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Summary: The Christmas story teaches us that we were formed and fashioned for family; the second purpose of The Purpose Driven Life.

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In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

For 16 years, John Kovac was a “tenant of a tunnel.” John and a few others lived underground in an abandoned railroad tunnel in New York City. When Amtrak bought the tunnel and prepared to reopen it, John was forced to look for a place to live above ground.

According to The New York Times, Mr. Kovac became the first person for a new program designed to “transform the homeless into homesteaders.”(1)

Without the family of God all of us, like John Kovac, live as “tenants of a tunnel,” underground, away from the light, isolated, out of touch with our greatest resource, the family of God; God’s people. We call it the Church.

I am a satisfied customer when it comes to being in God’s family. Oh, the family is not perfect, but it sure is progressing. From the beginning of time God desired to have a family. From Adam and Eve to Mary and Joseph, God has enjoyed family relationships. God has never existed apart from family relationships; He is described in terms of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

This holiday season we look at the second purpose God had in mind when He created you and me, and that was to bring you into His family. Christmas is about family. Could there be a better time to talk about being in God’s family than in December? Join me as we look closely at God’s purpose for family. Today we peak into the home of a pregnant mom, a stressed out dad, and a world that was ignorant to what was going on.

Does Anybody Know The Real Meaning of Christmas? Do you know who asked that question? Charlie Brown. And for years, each Christmas Americans have welcomed Linus reading the Christmas story from St. Luke into their living rooms. Today, as we inch our way toward Christmas, we once again face the question, “Does anybody know the real meaning of Christmas?”

For Marysville First Assembly the meaning this year has been expanded to remind us, “You were formed for God’s family.” Bethlehem is not just about Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. It’s about you and me. Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what we can learn about God’s plan for family.

WHAT THE WORLD OFFERS FAMILY IS SO LIMITING.

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria 3And everyone went to his own town to register. (Luke 2:1-3)

With the announcement of Caesar Augustus, each family’s world was turned upside down, like popping corn in a kettle. Quickly they pack, wide-eyed kids asking questions. Families’ lives are changed as headlines in the morning paper, “The Bethlehem Bee,” read, “Rome announces census to be taken in Palestine.” People pour into the streets of Israel and make their way to the place of their birth.

Rome wanted more taxes and the first step was a census. In just a few verses we go from the elegant palace of Caesar, to the huddled masses moving slowly across the Judean landscape, to a shaft of light that falls on an obscure couple named Mary and Joseph, and finally, to an unborn child hiding in a mother’s womb - dark, alone, destined for greatness.

The census would put Rome into their pocketbooks once again, and most of Israel would resent the edict. But Mary and Joseph packed and made plans for the 75-mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Soon the farms of the rocky Galilean hills were left behind and before them stood the limestone hills of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. As they woke on the third morning, their hearts were filled with the glad realization that the journey would come to an end by nightfall. They would be safely in Bethlehem. The journey to the city of the their tribal ancestors was now complete.

Rome wanted more. The world wants more. Those around you want more. This should not be so with the body of Christ, the Church, God’s family. We don’t want more, we want to give more, to serve more, love more, encourage more, forgive more, honor more. The New Testament uses the phrase “one another” or “each other” over 50 times. These are the family responsibilities God expects each of us to release and bless others.

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