WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS?
LUKE 2: 25-38
Introduction- Merry Christmas everyone!
Sermon title- Who stole Christmas
Asking who stole Christmas may seem like an odd thing to say tonight, but many have lost Christmas.
To many it is about presents, food, and drink. Parties, time off and having a good time. When that is over, all that is left is the void and emptiness that was temporarily filled by stuff.
The Grinch tried to do the same thing to the people of Whoville in the classic movie “How the Grinch stole Christmas”. The problem for the Grinch was they did not base their joy on presents but on people.
The people of God should not base Christmas on gifts and food, even though that is a way of expressing love to our families and friends.
It is about the Christ-child who came from heaven to bring us the greatest gift of all time- Himself!
Eternal life and the redemption of mankind.
Who stole Christmas may seem strange as we sit tonight as we prepare to participate in a candlelight service.
THINK ABOUT IT:
Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas
To think that a few people upset have the power to change the majority and we let them.
Saying winter break instead of Christmas break
Giving holiday gifts instead of Christmas gifts.
The Post Office having a Holiday stamp instead of a Christmas stamp
WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS?
Who made it what it is today and how do we get it back?
Joseph and Mary pledged to be married
Supernaturally God gives Mary the honor to carry into this world the savior of the world.
Not born in style, not born to wealth, but humbly in nothing more than a barn.
Just like God said, at the appointed time by the appointed people, God showed up in the flesh-
Account of the angels and the shepherds
The passage of Scripture that Fred read.
God has made an announcement to the world the savior of the world has come and His name is Jesus.
On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first flight of an airplane at Kitty Hawk, N.C. 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 telegraph, their sister Katherine went to the newspaper office and told of her brothers new flying machine, and informed them they would be home for Christmas if they would like to set up an interview. He assured her that he would put something in the paper regarding her brothers.
On December 19th, the local paper placed the following headline on the sixth page of the newspaper “Wright Brothers Home for Christmas.”
The editor missed the story.
In our rush, in all our gift giving, in all the things we do during the season… have we missed it?
I heard the story of a woman who was doing her last minute shopping at a crowded mall. She was tired of fighting the crowds. She was tired of standing in lines. She was tired of fighting her way down long aisles looking for the perfect gift that had sold out a few days before. Her arms were full of bulky packages when the elevator door opened. It was full. The occupants of the elevator grudgingly tightened ranks to allow a small space for her and her load. As the door closed she blurted out, whoever is responsible for this whole Christmas thing ought to be arrested, strung up, and shot. A few others nodded their heads or grunted in agreement. Then, from somewhere in the back of the elevator came a single voice that said, “Don’t worry. They already crucified him.
Present giving goes all the way back to the wise men- they showered the baby Jesus with gifts of love.
3 small boys in a Christmas play at school. They represented the three wise men and they were going to give their gifts to baby Jesus. The one boy stepped forward, held out his hands and said, “Gold”. When he stepped back, the second boy stepped forward and said “myrrh” when the third boy stepped forward, held out his hands and said “frank sent this”
If Jesus is not the center of the gift giving, it is a holiday gift.
If you would ask the men and women over in Iraq and their families at home what they would like for Christmas, they would say their family to be together.
Our son Tony in 2007 was in Afghanistan and 4 days before Christmas He was coming home. Sure we bought him presents, that‘s what you do for people you love, but the greater gift was him, his presence, not the present itself.
what do you think pleased the lord the most, was it the gifts the wise man brought to him, or was it the fact that they came to worship him and wanted His presence that counted the most.
Let’s look at another part of the Christmas story- 2 people we don’t hear about much.
Luke 2:25-38 was the passage that Amanda read.
Simeon embraced Christ
V29- Sovereign lord, as you have promised
V30- For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people.
Her whole life dedicated to pleasing and praising the lord
Understanding the true meaning of Christmas
This Christmas share and enjoy Jesus !
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son”
Scripture tells us
“This is how God showed his love for us .God sent his only son into the world so we might live through him.”
How do we measure God’s gift to you?
I. God’s gift is useful
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” John 10:10
The polka dot tie that don’t match anything and lights up, electric can opener that turns into a fishing pole are not useful gifts...God’s gift is useful and eternal
II. God’s gift to you cost much
There was a price to pay, and He paid it
He came to the earth, finished the task, died for our sins. God raised him up and now is the savior of the world.
That is if you accept the gift
What does he want? For us to accept the gift of Salvation.
King David says
“I will not offer to the lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing”
So many gifts are given just because we need to exchange something. His gift is needed, and should be appreciated
III. God’s present to you is measured by effectiveness
If I get a toaster, I want it to make toast
If I get a coffee maker, I want it to make coffee
If I get a hair curler, I’ll save it for re-gifting!
What was God’s love intended to do. Change you and make you more in the image of God Himself.
The greatest present you can give the lord this Christmas is yourself
The greatest present you can give your family is the opportunity to know Jesus Christ
Who stole Christmas?
Have you allowed this to be just another holiday?
Have you allowed situations and circumstances for you to lose track of the greatest gift to mankind.
Are you willing to get it back?
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy”
Next part of the verse:
“I (Jesus) have come that you may have life, and have it to the full”
Who stole Christmas?
Are you willing to get it back?
Some of you are going through tough times, circumstances dictate that you should have no joy tonight.
I want you to know that Jesus loves you-
I pray that the Holy Spirit would allow that to sink in tonight.
Jesus Christ loves you enough that He came to this world to die for you. Not only the person next to you, but for you.
Do you want to give the devil a black eye tonight, receive the most important gift that can be exchanged at Christmas.
Tonight, will you except the gift of eternal life?
I know that there is a private side of a decision for Christ-
I also know that we cannot be ashamed of what He has done for us-
Tonight right where you are at, would you accept that gift of eternal life by asking Jesus to take control of your life.
There is only one way to Jesus. I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the father except by me.
We all journey to Jesus in different ways
Peter found Jesus by the seashore
Nicodemis came at night
The demonic was naked and frantic
Matthew was in a tax booth
Tonight do you want to be a child of God. Receive the greatest gift ever.
I want to pray with you tonight, put your hand up and right back down
Prayer of salvation
Repeat after me
Dear Jesus...I take you as my savior.
I realize that I am a sinner and in need of a savior and cannot save myself.
I believe that you died on the cross for my sins, and you were resurrected and now sit on the right hand of God.
I thank you for that. I will serve you the remaining days of my life.
If you said that prayer for the first time tonight, Welcome to the family of God.
Heaven is rejoicing right now for you.
I would like to talk to you after service.
Hopefully you received a candle as you came in tonight and we will be lighting the candles from our seats tonight. We will have people coming to the end rows and get it started. We will end the service by singing Silent night.
Instruct on lighting.
Invite them to stay for refreshments