I love this time of year. Many refer to this time of year as the beginning of "Advent".
I did not have a enough cultural background to understand what Advent means. So I looked it up.
It means "Coming", "the season of the Arrival", Appearance: the arrival of person, or event.
So starting in November through December we are in the season of the Advent of Jesus Christ's coming to this earth.
I love a lot of the things attached to Christmas, just as you do.
I am not against Santa Clause or Elf on a Shelf and all these things about our modern Christmas, however I am looking for somebody lot more important than Santa Clause.
I believe that this year we are in a Christmas season of miracles. This year you are going to see more than a man in red suit. I believe you are going to see a manifestation of answered prayer during this season.
18. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:
23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel," which is translated, "God with us."
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife,
25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
When we get so wrapped up in the Christmas of today and all that is going on, though we are not against any of this, we have to be careful so that the truth of what really happened does not get diminished. Even as spirit filled charismatics we missed a lot of the things that happened on that first Christmas.
Christmas was a season that was marked by the miraculous.
In this season there are:
A supernatural birth taking place: a virgin birth
Dreams directed by God
Signs in the heavens
Supernatural deliverance from death.
The miraculous was everywhere in that first season, so why do we not look for the miraculous to take place in our Christmas season today, instead of looking at all these other things.
There is supposed to be more to this time of year than what people are looking forward to.
If you do not believe in the miraculous, you do not believe in Christmas.
God is the god of miracles. . . Amen. . .Hallelujah! He is not the god of just celebration.
The Covenant of Peace is Announced in the Heavens.
When the angels announced Jesus' birth in Luke Chapter 2, it says that angels broke out in praise saying. . "Glory to God in the highest, peace and good will toward men". . .they were praising God.
Since there was not much peace that followed this event there had to be peace that went beyond what was being experienced between people. The peace on earth and good will toward men was from God, because people surely have not caused much peace in the world.
God brought a covenant of peace as Jesus took our punishment, our shame, and our guilt, and caused the war between man and God to be over. Jesus being born, was going to grow up, and be hung on the cross to pay the punishment of sins. Jesus brings Peace to your life. Peace with God and Peace with Men.
The announcement made by the angels in this season of "Coming" was a covenant of peace that was freeing man from the curse of the law and promising peace between God and man.
This first Christmas season also brought with it:
Supernatural Deliverance from Death. They were out to kill Jesus for being born.
Blessing of Provision. When the wise men came they brought gold, frankincense, myrrh.
There were all kinds of miracles that took place during that first Christmas season.
We should be stirred up to believe God for some miracles in this present Christmas season also.
All of this had a divine purpose.
There was a reason for these miracles to happen.
It was not just for putting on a show.
Every miracle had its purpose for the Christmas event to take place.
1. Jesus is known as Emmanuel: God with US!
If he did not come down we could have never been raised up.
Thank God that he did come down that we could be raised up.
Jesus is "God with Us", the god who is eternally attached to me and you!
That means through the Good times. . .
That means through the Bad times. . .
That means through everything in between. . . He is the God who is with US!
That means He is with you and He promised to ALWAYS be WITH YOU!
The Jewish people had been praying for the miraculous manifestation of the Messiah since Isaiah first prophesied about Him in Isaiah Chapter 7. They were saying, "We need the Messiah to come." They still to this very day gather at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, praying that Messiah would come, not knowing that He has already come.
For centuries they had been praying, "Oh God send Messiah."
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law. .
It was the right season, the right time, and the right place. . .and it was time for Messiah to be born.
The prayers of centuries gone by were answered on that day when Jesus was born in that stable.
Prayers that have been prayed in Your life for year, after year, after year, can be answered for you this year, if you will only believe! Let's believe God this year that we will see our time of Advent, our time of God coming to us and making this our year of miracles in this season.
I am believing God for your season of miracles during this time.
One of the special things about Christmas this year needs to be that we are believing God for this to be a season of miracles just like it was on that very first Christmas.
This is a Season of Miracles
Here are some interesting things about the Miracle of Christmas.
1. It is a Step of Obedience.
God required Joseph to take a step of obedience that would not be understood by everybody else.
Nazareth was a small town, it still is now, but it was especially same back in this day.
Only about 300 to 350 people living in the city at this time, an most of them were related to each other. Have you ever been in a church were everybody was related to each other? Oh, be careful if you are their pastor; you will have some real challenges on your hands.
One thing I have learned about people in a small town or small setting is. . . people will talk.
That's got to be in the Bible somewhere because it is so true.
I guarantee you the rumor mill was going in Nazareth during this time.
Either Joseph was going to be suspected of being the father or Mary was going to be suspected of being unfaithful to Joseph, but either way Joseph was put in a tough place.
In Matthew 1:18 where it says, "Mary was betrothed to Joseph," this was concerning an marriage that was not yet consummated. It was more than just an engagement of marriage, it was looked at by the Jewish culture as an engagement so serious it took a writ of divorcement to break it. This is what was understood by everyone reading what Matthew pen these days.
