Imperfect Christmas: Imperfect Family Study Guide

In week three of our special holiday series, “Imperfect Christmas,” Pastor Doug Sauder explored Jesus’ genealogy—His perfect and imperfect sides—our place in His story, and how we celebrate Christmas. In this message, we saw how God used imperfect human beings like Zachariah, Joseph, and Mary to introduce His Son, Emmanuel, to the world and let Him be among us for a time for His perfect plan.

Watch the video below to see a few highlights from the message and share it with your friends via social media. To watch the message in its entirety, click here.


FOR THE NOTE TAKERS

Let’s recap some of the key talking points from Pastor Doug’s message this weekend:

There’s a lot of pressure surrounding Christmas. We try so hard to make it a perfect holiday, when in reality, despite our best efforts, it doesn’t usually turn out the way we imagined. Sometimes we find ourselves a bit frustrated, disillusioned, and even a little heartbroken. So this Christmas, let’s take a breather and let Jesus be the joy in our lives—the perfect gift.

Our Family Brings out All Our Imperfections: What is it about our families that bring out the worst in us? Could it be that they have the capability to test our faith and imperfections like no other? Perhaps we should turn this around and ask ourselves, “Have the people in our lives—our parents, kids, husbands, wives, and even friends—met our expectations? And if they haven’t, are we going to let that ruin our perfect Christmas?”

In Psalm 62 (NIV), the psalmist David has a good perception about things. He says, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” No one is perfect except God. And if that’s true, we should only put our hope and expectation upon Him and Him alone. In the middle of our imperfect families, we can still find joy in our Christmas celebration.

The definition of perfect is “without flaw or defect.” However, this does not define us or our families. Therefore, as we celebrate Christmas with our loved ones, we should focus on embracing our imperfections and praising Jesus’ perfection.

Jesus’ Family: The Perfect Side vs. the Imperfect Side: Just like we are made out of our father’s and mother’s DNA—23 pairs of chromosomes—Jesus also had two sides of his family. But, unlike us, his DNA is different from anyone ever born. One side is perfect, God the Father and Holy Spirit, while the other side is imperfect, the son of Mary; a human in every way.

John 1:1-4 (NIV) describes the perfect side of Jesus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”

In verse 14, we see the full picture. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” So, before Jesus was a baby, He was God.

And then there’s Jesus’ imperfect side. In his genealogy, you see names such as Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth. Tamar seduced her father-in-law, Rahab was a prostitute, and Ruth was a widow and a pagan, a sworn enemy of God. Even His family, which consisted of his mother, Mary, and father, Joseph, along with his brothers and sisters was not perfect. Can you imagine how his siblings felt, being a shadow in their brother’s life?

As it turned out, Jesus was the light in their lives. While his siblings mocked him, not believing He was the Messiah, but only just one of them, when He appeared in His new body after His resurrection, everything changed.

A Relationship with Jesus Changes Everything: Jesus’ brothers, Jude and James, once skeptical about Jesus’ true origin, wrote Scripture that speak to us today about their changed relationship with Jesus. “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen” Jude 1:24-25 (NIV, emphasis added).

Without fault. Jesus is the only one who can present us to the Father with great joy. Perfect. Righteous. Redeemed.

James, whose life also changed because of his renewed relationship with his brother, Jesus, finishes his letter with a call to action to us: “Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins,” James 5:20 (NIV).

More than any other gospel writer, James uses this expression: “My dear brothers and sisters. . .” to bring to focus this reality: we are the family of God. When Jesus died on the cross, He not only died to bring peace between us and God, the Father, but also to bring peace amongst us—all of the people on the earth—dividing the walls of hostility.

Quote to Remember: Family is not how you are related by blood, it’s how you are related by the blood of Jesus; it’s how you are related when He makes all of us one in Him.—Pastor Doug Sauder


12-DAY CHRISTMAS READING PLAN

Visit YouVersion and check out this year’s 12-day devotional reading plan that goes along with our “Imperfect Christmas” series. In this plan, we’ll take a fresh look at the Christmas story and discover that we don’t have to be perfect or have it all together to come to Jesus because our perfect Savior came to us! To subscribe today, click here.


BIRTHDAY GIFT FOR JESUS

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”—Matthew 25:40 (NIV)

On Christmas, we’ll celebrate the birth of Jesus. And as we all know, no birthday party would be complete without a gift! For the third year in a row, as our church gives a birthday gift to Jesus, we have the opportunity to radically change people’s lives and make a difference on a global scale. We invite you to be part of this initiative by giving to help support this year’s effort. We’ll announce what we’re giving to Jesus during our Christmas celebration services and on Christmas Eve!

Click here to give.


INVITE SOMEONE TO CHRISTMAS EVE

Christmas Eve is tomorrow! Did you know that personal invites from friends and family are the number one reason people visit a church for the first time? So, be sure to personally invite someone this week. You never know whose life can be changed by a simple invitation!


A LOOK AHEAD

Join us tomorrow for Christmas Eve as we hear a beautiful message from Pastor Doug, spend time together worshiping our Lord, and reflect on the coming of Jesus and how He has changed our lives!

And then on the weekend, Pastor Duane Roberts of our Boynton Beach campus will share an inspiring word to take us into the new year. We’ll also be joined by The Katinas for a special time of worship!

About the Author

Maritza Cosano-Gomez