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Summary: We often come to Christmas time overwhelmed, stretched, strained and spiritually dried out. Spiritualy, the glass is half empty. The purpose of this sermon is to discover from the life of Mary and Joseph how can we get more ‘water’ in the glass and find

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Introduction

Christmas is only 6 days away.

At this time of year, do you feel like the cup half full or half empty?

My guess is that the cup is half empty – maybe getting more and more empty.

About this time, many people are getting pretty drained.

Purpose Statement

How can we get more ‘water’ in the glass – more joy and peace during this season?

First: look at Mary and Joseph’s Situation – what did they have to deal with.

1 The Expectations of the Unconcerned

A Luke 2:1 Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.

B Ceasar Augustus wanted a census. He was not too concerned about a couple of poor people like Mary and Joseph. He expected that people would respond to his decree and that was it.

2 Unexpected Financial Challenges

A Luke 2:2-3 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city.

B The purpose of the census was to determine valuations of property, possessions and people and from that assess a tax. The purpose of the whole thing was taxation – one more financial burden. Some of us have recently gotten our tax bills – and it is a bit of a sticker shock.

3 A World on the Move

A Luke 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,

B This was a 60-70 mile journey of 2-3 days on the road along with thousands of others. (Remember that Mary is 15-16 years old and 9 months pregnant with her first baby.)

4 The Pressure of Unfortunate “Situations”

A Luke 2:5-6 in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.

B Mary was pregnant, they had not been married, and Joseph was not the dad. We know what is going on, but the majority of others did not.

5 Physical Exhaustion

A Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

B You’ve just traveled on foot or possibly on the back of a mule for 2-3 days, covering 60-70 miles. You are 15 years old and 9 months pregnant. There is no hospital, clinic, pharmacy, doctor, nurse, no anesthesiologist, mid-wife, family member. The only person to help deliver you first baby is your fiancé - and – I hate to point out the obvious, but he’s a guy. (With all due respect to Joseph.) You are bed down in a barn / possibly a cave and the only place you have to place your baby is feeding trough for animals.

Let Me Summarize This -

1. Expectations of the Unconcerned

2. Unexpected Financial Challenge

3. A World on the Move

4. The Pressure of Unfortunate “Situations”

5. Physical Exhaustion

To me, this looks like a cup half empty situation.

I’ll bet many of us are dealing with one or more of these:

1. Expectations of the Unconcerned

2. Unexpected Financial Challenge

3. A World on the Move

4. The Pressure of Unfortunate “Situations”

5. Physical Exhaustion

Is your cup Half Full or Half Empty

What can we do to get more water in the cup?

1 Start Finding Joy in the Situations You Cannot Change

Pastor: You mean we should start finding joy in these, right?

1. Expectations of the Unconcerned

2. One More Financial Challenge

3. A World on the Move

4. The Pressure of Unfortunate “Situations”

5. Physical Exhaustion

No, not really.

In fact, I’m thinking this is something we probably need to stop doing. (ie. trying to find joy in these situations.) Why?

1 It is probably not working – have you found very much joy in any of these up to this point? Probably not.

2 When you try to find joy in them and fail, it only makes the situation worse and the joy we have diminishes

3 As unspiritual as it may sound, trying to find joy in them is both futile and unnecessary!

Back to the Text

Luke 2:10 And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people;

OK, so, what is the message that deals with our fears and instills great joy in our lives and in the lives of all people? (This is an unqualified statement – it is a universal.)

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