that God, through the Holy Spirit, is at work in expressing love this time of year and all year.  When people are open to giving and receiving love God has more opportunities to work. 
Are you open to the gifts of love that the Holy Spirit wants to bring you through the any and all the ways this season?        
 
4.)        Tedd Kidd was five years older than Janet, finished college before her, and started to work in a city hundreds of miles from her. They always seemed to be at different places in their lives. But they had been dating for seven years.
Every Valentine's Day, Tedd proposed to her. Every Valentine's Day, Janet would say, "No, not yet."
Finally, when they were both living in Dallas, Texas, Tedd reached the end of his patience. He bought a ring, took Janet to a romantic restaurant, and was prepared to reinforce his proposal with the diamond. Another no would mean he had to get on with his life without her.
After salad, entree, and dessert, it was time. Tedd summoned up his courage. Knowing that Janet had a gift for him, however, he decided to wait. "What did you bring me?" he asked. She handed him a box the size of a book. He opened the package and slowly peeled away the tissue paper. It was a cross-stitch Janet had made that simply said, "Yes."
Yes--it is the word that God, in his tireless pursuit of the sinner, longs to hear. (Citation: Rubel Shelly; Nashville, Tennessee; story told at Janet's funeral after 17 years of marriage to Tedd)
 
5.)        “Yes!”  That is the word that the Holy Spirit wants us to say as we look at the story.  Yes, as we see Mary who conceived a child in her womb.  May we be willing to be a servant of God in whatever role God has for us. 
Yes, as we see Joseph struggling with what to do when he has a dream.  May we listen to our dreams and be willing to do things that will cause others to look at us differently. 
Yes, when a child is born long ago that was spoken by a prophet.  May we spend time reading the scriptures and seeing the hand of God in life. 
Yes, when the shepherds hear the angels singing one night about this child.  May we listen to the songs around us and dare to believe that God is doing something amazing in our world. 
Yes, when the shepherd go and see the child, along with Mary and Joseph.  May we leave all that we know and kneel at the manger and see this child, this, boy, this God who dared to come and be our Immanuel, God with us. 
 
6.)        We know that when the Holy Spirit is speaking to our heart we will know that God is with us.  We realize that the Holy Spirit is never predictable, never controllable, never safely kept in a box.  The Holy Spirit is amazing us and blessing us. 
 
7.)        A Children’s ministry was putting on a Christmas pageant which included the story of Mary and Joseph coming to the inn. One boy wanted so very much to be Joseph, but when the parts were handed out, a boy he didn’t like was given that part, and he was assigned to be the inn-keeper instead. He was pretty upset about this but he didn’t say anything to the director.
During all the rehearsals he thought what he might do the night of performance to get even with this rival who got to be Joseph. Finally, the night of the performance, Mary and Joseph came walking across the stage. They knocked on the door of the inn, and the inn-keeper opened the door and asked them gruffly what they wanted.
Joseph answered, "We’d like to have a room for the night." Suddenly the inn-keeper threw the door open wide and said, "Great, come on in and I’ll give you the best room in the house!"
For a few seconds poor little Joseph didn’t know what to do. Thinking quickly on his feet, he looked inside the door past the inn-keeper then said, "No wife of mine is going to stay in dump like this. Come on, Mary, let’s go to the barn." And once again the play was back on track!
 
8.)        Do you have a plan, a dream for your life?  Has it turned out the way you thought it would?  Did you, like the boy in the play, want to change life up, only to find it did not work out that way?  What do we do with our faith in God and our understanding of the Holy Spirit when things are different than what we expected? 
The Holy Spirit was a vital part of the story on the first Christmas and is a vital part of this Christmas.  We need to be obedient to the Holy Spirit and acknowledge His presence in our lives and in the story of the birth of Jesus.   
            Tonight we will light a candle, our candle that we hold to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  We celebrate the light that overcame the darkness.  We symbolize the importance of light as we darken the room and imagine a world without hope. 
 
9.)        Have you noticed in our world what people do whenever there is a tragedy?  People light candles.  The candle represents many things to people.  I see that the human spirit has been hurt and broken through the tragedy that have occurred.  People are in darkness and without hope. 
When people light a candle it is their way of calling out to God, of calling out to the Holy Spirit, to do something, to bring light, to bring hope, to bring healing, to bring God with us in the midst of this broken moment.    
When the candle is lit I believe that the Holy Spirit brings healing and hope.  Each candle lit at as site near the tragedy is saying that evil will not have the final word, but love, hope, grace, and God will bring life out of death. 
 
10.)      When we light a candle and sing, “Silent Night,” we feel something in our spirit.  We know the words, the light, the music and setting speak to our spirit.  This is not just the “spirit” of the season, this is the Holy Spirit coming into our spirit.  The Holy Spirit makes this a Holy night.
 
11.)      When you light a candle tonight let the light shine into any personal tragedy or struggles or tough times you have had or are having in your life.  Let you light shine for your family, for the world, for people everywhere.  Someone needs hope tonight and your light and the Holy Spirit will bring life to them.