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Summary: God loves to give good gifts to His children. He has many wonderful Christmas presents for everyone, and you don’t have to wait until December 25th to open them.

CHRISTMAS PRESENCE

ILLUSTRATION: Santa Letters

"Dear Santa, you did not bring me anything good last year. You did not bring me anything good the year before that. This is your last chance. Signed, Alfred."

"Dear Santa, there are three little boys who live at our house. There is Jeffrey; he is 2. There is David; he is 4. And there is Norman; he is 7. Jeffrey is good some of the time. David is good some of the time. But Norman is good all of the time. I am Norman."

OPENING: Christmas can be a stressful time for people.

• Stress = a force or a pressure that strains or deforms.

• One of the things is money – if you spend too much money on your credit cards, you spend the next six months paying it off.

• Another thing that can cause stress is family gatherings, or having no family, if you feel like you’re all alone. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one this year, that can put stress.

• Shopping can put pressure on you. There was a study done that said only 1 out of 4 women feel pressure when they’re shopping. All men feel pressure when they go shopping. A British Psychologist named David Lewis did a study and put men in a shopping mall and monitored their blood pressure rate and discovered that shopping is actually hazardous to your health. So guys I just gave you an ‘out’. The blood pressure rate rises to that of a fighter pilot going into combat. We could have told you that without the study – it’s a battle! I still have to do my shopping.

Have you heard people say, “Christmas isn’t about the presents?” I don’t agree with that!

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17).

THE BIG IDEA: God loves to give good gifts to His children. He has many wonderful Christmas presents for everyone, and you don’t have to wait until December 25th to open them.

CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FROM HEAVEN:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).

• Jesus is the greatest Christmas present from Heaven!

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23).

“And the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14).

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6).

• God became a human being – He became one of us, and He is with us!

1. GREAT JOY:

“Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” (Luke 2:10).

O HOLY NIGHT:

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining; it is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

“1 Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! 2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! 3 When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. 4 Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. 5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, "I will confess my rebellion to the LORD." And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone… 11 So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who obey him! Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!” (Psalm 32:1-5;11).

• This is why the Gospel is Good News – good tidings of GREAT JOY!

• You can’t find this joy in a bottle of Jack Daniels, or in a bag of weed, but only in Jesus!

• Because of Jesus, our sins can be forgiven, and we can be free from guilt and shame.

• Let’s remember to wish people a MERRY (joyful, joyous) Christmas!

2. FREEDOM FROM FEAR:

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