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A. Number one, make sure that we are quiet enough to hear & see Jesus. If there is too much noise & confusion & conflict we simply canít hear what God is saying to us.
I think it is extremely important in all the noise & confusion of the celebration of Christmas for us to sit down someplace along the way, take the phone off the hook, turn off the television & listen. In the Bible God says, "Be still & know that I am God." The Candlelight Communion Service this Thursday evening would be such a time.
ILL. Interesting, isnít it, that when the angels made the announcement of the birth of Christ that they didnít go into the busy streets of Bethlehem? A lot of folks had come to Bethlehem. People were there to pay their taxes. Stores stayed open late to get every possible ounce of money they could get. The inns were full & the streets were teeming with people.
Why didnít the angels appear over the busy streets of Bethlehem to sing their song of "Peace on earth, good will toward men?" Why did they select the hills outside of Bethlehem?
Maybe if they had hovered over Bethlehem the people wouldnít have heard. They were too busy doing other things. It was the shepherds who were still & quiet for the moment, tending their flocks. They were the ones who would hear & they were the ones who would see.
Maybe that is what needs to happen to us. We need to be still for a moment & know that God is God. And that God is real.
B. Secondly, maybe we need to clean house. I donít know about you, but at holiday time it is so easy to find our trash accumulating. Presents to open, guests to entertain, children & grandchildren everywhere. We just hope we can bulldoze through & find our way to wherever it is we are going.
Sometimes it is that way in our heart, too, isnít it? Sometimes there are so many thoughts & noises & images that we canít see what weíre supposed to see. Maybe we need to repent & clean house to make room for Jesus so that He will feel welcome & received in the inn of our heart & our soul & our life.
C. So we need to be quiet, & we need to repent, & thirdly, we need to become involved in the lives of people who are hurting. There is a strong temptation at Christmas time to focus inward. There is a strong temptation to buy gifts for the people we love & we like, family members.
There is a strong temptation to pat each other on the back & wish each other a merry Christmas, but to be immune to the hurt & the heartache & the cries for help coming from the busy streets of the world.
If Jesus communicated anything to us, it was that as Christians we must be concerned about the masses of people who donít know Him & who are in need. As His ambassadors we have a responsibility to reach out in a very special & loving & unselfish way & communicate the meaning & purpose of Christmas.
ILL. One of my favorite Christmas stories is about the old shoe cobbler who dreamed one Christmas Eve that Jesus would come to visit him the next day. The dream was so real that he was convinced it would come true.
So the next morning he got up & went out & cut green boughs & decorated his little cobbler shop & got all ready for Jesus to come & visit. He was so sure that Jesus was going to come that he just sat down & waited for Him.
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