Summary: This sermon discusses the purpose of Christmas ans was taken from the book, "The Purpose of Christmas" by Rick Warren.
There was a woman out with two young children Christmas shopping. Her children wanted everything they saw on the shelves for Christmas. She was shopping for hours. Finally at the end of the day as she pushed her way into a crowed elevator, as the doors closed, she exclaimed, “Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up, and shot.” From the back of the elevators someone responded in a calm voice, “Don’t worry we already crucified Him.” The rest of the elevator trip was filled with silence.
In light of our normal Christmas activities- it would be good to reflect on- real purpose of Christmas.
Somebody once said that …
The universe is composed of stories, not atoms.
When we think of Christmas- angels, manger, shepherds, wise men, bright star- we see a story.
It many ways it is a mystery, even a puzzle for man to figure out- it involves history, theology, astronomy
The Christmas story is an opportunity for man to understand the deeper purposes of God.
President elect- Barack Obama- selected Rick Warren to give- invocation at the inauguration ceremony.
It has caused another firestorm for the media.
Hollywood and the homosexuals are upset w/Obama.
Rick Warren- recent book- Purpose of Christmas- he talks about the three purposes of Christmas.
I would like to look at those purposes this morning.
There is no holiday celebrated more widely than Christmas- billions of people worldwide.
The coming of Jesus Christ was so significant that history itself was divided in two …
BC- before Christ and
AD- anno Domini, in the year of the Lord.
Look at the original Christmas story … Lk 2:8-14
The Purpose of Christmas …
1. Christmas is a time of celebration
Look at what the angel said …
Lk 2:10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; NASU
The angel is saying- it is time for man to celebrate.
Ps 118:24 This is the very day God acted — let’s celebrate and be festive! MSG
There is a difference between a celebration/a party.
When I think of a party- think of a place to go to have fun, often centered around my personal enjoyment.
When I think about celebration- think of a time to honor something/someone other than myself.
What is it that we can celebrate at Christmas?
We can celebrate that God loves us
Jn 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. NASU
God came in the form of a man so He could encounter man face to face.
He did not send a representative, He loved mankind so much that He came Himself.
1Jn 4:8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. NASU
God did not bring love, He Himself is LOVE.
His very nature, His very character, is LOVE.
God’s love for us is unconditional- we cannot earn it, we cannot stop it.
It is not based on what you do or do not do, it is based on who He is.
We can celebrate that God is with us
God’s existence does not depend on my belief system.
Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. NASU
To experience God personally I must believe- but His existence does not depend on what I believe.
The Bible says that Christ came to live in us.
Col 1:27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.
Bible- also says- God will not abandon those He loves
We can celebrate that God if for us
A very encouraging verse …
Jer 29:11 I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. MSG
When we go through difficulties in life, it is good to know that God not only lives in us, but He is for us
Jesus is so for us that He was willing to die for us.
When Jesus came walking across the water and the disciples thought He was a ghost, He said …
Mt 14:27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid."
Jesus was on His way to the house of a man whose daughter was seriously ill.