SERIES: The Thrill of Hope: Christmas 2017

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Journey Church


  • Difference between what we expect at Christmas and what we experience.
  • Movies, commercials, Christmas displays and cards set us up to expect something like that


If you were to use one word to describe Christmas (Christ’s birth) it might be the word UNEXPECTED

No one expected a baby born in a small town to a common couple from an insignificant nation to change history. It was all unexpected.

People were looking for a Messiah – they expected a king who would rule the world, not a servant who would sacrifice for the world

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. – Isaiah 55:8 (560)

Christmas is an incredible reminder to us that God majors in the unexpected.


Text: Luke 2:1-7 (781)

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

  1. Jesus shows up at an unexpected time (1-3).

a.  Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth (north of Jerusalem, near Sea of Galilee)

b.  But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf. – Micah 5:2 (706)

c.  It just so happened – at the time that Mary was coming close to her due date – that Augustus decided that there should be a census of the whole Roman Empire, which covered most of the known world.

-Roman: City you lived in

-Jewish: City of your ancestry (for Joseph that was Bethlehem)

d.  So, Jesus ends up being born in Bethlehem while his parents are on a trip – and fulfills the prophecy from Micah 700 years earlier.

e.  Christmas is a reminder that God shows up in our lives when we least expect it…


  1. Jesus comes to an unexpected people (4-5).

a.  Joseph – not much is known about him

b.  Mary – unremarkable young woman, shocked that God would choose her for this role.

                             -They were from Nazareth – “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”

c.  Bible – history of God choosing unlikely people who were willing or became willing.

d.  Your willingness makes you a candidate for God to do the unexpected in your life

e.  Your willingness to serve others creates opportunities for God to work – in you and in other people


  1. Jesus comes to an unexpected place (6-7).

a.  Everything about Jesus birth pointed to obscurity, poverty, and even rejection (there wasn’t room for Him)

b.  Christmas – Jesus’ birth in an unexpected and less than desirable place – reminds us that God will show up in the middle of our mess

c.  We think God wants to know the future us. The cleaned up, together version. But the surprising hope of Christmas shows us that God just wants relationship with us. The real us. The us that no one else sees.

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