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Summary: It is normal to have a longing for home, especially during the Christmas Holy Days. Before God created mankind, he had a plan on the drawing board. His plan was to create an environment in which He would place mankind.

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TITLE: COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

SCRIPTURE: ST. LUKE 2:3

++++We are now in full swing with our “COME HOME FOR CHISTMAS” Campaign. Post cards have been and are being mailed out to many of our friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, inviting them to come visit and perhaps connect and become part of the First Baptist Church family during this Christmas and Holiday Season. It is always good to come home.

++++It was the year 1943 when BING CROSBY scored a top ten hit with the song entitled – “I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS.” Originally written by a gentleman named KIM GANNON to honor soldiers overseas who longed to be home at Christmastime, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" has since gone on to become a Christmas standard.

++++The song is sung from the point of view of a soldier stationed overseas during WWII, writing a letter to his family. In the message, he tells the family he will be coming home and to prepare the holiday for him, and requests SNOW – MISTLETOE – PRESENTS UNDER THE TREE. The song ends on a MELANCHOLY note, with the soldier saying, "I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, IF ONLY IN MY DREAMS.”

++++It is normal to have a longing for home, especially during the Christmas Holy Days. Before God created mankind, he had a plan on the drawing board. His plan was to create an environment in which He would place mankind. The environment would be self-sustaining and man’s primary function would be to communicate with God the Father. After God created man, He created woman as a helpmate for man.

++++The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” God put Adam to sleep and took one of his ribs and from the rib formed woman. Now man had a mate and God had mankind created in his own image. Adam and Eve were placed in a beautiful environment called the “GARDEN OF EDEN”.

++++The Garden of Eden was the first home created on earth and Adam and Eve were privileged to live in this beautiful home. This home had everything anyone could ask for. God provided shelter in the garden as well as many trees with edible fruits. The water supply was plentiful due to a river that flowed through the garden. God placed Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden to work the soil and take care of the garden. There was no need for them to worry about weather conditions, storms, hurricanes, or tornadoes because conditions were like a well-controlled greenhouse.

++++Adam and Eve had a wonderful setup. It included a beautiful home and a Father who walked with them daily. God not only walked with them, but they also walked with God giving Him all the honor and glory He deserved. Since God created Adam and Eve, he knew their hearts, he knew what they could do, and he knew what they would do, so in his major plan he allotted a minor plan that would take care of what he knew would happen. God did not want puppets on a string, so he gave mankind the privilege of making choices. We all know the choice they would go on to make.

++++This action was the Fall of mankind. This was the original sin and this sin caused them to be separated from God and to lose their happy home in the Garden of Eden. God did not destroy mankind, but He could have. Instead, God put the next phase of his plan into action. This part of the plan was to give mankind an opportunity to regain status in God’s eternal home.

++++Our Scripture reading indicated that an order or decree was sent out from Caesar Augustus to count the people. Caesar Augustus was the emperor of Rome. The Roman Empire extended all over the Mediterranean Sea area all the way over to Britain and eastward into Asia. Under the leadership of Caesar Augustus, the Roman Empire was very WEALTHY – POWERFUL - AUTHORITATIVE.

++++Now, come travel with me through our text for just a few minutes. It had been a long, hard day on the road, and the TWO TRAVELERS WERE EXHAUSED. It was a long trip no matter when you traveled, but this time of year the roads were so clogged that it took even longer. Three days had passed since they left Nazareth. Two more days and they would be in Bethlehem. When they left, it hadn’t seemed like such a bad idea. In fact, he liked the notion of a final trip before the baby came.

• It was almost, well, it was almost romantic

• Typical male thinking

• Now that he and Mary had spent their third twelve-hour day on the road, all the romance had vanished

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