Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Christmas is a sign of God’s welcome to all just as President Bush’s speech reminded Canadians regarding their welcome to Americans in their hour of need.

Dec. 1, 2004, U.S. President George W. Bush remembered what Canada means to Americans. In a speech he gave he thanked Atlantic Canadians for helping the US on Sept.11. 3 years ago thousands of US citizens were stranded here due to the terrorist attacks on his country.

Pres. Bush said,

“You opened your homes and churches to strangers . . . and you asked for nothing in return...

“How does a person say thank you to a nation? Well, that’s something a president can do. So let me say directly to the Canadian people and to all of you here today who welcomed Americans. Thank you for your kindness to America in an hour of need.”

In the same way, this is how we should remember Christmas. Let me explain... God opened His heart on a very dark day in our lives. In our hour of need, God stood with us. God did not abandon us when all seems hopeless. The darkness of a broken world, filled with terror, filled with broken dreams, empty hopes and foolish choices, victimized by forces stronger than us surrounded all of us. God could have stood around and do nothing and let this world run amuck. God could have been apathetic. But God, in Christmas, opened His home to us, asking nothing in return, by sending Jesus to us, in our hour of need. God came and gave an invitation to come home to Him. God actively pursued a plan that would get His hands and feet dirtied and literally impaled so that evil can be eradicated. God welcomed us in our hour of need. God did not turn his back on us when we clearly needed help. Christmas reminds us God came to rescue us, to help us, to be a friend when no one cares in our hour of need.

That is why The Bible says regarding the Christmas story as found in Matthew 1 (NIV)

21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS."

22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" --which means, "GOD WITH US."

24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

The two names of the Christ child in our Bible text says clearly that God will save. In our of hour of need, God opened the door to welcome undeserving people like you and I. Those without hope, without anything to give, God says He will save, that is what Jesus means to the world in Christmas. A less than loving response would be for Him to blow away this rebellious sin-stained world and all the pain that it produces. But God lowered Himself to be a babe in the manger, born amidst the muck of the world, being humbled as little helpless infant son of Mary. Christmas is clear "welcome home" sign to our hour of need when we have no where to turn. The thing is - have we acknowledged how needy we are, how hopelessly lost we are, how much we need the security of a home in a world that threatens us?

Just in case we don’t get it, God brilliantly expounded

to us that the Christ-child declares that God has not abandoned us, but is here for us, as the Bible says, that child is called "Immanuel" - that is "God with us"

How clear can God get?

Reminds of this story (source: Sherri Wilton of Komoka, Ontario told in the Reader’s Digest, Dec.2004)

One busy morning in our bakery, I asked a new employee we were training, if she could take several cases of frozen pies out of the freezer and put half of them in the oven.

When I returned a little while later, I realized that my instructions should have been clearer. There at a table was the new girl, surrounded by dozens of massacred frozen pies that she had tried to cut in half.

God did not want to keep us guessing what His intentions were for Christmas. His is very clear - He will save us and He is with us. He gave us instructions that were clear - the way to God’s home, to heaven, to paradise, is not for us to brilliantly figure out or meditate, or theologize, to theorize, or to work out way out of the jams we are in, or to go to different psychics or voodoo witch doctors, but to go directly HOME, by trusting in Jesus.

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