Summary: When the SIGNS are no longer VISIBLE, does that mean that the SIGNIFICANCE of Christmas is no longer VALUABLE?
CHRISTMAS IS OVER...NOW WHAT?
I have a bit of post-Christmas humor to share with you. It’s called "The Month After Christmas."
‘Twas the month after Christmas, and all through the house, nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
The cookies I’d nibbled, the fudge I did taste, all the holiday parties had gone to my waist.
When I got on the scales there arose such a number! When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber).
I remembered the marvelous meals I’d prepared, the gravies and sauces and beef nicely rare.
The pies and the cakes, the bread and the cheese, and the way I never said, "No thank you please."
As I dressed myself in my husband’s old shirt, and prepared once again to do battle with dirt---
I said to myself, as I only can "You can’t spend the winter disguised as a man!"
So away with the last of the sour cream dip, get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip.
Every last bit of food that I like must be banished, ‘till all the additional ounces have vanished.
I won’t have a cookie, not even a lick, I’ll want only to chew on a long celery stick.
I won’t have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie, I’ll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.
I’m hungry, I’m lonesome, and life is a bore --- But isn’t that what January is for?
Unable to giggle, no longer a riot ... Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!
The title of the message is CHRISTMAS IS OVER...NOW WHAT?
I’m going to ask you to join me in Luke chapter 2 as we read once again the very familiar Christmas story.
Read Luke 2:1-20
Look again at verse 16. The shepherds, Joseph, Mary, "the babe lying in a manger"... isn’t that pretty much the picture of Christmas? Isn’t that pretty much the Christmas standard? We see it in just about very picture and program and pageant that has to do with Christmas. There may be a few extras thrown in like angels and cattle and sheep and every now and then the wise men, but for all intents and purposes, Christmas is "Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger."
My question is "What happened after that? What happened after that one scene was over?"
Is Christmas over when we take down the pictures and pack away the costumes and put the manger back in the closet and return the doll to whoever it belongs?"
When the signs of Christmas are no longer visible, does that mean that the significance of Christmas is no longer valuable?
I want us to focus in on the last 4 verses of our text and see what happened after Christmas, if you will. I submit to you that there are a number of things that we can, and should do, after Christmas to make it Christmas all year long.
We should continue to:
I. CELEBRATE THE MAJESTY OF CHRISTMAS - Verse 20
Celebrating the majesty of Christmas involves:
A. Glorifying God
1. The word "glorifying" is an interesting word in the Greek. It is the word doxazo (dox-ad’-zo) which comes from the root word doxa which means "opinion."
2. When the Bible speaks of "glorifying" God, in essence it means to give others a right opinion about God.
a. Everything we do ought to give those around a right opinion of God.
b. Paul makes it a bit more clear in the next verse.
c. Verse 31
d. The things we do ought not be a stumblingblock to others. We should never be guilty of leading others into sin or giving them a reason to form a negative opinion about God, His people, or His church.
e. Someone is quoted as saying, "The number one cause of atheism is Christians. Those who proclaim God with their mouths and deny Him with their lifestyles is what an unbelieving world finds simply unbelievable."
4. 1 Peter 4:11
a. Another meaning of "glorify" is to "magnify God."
b. When we magnify something, does it get larger or smaller? It gets larger.
c. Our goal ought to be to make God look bigger in our life...especially when it comes to ministry as Peter suggests in this verse.
d. If our goal in ministry is to make ourselves look larger in the eyes of others, then we’ve got the wrong idea about ministry.
e. Everything we do in the work of the Lord ought to be with the goal of lifting up Jesus.
5. As those shepherds left that humble little manger scene some 2,000 years ago, they did so in such a way that gave others a right opinion of God.