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Christmas Missing the Story December 2006 am

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Luke 2:15-20

Missing the Story
On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first flight of an airplane at Kitty Hawk NC. On their fifth attempt, the plane under the control of Orville, embarked on a 12-second flight.
Wilbur rushed to the local telegraph office and sent the following message – WE HAVE FLOWN FOR 12 SECONDS - WE WILL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!
Upon receiving the telegram their sister, Katherine went to the newspaper office, told the editor of her brother’s new flying machine, and informed him, they would be home for Christmas, if he would like to set up an interview.
He told her that was nice, and he would be sure to put something in the paper regarding the boys.
On December 19th, the local paper placed the following headline on the 6th page of the paper: “WRIGHT BROTHERS HOME FOR CHRISTMAS”
The most important story of the year – man’s first flight – and the editor missed it!
I wonder if the same could be said about us when it comes to Christmas. Look all around us…
• The trees are decorated
• The music is festive
• The Season is Right – It is Christmas, and there are only 8 days until !
HAVE WE MISSED THE IDEA – Jesus has come to earth!

There was an absent-minded man who could never remember in the morning
where he had put the things he would need for the next day. One night, he
hit upon the idea of writing down exactly where everything was. Sitting in
bed, he wrote: "My keys are on the night table. My wallet is in my pants
and my pants are hanging on the chair next to the bedroom window. My shoes
are under the bed. My jacket is hanging in the closet. My address book is
in the inside pocket of my jacket. My watch is on the mantle piece. And I
am in bed."

When he awakened in the morning, with his notes guiding him he
found his keys on the night table. He found his wallet in his pants
hanging on the chair. He found his shoes under the bed. He found his watch
on the mantle piece. He found his jacket in the closet. He found his
address book in the jacket.

 Then he went over to the bed to find himself,
but he wasn't there. He searched hard, but he just couldn't find himself.

In truth, we all have a need to deal with an "Identity Crisis": the question of how to get in touch with our real self.
"Who am I?" "Why was I born/Why am I living?"

·         If we want to "get it all together" and experience abundant life,
we must take these questions to heart.

In eight days…The celebration of Christmas…has the answer to these questions!!!
Having once again relived the events of the Christmas story, hopefully
many of us are pondering all these things in our hearts.

If, you're still going around in circles trying to
find your real self, then you have missed the overwhelming statement of
the Christmas Event: The virgin shall be with child and give birth to a son, and they shall call Him Emmanuel, a Name that means "God is with us"
(Mt. 1:23).
"You have the key!" You have the key!

Ø  Christ is the key to the riddle of your identity crisis!

Ø  Christ is the key to the real you!

Ø  God is with you
in Jesus Christ and He wants to release you from the drudgery of mere
existence.

Ø  He wants to open you up to new possibilities: a new birth; a new year; a new life!

Down deep at the center of each one of us there is a longing to be whole;
to be complete; to get it all together in our life.

The problem is, we
have so many things pushing in on us, barricading us against God's Loving
Presence.

 But God doesn't give up on us. He is calling us now.

 The message
He sent to the shepherds of old hasn't changed: "You have nothing to fear.
I come to proclaim good news to you -- tidings of great joy to be shared
by the whole people ... a Savior has been born to you (Lk. 2:10, 11).

Hearing this message, the shepherds "went in haste and found Mary, and
Joseph, and the Baby lying in the manger; once they saw, they understood
what had been told to them concerning the Child. All who heard of it were
astonished at the report given them by the shepherds" (Lk. 2:16-18).
The God who gave you life is for you, loves you infinitely---------

----------wants you to
find the real you in His Kingdom of Love.

The Christmas season gives us an opportunity to turn on the light of God's Word and reveal the true meaning of Christmas to those around us.

  • Don't conform to the world's behavior and customs. Consumerism reaches an annual high, and holiday decorations abound for all to see and enjoy, yet Jesus is almost nowhere to be found.

** It is important that during this busy season you reserve time to honor Christ by the regular reading of Scripture, time spent in prayer, and allowing your commitment and love for Him be evident in all you do.

    • Be aware of the spiritual struggle.

Keeping Christ out of Christmas is part of Satan's strategy.

Ø  He doesn't care how you celebrate the holiday as long as Jesus is not the main focus of your attention.

 

Then he's got a foothold by which he can subtly influence your thinking in other dimensions of life. Don't let Jesus be just a part of your Christmas holiday - make Him the reason for the season.

 Every time you see yourself losing focus, repeat 2 Corinthians 9:15 to yourself: Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift

 

      • Give God first place at Christmas.  

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well (Matt. 6:33).

 

To give God first place in your life means to turn to Him first for help,

      • to fill your thoughts with His desires, and to obey Him in everything. *

 

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).


The Prophet Isaiah uses the marriage figure in his poetic prophetic
foreshadowing of the blessed Christmas event.

"The Lord delights in you
... as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall God rejoice in you," he
says (Isaiah 62:4,5).

And in Matthew's Gospel we find the following quote
from the same Isaiah: The virgin shall be with child and give birth to a
son, and they shall call Him Emmanuel (Mt. 1:23).
"Emmanuel," Matthew immediately adds, means "God is with us."

 Like the
selfless lover who commits his entire being to the beloved in the marriage
union of two-in-one-flesh, God is with us in the Person of our Lord and
Savior, Jesus Christ.

