A Sunday school teacher asked her class of kindergarteners to draw a picture of the manger scene at Bethlehem. In the corner of one studentís sketch was a very plump, jolly-looking fellow.

ďTell me about this person,Ē requested the teacher, pointing to the portly character.

ďOh,Ē replied the pupil, ďthatís Round John Virgin.Ē

Too often, in our efforts to celebrate Christmas, we get confused about what weíre celebrating, why weíre celebrating it, and who should be the focus of our celebration. Thatís why today, we are starting a sermon series designed to lead us to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

In the message the angels delivered to the shepherds on the night of Jesusí birth, we discover what Christmas is all about. Christmas is all about God sending His Son to earth. Christmas wasnít manís idea, it was Godís idea. Christmas wasnít manís initiative, it was Godís initiative. Christmas came about because of God. Today, I want us think about the reasons why God did what He did at Christmas.

1. Christmas occurred because of Godís Desire - v. 10

Christmas came about because of Godís desire to . . .

A. Embrace us with His love - "Good News that will be to all the people"

This world is filled with people who feel lonely and unloved. Pollsters say that one out of five Americans say that life is meaningless.

People do get lonely. We all do. An advertisement placed in a local newspaper was met with an overwhelming response. The ad read, "Iíll listen to you for thirty minutes for $5.00." The telephone rang off the hook. People do get lonely. The renowned Albert Einstein once said, "Itís strange to be known so universally and yet be so personally lonely." But we are not alone. Not with Christ.

ďFor God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.Ē
- John 3:16 (Amplified)

"He loves each one of us, as if there were only one of us." - Augustine

A young man sent a love letter to his girlfriend. It read: "Darling, Iíd climb the highest mountain, sail the widest ocean, cross the hottest desert just to see you.Ē P.S. - Iíll be over Saturday night if it doesnít rain." We chuckle at his fickleness, but feel bad for the girl who, like all of us, longs for love in action, not empty promises.

God does not offer empty promises of love. Through sending His Son, He has fully demonstrated his love for us.

ďBut God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful.Ē - Romans 5:8 (CEV)

Because of Christís sacrifice for us on the cross, we can, through faith in Him, enter into a love relationship with God that is everlasting.

ďCan anything ever separate us from Christís love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute,
Stevie Tierce
December 20, 2007
powerfull very good