Selah: Have a Mary Christmas

Speaker: M.Noorhoff

Christmas means that:

   He descended that we might ascend (John 6:38, 14:3).

   He became poor that we might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9, Jas. 2:5).

   He was born that we might be born again (John 1:14, 3:2,7).

   He became a servant that we might become sons (Phil. 2:7; Gal. 4:6, 7).

   He had no home that we might have a home in heaven (Matt. 8:20; John 14:2).

   He was hungry that we might be fed (Matt. 4:2; John 6:50).

   He was thirsty that we might be satisfied (John 19:26).

   He was stripped that we might be clothed (Matt. 27:28; Gal. 3:27).

   He was forsaken that we might not be forsaken (Matt. 27:26; 28:20).

   He was sad that we might become glad (Isa. 53:3; Phil. 4:4).

   He was bound that we might go free (Matt. 27:2; John 8:32-36).

   He was made sin that we might be made righteous (2 Cor. 5:21).

   He died that we might live (John 5:24, 25).

   He came down that we might be caught up (1 Thess. 4:16, 17).

Luke 2:10-20

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 10:38-4

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

But whatever the reason his heart or his shoes,

He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the whos,

Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown

At the warm lighted windows below in the town

For he knew every Who down in whoville beneath

Was busy now hanging a mistletoe wreath

gAnd theyfre hanging their stocking, he snarled with a sneer.

Tomorrow is Christmas its practically here!h

Then he growled with his fingers nervously drumming,

gI must find a way to stop Christmas from coming

c All the Who girls and boysA

Would wake bright and early. Theyfd rush for their toys!

And then!  Oh the noise! Oh the noise! noise! noise! noise!

Thatfs one thing he hated the noise! noise! noise! noise!

Ten the Whos, young and old would sit down to a feast and theyfd feast

And theyfd feast! Feast! Feast! Feast!       Dr Suess gThe Grinch who stole Christmash

In the old testament book of Psalms there is a word used which is not translatable- Selah. It is a very important word for our spiritual life and true enjoyment of the holidays. It was said when the psalmist was overcome by the majesty and glory of the thing he had just been moved to write. But today we have little time for gSelahh in our lives our celebrations and often perhaps too often in our churches.

From time to time during the course of a busy day we should take a Selah or rather I should say we should avail ourselves of the opportunity to feel gSelahh We should pause in the heat of battle to think deeply and contemplatively on the word of God and the wonder of His love, glory and majesty. We should reflect on the great blessing of Grace and be filled with joy and thankfulness.  In this season in particular we are given the opportunity to really consider the glory of God come down to earth, knowing full well in the end he would not be greeted with shouts of glory to God but the shout Crucify, Crucify!

I was inspired for this sermon when I read how the first Thanksgivings in America were intended to be spent and I quickly saw the trend across the holidays in particular Christmas. I watched the post Thanksgiving rush for Christmas bargains, the pushing the shoving and I thought this is not the way it was meant to be. You see when Benjamin Franklin first suggested making Thanksgiving a national holiday; his intention was that it would be a day of fasting (no food)and reflection a far cry from the gluttony that takes place today.

Letfs just stop and think of some of these occasions.

Now be honest with yourselves: What are some of the first things you think of when you think of

Valentines Day



New Years


Are our heads full of chocolate and sugarplums, flowers and football, turkey and champagne, romance and shopping? If so maybe the world is winning. But we can turn the battle around by going deeper and taking a Selah moment.

In this season in particular we should reflect upon this Great God creator of the universe and all in it. Instead the holiday season is so often filled with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Our thoughts are dominated by chores and tasks of what the world expects, what Christmas presents to buy, what to cook, what to do for New Years. The church too is very busy, Christmas is the busiest time of the year, planning and preparing for the Christmas celebration but too often forgetting to invite the guest of honour. The words of Isaiah ring true for many a person and many a church during this season as with other special occasions.

Isaiah 29:13

This people draw near me with their mouth and their lips do me honour, but they have removed their heart far from me.

Now I ask you is this anyway to celebrate the birth of our Lord, the one who would die for our sins (my sins, your sins) becoming sin itself allowing himself do be despised by the Father in heaven whipped and beaten and hung on a cross adding humiliation to al this, so that we may be saved.  Selah  Imagine God in all his Glory, God who holds the universe in His hands coming down in size, down to earth given onto us as a baby born in a stable in Bethlehem. Selah To start to imagine this consider trying to pit yourself onto the tip of a needle or into a single cell in your body and you will only begin to understand what it was like for God to come to earth to save us guide us and comfort us.  Selah

How many of us have forgotten that holidays were originally holy days and were meant to be kept holy. But as we look around and see how these days are spent we see little holiness about them. We see little true deep worship, we see little Selah, We are all living Martha lives and little Mary.