Ø  In season and out, in sickness and in health, for
better or for worse, God is with us in the Body of Christ.

 Christmas is
not unlike a time of renewal of marriage vows between the Blessed
Bridegroom and His people.

*The time has come for us to seek our perfect fulfillment in the Lord Jesus.

Are you getting the message, treasuring all these things and
pondering them in your heart this morning?

   Refuse To Focus On What You Don’t Have

… Solomon writes in Pr. 14:30; “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones..”
 
Question – why did the Grinch think that he had stolen Christmas for the whos?

Because he thought that he had taken away all the things that Christmas was about… This act was, or so he hoped, the final note in his symphony of nastiness and not niceness…
That’s why - WHEN the Grinch heard coming from Whoville not sounds of sadness but sounds of joy - he was perplexed…BECAUSE “it came without gifts, it came without tags, it came without packages, boxes or bags…”
UNDERSTAND – the reason the Grinch couldn’t take away the who’s Christmas was because the who’s refused to focus on what they didn’t have… That’s a pretty powerful lesson Dr Seuss.
“If I can’t buy or I don’t receive the gifts I want – I’m depressed…”
“If a don’t have a family, or a picture perfect family, OR if I have lost a loved one – Christmas will never be the same…it will never be joyful again.”

UNDERSTAND – you will not always be able to give or receive all that you want; UNDERSTAND - your families are not perfect; and

 UNDERSTAND – at times love ones will leave you to go home to the Lord – BUT these things should not affect your Christmas joy…WHY? BECAUSE – as the GRINCH so correctly said, “Christmas does not come in a store… Christmas means so much more…”

"Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water…. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably, earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing."C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
AND LISTEN – the true meaning, the core of Christmas, can never be taken away… But it suffices to say for now – that it is only when you make Christmas something it was never intended to be that this time of the year can be a downer…
 Never Forget The Reason
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”
Luke 2:10,11

CIRCLE – “a Savior has been born to you…”

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

CIRCLE – “shall not perish

The word translated perish means, to destroy to make an end to, to annihilate…

 

The word means according to The Theological Dictionary of the New testament

“definitive destruction, not merely in the sense of the extinction of physical existence, but rather of an eternal plunge into Hades and a hopeless destiny of death…”

LISTEN - the reason for Christmas – is that YOU needed a Savior, The reason for the season, is God’s gift to you - so that you would not have to perish – would not have to be destroyed, so that you would not have to be plunged into Hades and a hopeless destiny of death… NEVER allow yourself to forget that.

UNDERSTAND – The Christ child did not come 2,000 years ago; so that we could give each other presents, decorate our houses, drink eggnog, have parties and sit on Santa’s lap.

NO Christ came – that little Baby was born to a virgin, and was laid in a manger for one reason, and one reason only – to die for your sin…and mine.

Jesus was born to die…

Christmas is about God giving His son to die for you.

Question – How do you think God feels when he looks down at us, and sees us give more time, more energy, more everything to all of the trimmings the world has wrapped Christmas in…

 BUT give so little to Christ…?


A.   W. Tozer said, "We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God."

 

Are you preoccupied this Christmas?

Have the trappings of the season snared you?

 

If you want to keep joy in your Christmas remember the reason… LISTEN –

God loved you so much that He gave His Son, He loved you so much that He watched, He stood on the sidelines as His son was – mocked, beaten, spit upon and crucified…
That is why Christmas should make you say with great joy – with mega joy,

“I matter to God and that’s all that matters to me…” !!!!

It doesn’t matter what I get or can’t give – it doesn’t matter if my family is perfect or not… BECAUSE, I matter to God…” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LISTEN - nothing can separate you from the real joy of Christmas… BECAUSE the real joy of Christmas – IS – grounded, anchored and tied to the love of God…

..Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

--2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Ten thousand enemies cannot stop a Christian, cannot even slow him down, if he meets them in an attitude of complete trust in God. They will become to him like the atmosphere that resists the airplane, but which because the plane's designer knew how to take advantage of that resistance, actually lifts the plane aloft and holds it there for a journey of 2,000 miles.  What would have been an enemy to the plane becomes a helpful servant to aid it on its way....

If this should seem like a bit of theorizing, remember that always the greatest Christians have come out of hard times and tough situations. Tribulations actually worked for their spiritual perfection in that they taught them to trust not in themselves but in the Lord who raised the dead. They learned that the enemy could not block their progress unless they surrendered to the urgings of the flesh and began to complain. And slowly, they learned to stop complaining and start praising. It is that simple--and it works! 

"Lord, I wish I could more readily 'stop complaining and start praising.' I pray for Your grace to work within me that I might allow the trials to lift me aloft rather than press me down. I'll do it in Your strength today. Amen."


“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardships, or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rm 8:35,37-39
QUESTION – how can you NOT be joyful when you think about how much Almighty God loves you?

 Hold Your Thoughts Captive
 Paul writes in 2 Cor 10:5, “take captive every thought”

LISTEN – if you do not hold your thoughts captive – there is a good chance that you will lose your joy this Christmas season… if you do not control your thinking you are in trouble…


UNDERSTAND – if you start thinking negative things during this time of year –

 

Ø  if you start thinking about what you want BUT you don’t have,

 

Ø  if you start worrying about this & this,

Ø  If you start thinking depressing thoughts – it should be no surprise that you start to feel & act depressed…

Phil 4:8;
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think of such things…”

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