In this narrative God has come to Joseph and asked him take a step of obedience that not everyone was willing to understand.
I believe that if Henry Ford would have been asked, "What is it that everybody wants?" The general conscious of that day would have been, "Give me a faster horse." But what Henry Ford understood was not what people was willing to understand. People were afraid of the automobile at first.
I am thankful that there was someone who was willing to step out beyond the obvious; and dared to step out in faith and look at more than just the way it had always been. . . but trust God!
It is time to break out of the box and see some miraculous things happening in this time of year.
Sometimes you have to stay faithful and even when everybody does not understand what you are saying, or they don't get it, or they don't have the faith aspect of what you are doing.
Keep on being faithful to what God has told you to do. You will reap in due season, and I am believing that this Christmas season is your do season.
Look at Noah
This has nothing to do with Christmas but it has a lot to do with what I am saying.
God told Noah to build an ark and it was not raining.
It had never rained and it was not going to rain for 100 more years.
Talk about a man of faith; he preached all that time and only had eight converts.
Thank God Noah never gave up and was willing to step out in obedience when no one else understood what he was doing.
Noah kept building on what God told him and when the rains came, what he build on during the sunshine preserved him when the storms came.
You keep building on what God has told you and it will preserve you when times are rough and the storms of life come your way.
I have spent time building myself up when things are going good, when things are going bad.
When it looks like nothing is working or when it looks like everything is working.
When it looks like you are winning, when looks like you are losing.
I keep staying faithful to this and building on this because I know
As I sow this in my live and speak it in my live;
You are going to hear the Word of God come out me;
You are going to see the Word of God raise up in me;
Because it will sustain me;
It will keep me;
It will see me through;
It will bring me to where I need to go.
Let the rains come;
Let the winds blow;
Let the storms rise;
But what I have built and sunk my life into;
What I have allowed to keep me and sustain me will sustain me through it all.
Build an ark that will hold you when the world is falling apart.
What you build in the day of calm with keep you in the day of struggle.
2. When the miracle did arrive it did not look like what everybody thought it was going to look like.
One of the greatest things that will lead to disappointment, depression and discouragement in your life, is when you think you have figured out how, when and where God is going to do it for you.
This is setting yourself up for disappointment.
When the Miracle of Christmas had arrived, it was different than they had expected.
Joseph and Mary had prayed for the Messiah to come since they were children.
They had been taught He was going to be a descendant of David, and that He was going to rule and reign as a powerful king.
Both Joseph and Mary were descendants of King David and they understood the significance of this prophecy.
So who would have ever thought it was going to happen like it did, especially not Joseph and Mary.
God answers with miracles in ways that will surprise us.
It is not our job to figure out the how, the when or the where; it is our job to believe God.
There has been times when we did everything we knew how to do;
We looked everywhere we knew to look; and yet nothing happened.
After we were wore out, deep down and about ready to give up and throw in the towel, then God moves in a way and suddenly from somewhere that we never expected our deliverance would come.
The birth of Jesus was this way.
The way God brought Jesus into the world was miraculous.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
God intentionally did things this ways so his son's birth would be supernatural.
You will miss that it was supernatural if you only look at Christmas without seeing that God was completely involved in the event.
God had Jesus born in Israel, not Rome.
Rome was considered the center of the world at that time and most would think if a king was going to be born Rome would be a more proper place.
God had Jesus born in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem.
Even if Jesus was going to be born in Israel, surely he would be born in Jerusalem.
God had Jesus born to a village girl, not a queen.
You would think God would have a king born from a queen.
Do you see who God can use?
People who believe him.
People who trust him.
People who believe and know He is a great God!
God had Jesus born in a stable, or a shepherd's cave, not a guest room.
Surely Jesus, the new born king would be born in a palace.
Jesus was placed in a manger, not a crib.
A manger is keeping animals and he was laid in a feeding trough for animals.
The shepherds in the field were out looking and they come and watched, not people in the city.
The Magi from Mesopotamia came to worship him, not the elders of Israel.
Religious people don't always get it. Isn't it strange how the religious people are always the ones that do not get it when God is involved. The religious folks are not always on the front line of what God is doing.
Nazareth, not some other town.
Galilee, not Judea.
Jesus was a carpenter; not a king, a not priest, a not military leader, not even necessarily as a scholar, but Jesus came from a carpenter's home.
The events surrounding Jesus birth are not necessarily pleasant.
When you think about the Christmas songs we sing;
"Silent night, holy night, all is calm. . .all is bright . . "
Joseph and Mary are in a manger with a new born baby,
The animals were smelly and they drop dung all around.
"Away in a Manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus lays down his sweet head"
"The Little Lord Jesus no crying he makes"
Really, he did cry; he was a new born baby. . .he cried!
When a baby is born they cry;
When a baby is hungry, they cry.
We have all these lofty ideas about how it must have been on that "Holy Night".
