Summary: Modified from Rick Warren's book, The Purpose of Christmas
THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS
A TIME TO BE FESTIVE!
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Lk 2:10
JOHNNY HUNT TELLS A STORY…Maybe some of you can relate to the grandmother who decided to forego the shopping this Christmas season. She bought each individual a card, wrote a check for the amount that she would spend, and wrote the same message in each card. Dear___, I didn’t go shopping this year. Please know that I love you. Please get your own gift. Love Grandma. Weeks later after sending the card, she went back to her desk only to find the checks that she had written were laying on her desk. She had forgotten to put them in the cards!
Rick Warren did a survey of one question, “What are you celebrating this year?” The answers may surprise you. Most had nothing to do with Christmas.
1. I’m celebrating that I made it through another year.
2. I’m celebrating being home with family.
3. I’m celebrating that I got my Christmas bonus.
4. I’m celebrating my son is home from Iraq.
5. I’m celebrating that the candidate I voted for is elected.
6. I’m celebrating that I’ve finished all my shopping.
7. I’m not celebrating anything. I’m just trying to survive.
Why is it such a festive season? Because Christmas is about the birth of Christ! What do we do when a baby is born? We celebrate the baby! Could the problem be that we have forgotten to celebrate the Baby?
1. IT’S PERSONAL. I bring you.
The shepherds took this personally. This message was to them. The angel appeared directly to them. Now please remember that shepherds had a bad reputation. They were unclean, unholy, they stunk, and they couldn’t be trusted. Yet God trusted them with this wonderful news. God chose to invite them to His son’s birthday party!
Perhaps today you can relate to the shepherds. Maybe you do not have it together. Could it be that you are a bit shady? Maybe your reputation has been tarnished.
God has good news for you! It is God who brought you to the place of worship so that He could personally tell you through His Holy Spirit and His servant that He has a personal message for you! That message is, “Trust Me. I know what is best.” Listen to..
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 1 Tim. 6:17
God loves you. He loves YOU. He wants to give you life. He gave His son so that you might live. For God so loved the world that He gave… Jesus said, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. Jn 10:10b.
We should celebrate Christmas because it personally affects you. The birth of Jesus is God’s gift to you. God loves you! Listen, the baby didn’t stay in a manger. He grew, lived and willingly went to a cross to show, prove His love for you. Never question the love of Christ. Never doubt the love of God. Always know that He loves you and has plans for you.
2. IT’S POSITIVE.
Good news that will cause great joy. Really? Christmas is a time of stress. It is a time of rush and do this and rush and do that. Great joy? When it comes to Christmas it is duty not delight. It is pressure not pleasure. What gift should I get? What if they don’t like it? What if it is not good enough? Should I invite them to the party? What will they think if I don’t go to their party?