The Justice of Christmas

By Riccardo Stewart

There are restaurants opening up all over Tempe and in the broader Phoenix area. And, often times, on the eve of a new restaurant or coffee shop grand opening, they have a sort of “early reveal” to show off the finished project. Typically, owners will first invite “the special people” to the reveal party: close friends, family, and other influential people in the industry… the kind of people you would expect for them to invite. Later, the restaurant is open to the public for all to enjoy.

Likewise, Christmas marks a time in which God began to show the climax of his long story of redemption—it was the “reveal party” of his Son, Jesus, the redeemer of the world. Similar to a new restaurant, Jesus was going to be revealed to the whole world that all may hear the good news of the Kingdom that he was ushering into human history. However, unlike most restaurants, his reveal party had a guest list that consisted of the most unlikely people who would get the first look or “early reveal.” The list doesn’t include the people we would imagine… It’s not the rich, it’s not the super religious, it’s not the powerful… It’s a young, poor, teenage girl. Shepherds, perhaps the equivalent of migrant workers, who take the jobs that many educated and privileged people wouldn’t dare have. We see that even in the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the world, he is forced to flee his country and become a refugee in a foreign land. Yet, all of this was to reveal to the whole world that he was truly the “People’s Champ.”

This Advent season, we are looking at the Christmas story afresh. Seeing and witnessing how our Lord Jesus revealed himself to a different kind of people and showered his grace on the unlikely, our prayer and hope is to join in the mission of God and respond to the grace and action of God as we graciously give ourselves to the people in our society that often go unnoticed. We seek, in God’s love, to communicate in both word and deed the joy of Christmas to our cities.

Week 1: Unmarried, Pregnant, and Poor // Luke 1:26-38 & 46-56

  • Big Idea: We will look at the background of the Virgin Mary. This message will highlight her poverty, confusion of her pregnancy, and her response of praise (her song), once she understands the grace that has been extended to her.

Week 2: Migrant workers // Luke 2:8-21

  • Big Idea: We will look at the undesirable vocation of being a Shepherd and also see how gracious God is in visiting them with his angels to announce the good news. This message will highlight how the gospel starts at the bottom before its moves to the top (I promise not to mention any Drake references…maybe).

Week 3: Jesus the Refugee // Matthew 2:13-18

  • Big Idea: The title of this message speaks for itself. We will look how Jesus identifies not only with the poor and lowly but with the refugee. Jesus will provide a home for every sojourner and refugee who would trust in him, and they will live with him in his eternal Kingdom.

Week 4: The peoples champ // Luke 2:22-38

  • Big Idea: In this message we will look at a two people, Simeon and Anna (an old, devout man who’s full of the Spirit and a widowed prophetess), who highlight that salvation in Jesus has been a long-awaited hope and now is fulfilled in his life. The good news of Christmas is that salvation is for all people and is offered through the work of Jesus Christ.