*CHRISTMAS AT UZ*
I’m going to start my message with our key passage this afternoon, which comes from the last chapter of the book of Job.
As you listen to it, see if it reminds you of anything.
I am in chapter 42 of Job and will begin with verse 11 from the New King James Bible:
/“All //his brothers and sisters and every-//one who had known him before came and ate with him in his house.
They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring (Job 42:11).”/
Doesn't that sound like Christmas?
I suppose you are saying, "Wait a minute.
Come on, this is not Christmas!
Why, this was long before anyone ever celebrated Christmas!
This was likely two thousand years before Christ came.
How could there be Christmas in the book of Job?" Well, there isn’t.
But let’s look t how Christmas–like this celebration was.
First the occasion described here is a family gathering.
Job's brothers and sisters and all his friends who had known him before are getting together.
The uncles and aunts are there as well as all the cousins, nephews, nieces, and grandchildren.
By this time Job is a seventy-year-old man or even older, and though his own children had all perished, he must have had grandchildren and great-grandchildren by now, and all the neighbors and friends had brought their families.
So this was a great family occasion as Christmas is for us and always has been.
The second thing you see here is that this was a time of feasting.
Nd we all love feasting don’t we?
They gathered to eat together, and we do that today.
We start with stuffed turkey, and we end with stuffed people!
This has always been the custom at Christmas.
Throughout history and in most cultures where Christmas is recognized, feasting has been a part of the Christmas celebration.
Then there is another thing here that we can associate with Christmas.
It is what we would call fellowship.
Job's family and friends gathered to comfort him and to express sympathy and understanding for all the pain and suffering he had been going through. 2 Corinthians Chapter1 says that God is the great Comforter and we, too, are to be comforters.
When I was a child we called quilts and bedspreads “comforters”.
What a beautiful picture of comfort – being wrapped in the warmth of family and friends.
The giving of gifts also brings to mind Christmas.
These friends gave to Job gifts of silver and gold.
In the Bible these two metals are used symbolically as a picture of redemption.
Silver is the sign of redemption, that is turning from sin to God, and gold is the picture of deity; God redeeming people, paying the price for their sin.
That’s what Jesus did for us on the cross didn’t He?
He gave His life as the ultimate gift so we can spend eternity with Him.
That is why this is Christmas at Job's house.
Job's witness to his friends evidently had such effect upon them that in gratitude for what they learned from him, they gave him gifts of silver and gold to express their understanding of God's redemption among people.
Their gifts point to God’s gift, His indescribable gift of His Son, Emmanuel, God with us.
Job written two thousand years before Jesus' birth and eventual death on the cross, heralds the One who was coming into the world, and, as the angel said to Mary, "He will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).
This is what brings joy and gladness to believers' hearts at Christmas time.
If you know the Lord Jesus, you have the greatest gift God can give to a person, eternal life with Christ Jesus.
Out of the richness of our /lives /we will find ourselves gladly sharing from all that you have with those who have less, that there may be the ringing out of joy and thanksgiving in a season like this.
If you don’t know the Lord Jesus this would be a good time to begin an intimate relationship with Him.
He already loves you and wants to have this kind of relationship with you, a relationship that will last through eternity because, in Christ, we receive God’s gift of eternal life.
All that He asks is that we believe and receive Him as our Lord and Savior.
Let’s close by reading the Christmas story in Luke chapter two and verses 1 through 14 : /”And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."
\\ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"/
*/Thank You, Lord, for the greatest gift—the gift /**/of Your Son./*
Oh Lord, if there is anyone here today who has not received You as their Savior, open their eyes so they can see Jesus, not just the baby in a manger, but the man Jesus who came to die so we might live.
Breathe on us, Lord, the breath of God; the breath that brings life abundant so we might honor and glorify you.
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