When You Follow a Star and Find a Stable.
Alternative Sermon Approach
I would begin the sermon in same manner but I would take it a different route this time to a different conclusion that would be more faithful to the text. I would use the stable in a different way.
Some trivial thoughts about the magi.
Don't you think they were disappointed?
Looking for a king and find an ordinary Baby.
We can all relate to this experience in life can't we?
Stars have led us to some disappointing places too.
Story of "It's a Wonderful Life"
My experience as a pastor in Little Rock Ar.
But "Behold" says Matthew in the text.
Open Your Eyes or You Might Miss it.
You might miss it like the Jews did then.
The Name Jesus.
o Seen in the name given to this baby in chapter one.
o Jesus was a very common name like Smith or Jones.
o Illustration: Closing Speech by Tom Joad in the Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck. Tells his mother that she can always find him in the faces of ordinary people trying to make it in a hard world.
o IMMANUEL MEANS THEN GOD WITH US: NOT THE HERODS, OR THE MEDIA STARS, OR RICH ATHLETES. BUT HUMBLE ORDINARY PEOPLE LIKE US.
But Behold: This is the way Matthew Says that God is going to redeem the world.
o Going to redeem it by identifying with the least of these.
o Going to redeem it by working on behalf of the least of these.
Says something to us about our ministry then doesn't it.
o Says that all of God's stars are going to lead us to unexpected places.
o Undesired places that will not bring your financial gain or fame.
o Illustration: Dr. Nancy Rodriguez working among poor in Matamoras.
o Nursing homes, soup kitchens, refugee camps.
o We say God is with us in this war against terrorism.
o But from perspective of text should say God is with the hungry afghan child on the
Cover of the Houston Chronicle.
o Matthew's sheep and the goats.
But the Herod's, the powers that be aren't going to like it.
o Real threat to their way of life.
o Way of life dependent upon keeping world way that it is.
o So they will unleash all kinds of hell on you.
o Like the slaughter of the innocents in text.
o Herod world want go down without a fight.
o Will even frame fight in religious language -like fight for freedom.
But don't despair Jesus escapes and Herod dies.
o God's will will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
o God's kingdom is coming.
o Like the little apocalypse in Mark. This world is coming down and a new one ruled by a new king is going to replace it.
o So have hope.
Conclusion: Got to open our eyes and begin to look at our lives and God's work among us through the lens of this text. Not careful we will miss the epiphany altogether. It will give us a meaning and purpose for life that this consumer driven culture could never give us when we find it. Likewise if we place too much hope in Herod's world we will be disappointed because it is going to come to an end.
This alternative suggestion is very underdeveloped but his has some potential. The way to avoid my time crunch in the future would be to work three to four weeks ahead on the texts. This would give me the margin I need when the demands of my ministry are heavy and leave little prep time.