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Summary: A sermon for Christmas Eve.

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"Christ is Christmas"

Luke 2:1-10

Jesus Christ was born into the real world--our world--a world where women and children are brutalized, where people are machine-gunned into mass graves, where crucifixion still takes place, where babies are murdered and abducted.

Jesus Christ was born into the real world--our world--a world where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Tonight millions of children are sleeping in warm beds with cleanly laundered sheets.

And Santa is busy stuffing hundreds of dollars worth of toys under the brightly lit tree.

And there is nothing wrong with this.

It's good.

But, while millions enjoy a lifestyle of privilege many, many more live in squalor, filth, and fear.

While millions throw holiday sweets into the dumpster to avoid getting fat, millions more go to bed hungry, starving, even.

While millions live far from the noise of gun fire, and people who look and think differently than they...

...millions more live in the midst of alcoholism, drug trafficking, violence, abuse, hatred, fear and hopelessness.

Jesus Christ was born into the real world--our world--where millions sleep under bridge overpasses, in tent cities, and on cold city sidewalks where Christmas shoppers practically trip over them on their way to Macy's or Bloomingdales.

I love Christmas.

I love the decorations.

I love the lights.

I love the presents.

I love the warmth.

At the same time, I don't want to forget that we live in a world saturated with sin, in desperate need of a Savior.

And even though it can be fun to get totally caught up in the Christmas movies, the Christmas shopping, the stockings, Santa, Rudolph and the whole bit--let's not get too sentimental.

Jesus was born on a night when his parents had been traveling for days by foot in order to be enrolled on the Roman tax lists.

They had very little, if any, money.

And child birth, especially in Jesus' day was extremely dangerous.

Several years ago Andrew Patterson wrote a song describing the birth of Jesus, it's called "Labor of Love."

Here are some of the lyrics:

"There was blood on the ground

You could hear a woman cry...

...And the stable was not clean

And the cobblestones were cold

And little Mary full of grace

With the tears upon her face

Had no mother's hand to hold

It was a labor of pain

It was a cold sky above

But for the girl on the ground in the dark

With every beat of her...heart

It was a labor of love...

...Joseph [was] at her side

Callused hands and weary eyes...

...he held her and he prayed

Shafts of moonlight on his face

But the baby in her womb

He was the maker of the moon

He was the Author of the faith

That could make the mountains move

It was a labor of pain

It was a cold sky above

But for the girl on the ground in the dark

With every beat of her...heart

It was a labor of love

For little Mary...

...With the tears upon her face

It was a labor of love"

Jesus was born into the real world--our world where life is fragile and pain is real.

We are told that when "the time came for Mary to have her baby...

...She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them..."

Jesus was born into the real world--our world--where there is no room for Him.

So for a bed, He was put in a feeding trough for animals...

...a dirty feeding trough.

That's all there was.

Jesus was born into the real world--our world; He was forced into being an illegal alien--a homeless refugee--in a world of turmoil where a brutal, cruel king named Herod "sent soldiers to kill all the children in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding territory who were two years old and younger" in order to get rid of Him.

Evil around the globe crashes into our living rooms and bedrooms.

Persons are made to feel less human than others due to the color of their skin.

Terrorists strap bombs around their waists, blowing themselves up in crowded malls, schools, and public places.

One writer has noted that "evil is not limited to the Herods and Hitlers of history; evil resides in the human heart, like dormant seeds in fertile soil, ready to sprout and grow when given the opportunity."

Adam and Eve rebelled nearly from the beginning.

Instead of God's way, they did it their way.

Then, their son Cain murdered his brother Abel.

Biblical history and all history is filled with the consequences of sin and evil.

The Bible tells us that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

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