Monday, December 22, 2008

Two Babies in the Manger

This is my sermon to the children and parents at our Sunday School Christmas Service, Sunday, December 21, 2008.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for Christmas and for coming to us to save us. Amen.

I want to thank all of you for being here tonight to tell the story of Christmas. Thank you for coming to the practices, memorizing your parts, and for all the beautiful music.

One of you said this passage just a few minutes ago: "But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart?" (Luke 2.19).

Do you know what a "miracle baby" is? (One little boy said, "It's a baby that does miracles!" Yes, that's a good answer. But I was thinking that...) A miracle baby is a baby we didn't expect. We are told about several miracle babies in the Bible: Isaac, Moses (It was surprising that he lived.), and Samuel. Jesus was especially a miracle baby.

All of you are special babies/children because there's only one of you. We can't go anywhere in the world to find another person like you. You are all gifts of God. And that's why Christmas is so important. God who made you, loves you and wants to be with you.

Mary was thinking about her miracle baby. She thought about what the shepherds told her: "He is the Savior, Christ the Lord." Another way to say that is that Jesus is God's Son, and He came to save us from our sins.

You know what sins are? We've talked about that before. Sins are the bad things people do, the bad things we do. None of us can stop them. But God can. And that's why He sent His Son Jesus at Christmas. One day Jesus, the miracle baby, would grow up to be a miracle man. He would die on the cross and rise again to take away our sins.

God wants us to keep these things in our hearts too. To help us remember, I'd like to tell you a story about a little boy named Mischa.

Mischa lived in Russia in an orphanage. Do you know what an orphan is? (Children answered - someone with out a mom or dad.) In Russia, for many years children never heard the story of Jesus and Christmas. But a few years ago missionaries came to this orphanage and told the children the same story you've told us tonight.

To help the children remember or ponder these things, the missionaries decided to help the children make their own little mangers. They cut up pieces of cardboard, cloth and paper to make little mangers and little baby Jesus' to go in the mangers.

But Misha had two babies in his manger! The missionaries asked why? With the help of a translator Mischa told the story of Christmas. He had everything down just right. He told about Mary and Joseph, about the Shepherds and the Angels and about the Wisemen.

But then he started to add to the story a little...

After Maria put Jesus in the manger, He said to me, "Mischa, do you have a place to stay?" I said, "No. I don't have a momma or a pappa, and I don't have any place to stay." Jesus said to me, "Would you like to stay with me?" I said, "Yes, I would like to stay with you, but I don't have a gift to give you like everyone else." Then I thought about a gift I could give to Jesus. So I said, "Could I keep you warm? Would that be a good enough gift?" Jesus said, "Yes, that would be a good gift." So I got into the manger with Jesus and He said I could stay with Him forever.

Jesus came to us at Christmas so that we could stay with Him forever. He is the one who will always take care of us. That's a good thing for us to remember this Christmas.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You for coming at Christmas. We are glad that we can stay with You forever. Amen.

Note: The Mischa story is apparently true. Click here for the full account.