Life for them in that stable was something that was real.
The events surrounding the birth of Jesus may have been miserable in comparison.
Mary in a stable with her baby and only Joseph there to help her.
Not a hospital with a team of doctors and nurses, but a cold, damp, smelly, stable.
Why would God allow this to happen in this way?
Because God in the flesh, humbled himself to give us life.
Thank God for our Savior who was willing to humble himself,
Come down and be born among man in a stinking stable because He wanted to identify with you and me.
3. Joseph came to realize he was opposed by the very people you would have thought would be excited about the birth of Jesus.
Not everybody is going to get excited about your blessing.
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
2 saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him."
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
5 So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
6 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.' "
7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also."
Miracles can be disturbing to some people.
You start getting blessed more than them and they start acting funny.
If you were to get blessed out of your mind, me and you are going to lock arms and take a lap around this house.
When you begin to have signs and wonders manifesting in your life, or you begin to see answered prayer, then we are going to have church up in here on Sunday.
It's not just about God answering my prayers, but it is also about God answering your prayers.
You have the same Jesus that I have, and we should not be jealous over how much someone get of Jesus; but we should rejoice that they have received from him.
You are a miracle looking for a place to happen!
Why not stop and pray for someone during this Christmas season to have a miracle, and not just you pray for you to have one.
Pray for somebody else to have a miracle,
Pray for somebody else to have provision,
Pray for somebody else to be blessed.
What a great season this is to release the miracle working power of God!
I refuse to be a hater.
I refuse to be jealous.
If God blesses another church, I'm going to rejoice!
When God blesses somebody else, I'm going to rejoice!
I'm going to rejoice when your family, your business, and your life gets blessed.
I have discovered there are people because of their past and their upbringing, who will reject the blessings of God because they are so worried what everyone else is going to think.
They say, "If God is really good to me it might make them feel bad."
You have to deal with your own attitude toward this, but when God brings blessings upon this house and your life and your family and my life, we are going to share it together because God is no respecter of persons. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, Glory be to God!
Rejoice with them that Rejoice!
I am going to weep with you, pray with you, and rise up in faith with you.
I am going to experience the glory of God in your testimony just like it happened to me.
How many of you are believing for some things that you have not seen yet?
These are things that you have been praying in faith for a while now.
You have seen answered prayer and you have seen God do some things, but there is more.
Christmas tells us that God is not finished working miracles.
Christianity has to be perverted to turn it to narcissism, which is carrying about one's self.
It is not just all about me, it is not just all about you.
Jesus came to give himself that we might have life.
While the benefits are there, when you are blessed, you can't help but be a blessing to others.
God gives us power for purpose.
His gifts are tools not toys.
And the anointing is for action.
We are blessed to be a blessing.
It is wonderful to go into stores the stores this time of year and hear the songs about Jesus.
It's one thing to know his name, but it is another thing know the one being sung about.
A lot of people know my name, but the really don't know me.
It's one thing know about Him and sings about Him at Christmas,
But it is another thing entirely to personally know Him and who He is.
I don't want to know Him as just the Savior, but I want to know him in all of his names.
It's one thing to celebrate that He came, but it is another thing to celebrate why He came.
He is Savior
He is Redeemer
He is Emmanuel - God with us.
He is Healer
He is Deliverer
He is Shalom - Peace, in the form of a supernatural manifestation of God's glory.
He was born into the home of a carpenter.
Carpenters fix things; things that are broken, worn out.
Carpenters tear out the old and make it like new again.
Sometimes they make it better than when it was new.
If the craftsmanship was shotty at best, a carpenter with skills comes in and makes it better.
Jesus was born in a carpenter's home and he has an anointing to fix things.
Jesus can fix what has been broken in your life.
Christmas is a time for wild miracles.
God can fix what has been broken.
Jesus has a carpenter's anointing to go in and fix and restore what has been broken.
I don't need to just be saved, I need to be fixed.
It is not enough to hear the Word preached and hear the badness that is in you,
You have to hear from the Word how to fix the brokenness that is in you.
Jesus has the anointing to fix what is broken on the inside of you and restore what is broken on the outside of you.
If you are like those Jewish people who had prayed for years that Messiah would come. . .
They had waited and prayed for years and were not seeing anything yet. . .
Then it happened.
There was a day, a night, and a season, when suddenly their prayers were answered.
Messiah came in miraculous ways that required a step of faith to see how miraculous it was.
If you will take a step of faith this Christmas season and not just go through the motions of Christmas, but step into the supernatural manifestation and miraculous that you have been believing for, Jesus will show up, Messiah will come.
During this Christmas season you may need
Healing in your body,
Breakthrough in your job, your finances, your family, your marriage, your children.
You may need promises to come true, or a new release of power through the Holy Spirit.
You may need your ministry to experience God and birth the newness of the Christ in your ministry.
Whatever your Christmas miracle is, this is the season and time to seek God for your miracle.