I used to get the feeling every year I guess I had since I got into my teens. Christmas was a holiday of mixed feeling. Of course for most of my life I was not a Christian and Christmas had little to do with the true meaning except the carols and the occasional religious theme in a TV show like Charlie Brownfs Christmas or the little drummer boy. Christmas was excitement but also disappointment, family but also loneliness. It was all build up but always left me with an emptiness in the end. Donft get me wrong we had a wonderful Christmas a big tree full of presents enough food to eat for a week or more. The family would gather but by the end of it all. After the Christmas pudding the stories that are told every year, especially the ones embarrassing to you. I would feel exhausted I would have a headache and in many ways I felt the emptiness more than ever. Ifve talked to others and they have mentioned the same feeling and Ifm lead to believe that it is fairly commonBHow could this be I was blessed more than so many but at the end that humbug feeling would come upon me and what should have been a joyous occasion my heart was crying crucify, crucify, who needed Christmas anyway. All that money spent, expectations unfulfilled, But then I doubt they could ever be filled because that is just the way our flesh works, never satisfied or content.

Paul found contentment in hardship though. How could we be so discontent when we are so blessed? The question is are our blessings of the world or are they of God. Are the temporary or eternal? Can we ever be satisfied if our soul, our spirit is left unsatisfied? Our soul can only be satisfied be those Selah moments when it is filled with the Word of God the presence of the Spirit, the presence of Christ. We can not be satisfied by mere presents but we can by His mere presence.

Since accepting Christ into my life and giving myself over to him. I have had many epiphanies, many Selah moments. I have been able to find the true satisfaction of Christmas, nothing expected and nothing needed apart from the greatest gift of Godfs one and son a child given unto us. For those of you here from other countries who are not going home for Christmas you should consider this opportunity a blessing. Any presents you are going to buy are sent off early the cards are all done. The rush is over well before Christmas. You may not have the lights or the tree or the mountain of presents but you have an opportunity if you choose to seize it of going deeper into the true meaning of Christmas then you ever have. Nothing outside just deep reaching into deep, you and God, you and Christ one on one. Sitting at His knee. Listening to him tell you stories you never heard before, letting you drink of the living water that is sweeter than any wine, not feeding you with bread or turkey or lamb but with every word that comes from the mouth of God. You have time to sit down and listen to the master, to choose the right way. You have an opportunity to have a Mary Christmas and not a Martha Christmas. 

For all the other I encourage you to prepare all before Christmas, well before Christmas so that you to may take a time of rest and sit at the masterfs knee.  In new years in this country the tradition is that nothing should be cooked on new yearfs day. No cleaning should be done; it is just a time to relax and be with family. Should not we as Christians do the same for the Lordfs birthday?@Donft make the same mistake as Martha. Learn that even if you have to give up some of those things you think you need to do it will be a blessing for you to be like Mary. Others may complain but the guest of honour will be pleased with you.

Donft let yourself be taken down by the expectations of the world.

Imagine what it would be like to have Christ staying with you for the Holidays. How would you spend those days? Would you work endlessly in the physical world to try to please Him and others or would you be able to just sit down and meditate on the words and stories he is speaking to you. This isnft about only Christmas but any one the holiday most of which we spend in Martha style. See the bible clearly shows us the danger. It is very clear on the fact that Martha loved Jesus very much and the He too held her with great love but she made the mistake of how to show this love. She spent to much doing and not enough communicating. She did what she thought was expected instead of asking her guest of honour what he would like her to do. Ifm sure she regretted it when with all her good intention she actually spoke with some anger towards Jesus whom she loved, OF course she was angry at Mary but to be honest she was also angry at Christ. Too many of us fall into the same trap. If only Martha took a few seconds to really listen to Christ talking she would have put down the mop, turned off that stove, and sat down next to him. And the next time He came would certainly not have made the same mistake twice she would have finished her preparations early so that she too could be a god host by doing the guestfs will and spending time with him. Listening to his words and meditating on the and having a Selah moment.

How will you treat you guest this Christmas?

Whether or not you enjoy this Christmas will depend where your focus is

Matthew 6:21

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Whether or not those around you will feel the true joy of Christmas will depend on how much Christmas shows in you. Be that light on the mountain, the salt of the earth, the star on the Christmas tree, the angel bringing the good news.

For unto us a child is born let me tell you the rest of the story because it gets even more incredible. In fact it may even change your life.

And the Grinch, with his Grinch feet ice cold in the snow,

Stood puzzling and puzzling how could it be so?

gIt came without ribbons! It came without tags!

It came without packages, boxes or bags!h

And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadnft before!

gMaybe Christmash he thought, g doesnft come from a storeh

Maybe Christmas c.perhapsc. means a little bit more!h

Selah and Amen

Have a Mary Christmas

Let us pray