Summary: Christmas! More than at any other time of the year we open our hearts, our lives, even our wallets, & give freely & generously of ourselves. No wonder our memories are so precious! (PowerPoints Available - #360)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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TEXT: Luke 2:8-20
Listen to these words from the Gospel of Luke, chap. 2, beginning with vs. 8.
(Luke 28-18, 20) And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
"This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. ... The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
I. OUR CHRISTMAS MEMORIES
A. I really like the Christmas season! For most of us it is a time filled with memories of childhood & home & loved ones. We almost feel like children again as we remember things they way they used to be.
It is a time of remembering those who are dear to us. We want to see them, talk with them, & be with them if possible. So as Christmas Day nears the highways will be crowded with cars, & airplanes will have every seat filled.
More phone calls will be made on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day than on almost any other day of the year. It is a time for remembering loved ones.
B. Many of us have loved ones who were once a vital part of our lives, & now they are gone. Because of that there will be feelings of loss & sorrow as we remember them.
But all in all, Christmas is a happy time. More than at any other time of the year we open our hearts, our lives, even our wallets, & give freely & generously of ourselves. No wonder our memories are so precious!
II. WHAT MANY HAVE FORGOTTEN
A. But it is also a time to remind ourselves of what many seem to have forgotten, & some have never even heard.
ILL. A few years ago a friend of mine went into a music store looking for the sheet music to "How Great Thou Art." He couldn't find it. In fact, he didn't find any religious sheet music there at all.
So he asked the clerk if they handled religious music, & the clerk answered, "Well, I'm not sure. Maybe some of the Christmas music is religious."
Think about it. "Maybe some of the Christmas music is religious." That is a rather sad remark, isn't it?
ILL. I think it is sad also that there is controversy about having manger scenes & Jesus included among all the other Christmas decorations in public places. It is all right to have Santa & reindeer & brightly lit trees, but nothing about Jesus.
ILL. Did you read about the elementary school principal in Omaha, Neb. who ruled out anything in her school that might suggest Christmas? She even prohibited the use of red & green crayons because they were "Christmas colors."
She also outlawed candy canes because if you turned one upside down it looked like the letter "J" & that might cause the children to think of Jesus.
ILL. Maybe we really ought to start handing out cards saying, "Remember, Jesus is the Reason for the Season."
B. Some have even forgotten Mary, selected from among all the people alive in that day to be the mother of the only begotten son of Almighty God. How precious she must have been in God's sight!
And Joseph! It was to Joseph that God sent an angel & to whom God revealed the danger they faced, & told him to take Jesus into Egypt to protect Him from those who sought to kill Him.