Sermons

Summary: THE GLORY OF CHRISTMAS WILL BE DISCOVERED IN THE INCARNATION OR LOST IN THE HOLIDAY PRODUCTION

Descending into Glory

December 19, 2010

Phi 2:1-11

INTRODUCTION

The Production of Christmas

In 1980 the Crystal Cathedral was dedicated. In 1981 the beautiful living nativity, The Glory of Christmas premiered inside the first all-glass church.

The Cathedral seats 2,736 for church services-2,508 when holding the enormous Glory of Christmas set. Installing the production set takes a month of preparation-including lighting load-in, angel track installation and rigging, as well as set construction.

Eight angels fly throughout both productions. Some fly as high as 80-feet and can travel as fast as 25 miles per hour. More than 300 volunteers dedicate over 160 hours each to The Glory of Christmas as both cast members and volunteer ushers.

Animals play an integral role in the production's recreation of the ancient land. In The Glory of Christmas you will see three adult camels and a baby, six horses, a yak, a llama, a baby water buffalo and many sheep and goats.

The 2010 production has been cancelled due to the churches filing for Bankruptcy protection.

 THE GLORY OF CHRISTMAS WILL BE DISCOVERED IN THE INCARNATION OR LOST IN THE HOLIDAY PRODUCTION.

I. When the Glory of Christmas becomes a production . . .

A. The show becomes more important than the message.

The story is biblically flawed in places, one such instance being when the 3 kings were portrayed as visiting the newborn Jesus in the manger. (It wasn't until 2 years later that they actually visited him, and this was in his home. I'm surprised the Crystal Cathedral allowed that to be shown.)

All around us our decorated homes, show pieces of the holiday season. We must ensure that message remains vital in all that we do otherwise we have just created our own private show.

We have to guard against becoming one of the new holiday classics.

IN 2006, Deck the Halls was released, it is the story of two neighbors have it out after one of them decorates his house for the holidays so brightly that it can be seen from space.

A Christmas goodwill to men message is tacked on in the end, but for those in the movie, the Christmas has become about the production not the message.

Appl: What will you do this week to ensure the message remains more important than the production?

B. Special effects become the centerpiece rather than the relationship with God.

Animals play an integral role in the production's recreation of the ancient land. In The Glory of Christmas you will see three adult camels and a baby, six horses, a yak, a llama, a baby water buffalo and many sheep and goats.

Eight angels fly throughout both productions. Some fly as high as 80-feet and can travel as fast as 25 miles per hour. More than 300 volunteers dedicate over 160 hours each to The Glory of Christmas as both cast members and volunteer ushers.

C. We mistakenly believe spending more money leads to more of the glory.

Kristina Oliver, who provides the live animals for the "Glory of Christmas" manger scene from her Hemet-based Oliver Livestock Co., said she has been trying to collect nearly $57,000 from the church for months.

And Juliet Noriega, who has designed costumes for the annual Christmas spectacular for 25 years, said she is owed more than $10,000. She complained:

If someone is going to put forth an effort, they should be paid.

II. When the Glory of Christmas is the Incarnation. . .

A. Our Response should lead us to greater awe.

Martin Luther stated that Jesus Birth declared God's love for sinners.

Theologian James R. Edwards retells the following true story to illustrate our need and Christ's response to our need. In August 1957 four climbers--two Italians and two Germans--were climbing the 6,000 foot near-vertical North Face in the Swiss Alps. The two German climbers disappeared and were never heard from again. The two Italian climbers, exhausted and dying, were stuck on two narrow ledges a thousand feet below the summit. The Swiss Alpine Club forbade rescue attempts in this area (it was just too dangerous), but a small group of Swiss climbers decided to launch a private rescue effort to save the Italians. So they carefully lowered a climber named Alfred Hellepart down the 6,000 foot North Face. They suspended Hellepart on a cable a fraction of an inch thick as they lowered him into the abyss.

Here's how Hellepart described the rescue in his own words:

As I was lowered down the summit ... my comrades on top grew further and further distant, until they disappeared from sight. At this moment I felt an indescribable aloneness. Then for the first time I peered down the abyss of the North Face of the Eiger. The terror of the sight robbed me of breath. ...The brooding blackness of the Face, falling away in almost endless expanse beneath me, made me look with awful longing to the thin cable disappearing about me in the mist. I was a tiny human being dangling in space between heaven and hell. The sole relief from terror was ...my mission to save the climber below.

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