Look around and you’ll see plenty of snapshots of baby Jesus this week. He’s painted onto Christmas cards, nestled into manger scenes, and pasted into Christmas memes. That baby became the most revolutionary teacher to ever walk the face of the earth. It didn’t take Him long to move from coos and giggles to life-changing, world-shaking, heart-transforming sermons.
This week, we’re looking at Christmas in reverse. We’ll get to that magical Christmas morning tomorrow, but we’ve taken a few unexpected stops along the way. We started with the resurrection because it is the epicenter of our hope. We forced our eyes to look to the cross, because there we find the Savior who rescued us from our sin. Grab a cozy blanket. Find a spot by the fire. Today, it’s time for a sermon. Not just any sermon; this is the most famous sermon ever preached. We know it as the Sermon on the Mount (because Jesus preached it on a mountain).
The Sermon on the Mount is as practical as it is familiar. It’s jam-packed with kernels of wisdom about what it looks like to live like Jesus did. There’s gold in them thar’ hills! This Christmas, here are sixteen ways to live out Christ’s famous words:
- Show mercy like Christ showed mercy (Matt. 5:7).
- Wave the white flag of surrender in fights with friends and family members. Get along. Even when you don’t want to (v. 9).
- Shine like a city on a hill (v. 14).
- Tell others why Jesus gives you hope (v. 16).
- Reject anger. Did your cousin cheat at a board game? Let it go. Did someone buy you a terrible gift? Save it for next year’s white elephant exchange. Did your picture-perfect Christmas fall apart at the seams? Take it as a reminder of why Jesus needed to come for us. Exchange anger for peace and joy (vv. 23–24).
- Don’t crave the things you don’t have. Nothing steals joy quicker. Give thanks. Repeat as necessary (vv. 27–28).
- Give generously, especially to those who don’t deserve it (v. 42).
- Pray for your enemies this Christmas (vv. 43–44).
- Give to the needy but keep it a secret. Don’t post it looking for praise (6:1–4).
- Pray a lot. Make it sound something like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil” (vv. 9–13).
- Forgive (v. 14).
- Don’t be anxious (v. 25).
- Seek Jesus. When you knock, He always, always, opens the door (7:8).
- Do you wish others would wish you a Merry Christmas? You do it first! Do you wish others would be generous toward you? Be generous toward them. Do you wish others would cook your favorite Christmas treats? Suggest a baking date. Set out to make Christmas as magical for others as you’d like it to be for yourself (v. 12).
- How you act is more important than what you say (v. 20).
- Build your life (and your Christmas expectations) on Jesus. He will not let you down (vv. 24–27).
It’s not your typical Christmas reading, but I’d love for you to read the Sermon on the Mount from whatever cozy spot you find yourself today. Gather friends and family around to make it even sweeter. You can find it in Matthew 5–7.
As you think of Jesus this Christmas, consider how His teachings have shaped you. Ask Him to help you live more like Him in the year ahead.
What’s your favorite lesson or sermon that Jesus taught? Tell us about it in a comment below.
PS: Don’t miss tomorrow’s “Christmas in Reverse” post, where we will finally get to gaze at the baby in the manger.