Summary: This is a sermon about the meaning of Christmas, as Christ was love!
I. I trust that we are all familiar with 1 Corinthians 13, what is commonly called "The Love Chapter". Someone has written a version specifically designed for Christmas:
(1) "If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shining balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crystal snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust.
But giving the gift of love will endure."
Isn’t that was Christmas is really is about? God gave us His gift of Love. He gave us the gift of Life? How precious the baby Jesus was. Precious, not because he was a tiny baby, but because He was the Gift of God’s Love.
And maybe the best gift you can really give at Christmas is the gift of love. I think sometimes we get caught up in the "commercialism" of Christmas, and the "big gift giving frenzy". And sure, behind those gifts are expressions of love. BUT, the most important ingrediant to a wonderful Christmas is that it contain Christmas love.
(2) A story is told about a School District that had banned using the name of "Christ" in any of their Christmas programs. Sort of ironic isn’t it that Christ couldn’t be mentioned along with Christmas. Though they could use the name "Christmas" they began calling the Holiday programs things like "Winter Festival". One music teacher though decided to include a presentation using the words "Christmas Love". Each of the 13 letters were drawn on to carboard, and 13 children would each hold up a letter spelling it out. They practiced and it came time for the program, and there it was for all to see. Parents were pointing. People were rejoicing. Children were giggleing. The Principle was turning red in the face, because little Johnny, holding the 7th letter, had his upside, and instead of Christmas Love, it now read "Christ was Love". And He is, and He was born out of love to be the Savior of the world.
The New Guideposts Christmas Treasury (3) tells a story of a little girl was wasn’t easy to love. Her name was Phyllis, and her Sunday School Teacher tells this story about her:
"Phyllis wasn’t an easy child to love...sometimes I did wish she wasn’t in the particular Sunday School class that I taught...She never sat still. She hated to be touched, and she always had to have the last word."
Her teacher tried to give Phyllis a speaking part, but Phyllis refused ""I’m probably going to a party that night," she said grandly. "Lord," I prayed silently, "please help me love Phyllis". "Well I do have a few more parts if you change your mind." "I won’t" Phyllis said, and she didn’t."
At the rehearsal, the teacher heard ""Mary doesn’t act like she’s going to have a baby" muttered a husky little voice behind me. Phyllis might not have any desire to be in the program, but she wouldn’t miss the rehearsal. "Shhhh!" I whispered, reaching back to pat Phyllis’s hand. She jerked it away, saying "Okay! Okay!"
In the last scene, only a spotlight shone on the holy family, and the children hummed "Silent Night". It was beautiful-- but who was that moving in front of the manger? Phyllis! You never knew where that child was going to pop up next. Now she stuck her hand into the manger, squeezed the doll’s arm, and disappeared back into the shadows.
"Phyllis", I called, "what are you doing uup there?"
"I’m just looking," she said, "Besides it’s not a baby. It’s just a doll. I felt it."