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In the 1500ís, Copernicus proposed that the sun, not the earth, was the center of our solar system. His theory was so radical he was condemned as a heretic by the Roman Catholic Church and buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in Poland. In 2004 they found his remains, and in 2010 he was reburied as a hero by a polish priest! Today everybody understands how important it is to know the real center of our solar system. After all, understanding the center changes everything.
Itís the same way with Christmas. *The other day our girls sprinkled magic reindeer food they got from preschool on the front yard so Santa would be sure to stop at our house. Thank you, preschool teacher! When we think of Christmas, we think of Santa Claus, or Ebenezer Scrooge, or, my absolute favorite, George Bailey from Itís a Wonderful Life. Whenever weíre in the middle of a big snowstorm, I run outside and shout, ďMerry Christmas, Bedford Falls!Ē
We think of Christmas, we think of family and snow and presents and food - all good things. But understanding the center of Christmas changes everything. Thatís why weíre here tonight Ė to remind ourselves and celebrate the truth that we are not the center of our universe. Christmas does not revolve around us and the things we want or do. The center of Christmas is the Son of God. Christmas revolves around the Son! Letís hear the wonderful true story of Christmas again.
2,000 years ago the center of the world was the Roman Empire, and the center of the empireís power was Caesar Augustus, the first and greatest emperor of Rome. He was given the name Augustus, meaning exalted, by the Roman Senate. The Senate also gave him almost absolute power. He did a lot of great things with that power Ė he established the Pax Romana, the Roman peace that gave security to its citizens, and he ushered in the golden age of architecture and literature. The empire, from a human standpoint, revolved around Caesar Augustus. But like Copernicus the heretic, along comes the Gospel writer Luke, to tell us a different story, a radical truth: The center of the universe was not in Rome, but Bethlehem; Not Caesar, but the Messiah.
Pax Romana is great, but itís only an outward peace. Itís what so many people have today in our society. We look good on the outside. But the inside is a different matter. Think of all the personal struggles we carry with us tonight. Peace inside isnít something the government can give us. Not even Caesar. Itís not something we can give ourselves.
Thatís why itís so important to understand the real center of Christmas, because understanding the center changes everything. Only the real King, Messiah, can give us that peace in here, inside. The great Caesar himself, without knowing it, helped make real peace possible when he ordered that all the people of
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