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Twas much,
that man was
made like God before,
But that God should
be like man
much more.

John Donne.

 
Contributed By:
Guy McGraw
 
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In the over 3100 years of recorded world history, the world has only been at peace 8% of the time or a total of 286 years, and over 8000 treaties have been made and broken. During this period there have been 14,531 wars, large and small, in which 3,640,000,000 people have been killed.

 
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SermonCentral Staff
 
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To again quote Charles Spurgeon:

"It is joy to all nations that Christ is born, the Prince of Peace, the King who rules in righteousness...Beloved, the greatest joy is to those who know Christ as a Saviour...The further you submit yourself to Christ the Lord, the more completely you know Him, the fuller will your happiness become. Surface joy is to those who live where the Saviour is preached; but the great deeps, the great fathomless deeps of solemn joy which glisten and sparkle with delight, are for such as know the Saviour, obey the Anointed One, and have communion with the Lord Himself...you will never know the fullness of the joy which Jesus brings to the soul, unless under the power of the Holy Spirit you take the Lord your Master to be your All in all, and make Him the fountain of your intensest delight."

(From a sermon by Todd Leupold "Joy To The World" 12/21/2008)

 
Contributed By:
Steve Malone
 
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I DIDN'T GO AND SEE

The story is about shepherd who was a youth on that first Christmas night. And now he is old and as his grandson sits on his knee he recalls that night, "A long, long time ago, when I was a little more than a boy, I was out on the Judean hills one night with some other shepherds, keeping watch over the flock. And an angel of the Lord came upon us and the glory of the Lord shone roundabout us. And we were very afraid. But the angel said, "fear not... for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord... you shall find the baby in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."

When he had said this the old man’s lips quivered and ceased to move and there was silence. Then the grandson turns and looks with wide, puzzled eyes into his grandfathers face and says, " But, grandfather is that all? What did you do when you heard the good news? Was what the angel said really true? Was the Chr...

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Contributed By:
Steve Malone
 
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YOU KNOW CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE WHEN:

10) There are more pine needles on your carpet than on your tree
9) The credit card is smoked along with the turkey and ham.
8) It’s A Wonderful Life has been shown for the 13th time
7) A trip to the mall and back is more challenging then the Indy 500
6) The Salvation Army bell ringers start accepting credit cards
5) You are pulling an all-nighter because of the words
"Some Assembly Required"
4) Your Christmas list is written in black while your check book balance is written in red.
3) Santa’s belly is not the only thing shaking like a bowl full of jelly.
2) The NFL referees are not the only ones giving away games
1) The infamous fruitcake returns from it’s 12 months of hiding.

 
Contributed By:
Steve Malone
 
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PRECIOUS DAD MOMENT

As ham sandwiches go, it was perfection. A thick slab of ham, a fresh bun, crisp lettuce and plenty of expensive, light brown, gourmet mustard. The corners of my jaw were aching in anticipation,
I carried it to the picnic table in our backyard, picked it up with both hands but was stopped by my wife suddenly at my side. "Hold Johnny, (our six-week-old son), while I get my sandwich," she said.

I had him balanced between my left elbow and shoulder and was reaching again for the ham sandwich when I noticed a streak of mustard on my fingers. I love mustard. And I had no napkin. So I licked it off.

It was NOT mustard. No man ever put a baby down faster. It was the first and only time I have sprinted with my tongue protruding. With a washcloth in each hand I did the sort of routine shoeshine guys do, only I did it on my tongue.

Later my wife said, "Now you know why they call that mustard ’Poupon.’"

 
Contributed By:
Rodney Buchanan
 
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A couple of years ago on America’s Funniest Home Videos, a young boy was shown on Christmas morning. He came down to see a large present beside the tree and ran over to tear it open to see what was inside. The paper went flying and suddenly he broke into a dance and jumped around the room saying, “Wow Just what I wanted I really love it. Wow ” After awhile he went over to look at it again and said with a puzzled look on his face, “What is it?”

On that first Christmas the angels announced the birth of a new child. The heavens were opened and all the company of heaven broke into praise. Shepherds went racing to Bethlehem to see what it was all about. And for two thousand years we have been jumping up and down saying, “Just what I wanted Exactly what I needed ” But in the next breath we look again inside the stable and ask, “What is it?” We are puzzled by God’s gift.

 
Contributed By:
Jim Kane
 
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In 1994 two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on Biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments, and a large orphanage.
It was nearing the holiday season for the orphans to hear for the first time the traditional Christmas story. They told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem and finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where Jesus was born and placed in the manger.
Throughout the story, the children, according to one of the Americans, “sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word.”
As a follow-up activity to the story, each child was given three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manager. Each child was also given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins which the children tore into strips the paper and carefully laid them in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel from a thrown away nightgown were used for the baby’s blanket. From pieces of tan felt a doll-like baby was made.
As they made their way around the room to observe the children this is what one of the Americans noted, “All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project.
As I looked at the little boy’s manger, I was startled to see, not one but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger.”
The observer goes on to note that Misha very accurately recalled the story that had been told until he came to the part where Mary put Jesus in the manger. “Then Misha,” it is noted, “started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, “And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no momma and I have no papa, so I don’t have any place to stay.
Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn’t because I didn’t have a gift to give him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I t...

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Sermon Central
 
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THE LIGHT OF HOPE

As Craig T. Kocher in his commentary on our text states, "Christian hope is fundamentally different from optimism. Christian hope locks its steely eyes on the devastation of the world around it, and readily acknowledges that things may not get better. Christian hope does not bury its heat in Yule-tide cheer and artificial lights, but like an Advent wreath glowing stronger and brighter each week, this hope pushes its way into the brokenness of the world clearing a path in the wilderness so the true light might burst into the darkness."

Kocher then goes on to cite a story told by Tom Long, about a rabbi Hugo Grynn, who was sent to Auschwitz as a little boy. In the midst of the concentration camp, in the midst of the death and horror all around them, many Jews held onto whatever shreds of their religious observances they could, without drawing the ire of the guards. One cold winter's evening, Hugo's father gathered the family in the barracks. It was the first night of Hanukkah, the Jewish Feast of Lights.

The young child watched in horror as his father took the family's last pad of butter and made a makeshift candle, using a string from his ragged clothes. He then took a match and lit the candle. "Father, no!" Hugo cried. "That butter is our last bit of food! How will we survive?"

"We can live for many days without food," his father said. "We can not live a single minute without faith and hope. This is the fire of hope. Never let it go out. Not here! Not anywhere!" [Pulpit Resource, Logos Productions, Inc, 2005]

From Ronald Harbaugh's Sermon "John the Baptizer Points to the Light that Shines in Our Darkened World"

 
Contributed By:
John Weeks
 
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The word Advent comes from the Latin word, “advenire”, conjugated as “adventus” which is a combination word of “ad” meaning, “to” or “toward” and “venire”, “come” which is conjugated as ventus, which means more specifically, “coming”. Combining them gets us literally, “toward the coming.” The Latin definition is, “(a thing) about to happen.” Expectation would be an appropriate synonym here.

Funk & Wagnall’s defines the lower case version of advent as, “a coming or arrival, as of any important event or person.” So you can see that the definition has not changed significantly since it was taken from the original Latin.

 
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