As you gather with your family this Christmas, I hope you will remember that Jesus was part of a family, too. Mary and Joseph married, and they had other children after Jesus. Jesus, we know, had four brothers: James, and Jude, and Joseph, and Simon. Jesus also had several sisters, however, we don't know their names (you know how women were treated back in those days; they didn't often take time to name them publicly).
Jesus was the oldest; I wonder how many times Mary and Joseph had to go to the market and said, "Jesus, you'll have to take care of the young ones while we're gone." Jesus and the others, I'm sure, took turns doing the chores, all the while learning a trade and going to school. Aren't you glad that Jesus experienced what it was like to live in a family?
Some people are so anxious to preserve the fact that Jesus was different from us that they lose the fundamental beauty of Christmas and the meaning of Jesus -- that he was like us! He grew up in a family! When he went to school and the teacher said, "Jesus, what does your father do?" He said, "He's a carpenter." "Do you have any brothers and sisters?" "Oh yes, lots of them! Hardly a place to sleep, there's so many of them!"
That's Jesus. All his life, he knew what you and I know: What it is to be in a family. What it is to laugh and cry. What it is to keep a holiday. What it is to sing happy birthday.
What do you really believe about Jesus? There are people who like to tell me what they don't believe; they'll say, "I don't know about that walking on the water, or Jesus feeding the 5,000," and they like to recite what they don't believe. I would much rather hear, however, what you do believe.
What do you believe about Jesus of Nazareth? I'll tell you what I believe: Come, we have found the Christ. He is Jesus, the son of Joseph, the son of David, the Son of God. Come and see.
In the name of the One who can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
Bruce Jones, Pastor and Co-Creator,
Imagine Church of the Carolinas