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Summary: Emmanuel. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: gcurley@gcurley.info)

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Emmanuel - Xmas carol service 2008

Ill:

• A couple of years ago an advert challenged different celebrities to;

• ‘Describe Christmas in three words’.

• One celeb replied: ‘Eating too much’.

• Another replied; ‘Morecombe and Wise’.

• Others suggested ‘filling a stocking’.

• Another replied; ‘The Queens speech’.

• Still another replied; ‘Last minute shopping’.

• Then came the adverts punchline: ‘Christmas in three words’.

• ‘Marks and Spencer’.

• Of course if you take the word ‘Christ’ out of ‘Christmas’;

• All you are left with are three letters – ‘M&S’,

• But......

• Is that really what Christmas is all about?

• It is so easy to get preoccupied with shopping;

• That we forget Christmas is really all about celebrating!

For my talk this evening I have chosen ‘Three words to describe Christmas’:

• They are found in two books of the Bible:

• First mentioned in the Old Testament book of Isaiah (chapter 7 verse 14).

• And they are also mentioned in the New Testament book of Matthew (chapter 1 verse 23):

• Where Matthew quotes Isaiah the prophet in his gospel.

• In the languages of the Bible (Hebrew & Greek) it is two words: ‘Emmanuel’:

• ‘Immanu’, meaning ’with us’; and ‘El’, meaning ’God’.

• Translated into English it becomes three words: “God with us”.

• To me those records best describe ‘What Christmas is all about’.

(1). Emmanuel - God.

Ill:

• Dictionary: the word ‘God’ is defined as ‘Deity or Supreme Being’.

• The maker of all things, a God who is omniscient and all-powerful.

• A being who is uncreated, eternal;

• A God who Christians believe has made himself known in a variety of different ways.

Ill:

• If you have kids, you know that early on in life they would hand you a letter or a book;

• And say; “Daddy, what does it say?”

• To them it is only ink on paper;

• They are ignorant of the fact it is a poem or a story.

Now take that same idea and apply it to an adult who is unable to read;

• It could be possible for a person who cannot read;

• To insist that a poem is nothing but black inky marks on white paper.

• They might even examine the print under a microscope;

• Or run tests and analyze both the paper and ink;

• But no matter how thorough their examination;

• They will never find anything behind this sort of analysis that you could call “a poem.”

• Those who can read, however,

• Will continue to insist that poems exist.

The Bible never tries to prove the existence of God:

• It simply states as fact; “In the beginning” or “Before there was anything else - God”

• It is by faith not by facts that our eyes are open to his reality and presence!

Ill:

• An older couple had an ongoing row;

• About which one of them was losing their hearing.

• One morning the husband decided he would settle the issue once and for all.

• While his wife was enjoying a book in the living room he said in a loud voice,

• "Dear, would you like a cup of tea?"

• Upon hearing no response he progressed to the next room and said again in a firm voice,

• "Dear, would you like a cup of tea?"

• Still there was no reply from his wife.

• Lastly he went into the living room and stood directly behind the chair;

• In which his wife was sitting.

• In an even louder voice he repeated,

• "Dear, would you like a cup of tea?"

• She turned to him with a slightly annoyed expression on her face and replied,

• "For the third time ... yes

Christians believe in a God who wants to communicate with us;

• He speaks to us through creation;

• Look at the world I made – open your eyes and see the design and beauty!

• He speaks to us through the Bible;

• In a world constantly changing he has given to us an unchanging word;

• He speaks to us through Jesus Christ;

• Who is called the ‘Word of God’.

Ill:

• On a wall near the main entrance to the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas,

• Is a portrait with the following inscription:

• "James Butler Bonham--no picture of him exists.

• This portrait is of his nephew, Major James Bonham, deceased,

• Who greatly resembled his uncle.

• It is placed here by the family;

• That people may know the appearance of the man who died for freedom."

• No literal portrait of God exists either.

• But Jesus is described as the image of the invisible God.

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