Summary: Christmas tells of first that God loves us. Secondly, that He is preparing a place for us. He trusted us to go share that Good News.
December 14, 2008
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:18-23
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17
As I was praying about this service, trying to get direction from God as to what He wanted me to share with you, I felt very strongly that God wanted me to tell you just a couple of things. First of all, that He loves you. No matter how many times we hear it – we still crave more. No matter how many times my wife tells me she loves me – I want to hear it more. No matter how many times my mom tells me she loves me – I want to hear more. No matter how many times my son or daughter tells me they love me – I need to hear it more. No matter how many times my grandchildren tell me they love me – I never get enough.
Monday I went to Redding to do my weekly shopping and to see Monica and the grandkids. Monica is a single mom and works so hard at the bank, then has to come home and cook a meal for the kids and then entertain and care for them until bed time. They she starts all over and does it all again the next day.
So I decided I would have a hot meal ready for her when she got home. I went to the store and bought the fixin’s and made her my special tater tot casserole. After I got it in the oven, I called her and told her I would pick up the kids. When I went into the day care – Breauna sees me first and screams “Papa!” And comes running to me and leaps into my arms. She’s nine and a light little thing. Five year old Nate sees me next and with a look of joy screams “Grandpa!” He comes running and jumps into my other arm. Seven year old Caleb sees me last, and he screams, “Grandpa!” And comes running. He sees Bre in one arm and Nate in the other – and a look of disappointment comes on his eight year old face. But I open my arms and he leaps up between Bre and Nate and we all have a group hug! I tell ya, it’s worth taking care of them just for those hugs!
I want to tell you that God loves you. There is always room in His arms for you. There is a special place in His heart – just for you! That is what Christmas is all about, isn’t it? God loves us so much that He put on fleshly form, (we call that the incarnation) and came to earth to be born in a manger so He could grow up and die on a cross for us - to save us from our sins.
That kind of love is hard to believe, isn’t it? In 1994, two Christian missionaries answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics in a large orphanage. About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. It was nearing Christmas and they decided to tell them the story of Christmas. It would be the first time these children had heard the story of the birth of Christ. They told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger. Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word.