Summary: For millions of people Christmas never really comes. Oh, I'm not saying that Dec. 25th doesn't come. It comes, but Christmas doesn't really come into their hearts & their lives. (PowerPoints Available - #297)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoints used with this message are available at no charge. Just email me at mnewland@sstelcolcom and request #297.)
TEXT: Galatians 4:19
Well, the calendar says that Christmas will soon be here.
I get a little uptight this time of the year because I realize the responsibility that is mine in presenting the Christmas message, in trying to get people to think about God loving us so much that He would come into our world, become a part of our lives, & die on the cross for us.
I've titled my sermon today, "If Christmas Comes." That naturally prompts the question, "Do you mean that it is possible for Christmas not to come?"
Yes, it is possible, for even with all the activities of the season, too often & for too many, when Christmas is over we're not any different than we were before. Because, you see, when Christmas really comes, it changes us - it makes a difference in our life.
So every year, for millions of people, Christmas never really comes. Oh, I'm not saying that Dec. 25th doesn't come. It comes, but Christmas doesn't really come into their hearts & their lives.
PROP. So my prayer is that somehow, this Christmas, God's Spirit will come upon us & change us, & Christmas will really happen. With that in mind, I have noted some things I want to share with you as we celebrate this Christmas season together.
I. THE CHRISTMAS SEASON HAS COME
A. The first one is this, "The Christmas season has come." Christmas decorations went up well before Thanksgiving, Santa Claus started making his appearance at the malls, & newspapers nearly doubled in size because of all the advertisements they contained.
In fact, it seems that more attention is being given to the shopping habits of Americans on the day after Thanksgiving - we now call it "Black Friday" - than ever before. Both on TV & in our newspapers there were pictures of crowded malls, & people shopping.
And during this season, we're encouraged to buy things we can't afford, with money we don't have, to give to people we're not even sure we like. The commercial side of Christmas has really arrived.
B. The social side of Christmas has begun, too. It's a festive time, a time for dressing up, going to parties, & enjoying ourselves with family & friends.
And as the Day approaches, many will travel, finding a way to get over the river & through the woods to grandmother's house. And for those who can't get there physically, we'll be there in our dreams.
ILL. Did you hear about the man in Salt Lake City who decided to send out 600 Christmas cards to total strangers?
He got telephone directories from several cities, addressed 600 cards to people he had never met, put his return address on the envelopes, & mailed them.
Amazingly, he received 117 responses from total strangers. One lady wrote, "It was so good to hear from you. Your card arrived the day I got home from the hospital, & I can't tell you what an encouragement it was to hear from an old friend."
Another wrote, "I have to admit that when we received your card we couldn't really picture you. We had to think hard for a long time before we remembered. By the way, please give our regards to your father. He is such a wonderful man!"
But I think this one took the cake. One guy wrote, "It was so good to hear from you after all these years. By the way, we're going to be in Salt Lake City next summer. Would it be all right if we came & spent a few days with you?"
You need to be careful who you send Christmas cards to, don't you?
C. As we noted last Sunday, the Christmas season has arrived in the church, too. We see the beautiful decorations, & lift our voices in song. Stockings will be filled, food baskets prepared, carolers singing, & special services celebrating the "Reason for the Season."
II. BUT WILL CHRISTMAS REALLY COME?
A. But will Christmas really come? Oh, the earth will make its 359th revolution of the year & Dec. 25th will come right on schedule. But will Christmas really come? That's the question, for there are several things that have to happen before Christmas really does come in our hearts & in our lives.
My scripture text this morning is Galatians 4:19. Now I realize this verse is not usually considered a Christmas text, but listen to what Paul says, "My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you..."
We often talk about being "born again" when we become a Christian. But may I suggest that Christmas is also a good time to remind us of our need for Jesus to be born again in our lives, our families, & our relationships.