Summary: Life - real Life can be hard, but in the scale of eternity it is only for a moment and maybe if we spent more time seeking God’s guidance, if we spent more time trusting Him.

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It’s the 2nd Sunday of Advent - it’s just 17 days to Christmas Day.

So let me ask you:

Are you ready for Christmas?

“Are you ready for Christmas?” ....

What question am I really asking you this morning..

When I ask are you ready for Christmas?

Do you think I’m asking: have you done all your gift shopping yet?”

Do you think I’m asking have you put your tree and decorations up yet?

Do you think I’m asking if you have ordered your Turkey, Goose or Vegetarian NutRoast?

When I ask “Are you ready for Christmas?”

What I am really asking is:

Are you ready to remember the birth of the Messiah.

Are you ready to remember the one who was born to die in your place?

Are you ready to celebrate the real reason for the season?

You see in all the busyness of getting ready for Christmas, the decorating, the shopping, the cooking, often the thing that so many in the world today ignore, is that Christmas is meant to be a time to celebrate the coming of Jesus into this world.

We can be so busy buying presents that we forget the greatest gift of all.

This morning I want us to take a journey back to that first Christmas, to refocus our thoughts on what and who Christmas is supposed to be about.

I want us to take a little reality check and rediscover the truth about Christmas.

To focus our thoughts lets consider Luke 2:1-7

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

When you think about the Christmas story

maybe you picture the manger scene,

with angels hovering, shepherds watching,

animals gazing, clean straw,

a strong looking Joseph,

a vulnerable yet invincible baby,

maybe a halo over Mary’s head,

a beautiful star in the evening sky…

everything a perfect scene

But the reality was quite different wasn’t it.

The events leading up to the birth of Christ were eventful to say the least.

It’s life in the raw, better than any reality TV show or TV soap.

Mary, the non-married pregnant young woman is engaged to Joseph.

Joseph, now Joseph knew he wasn’t the father but God had made sure Joseph knew what was really going on.

Then the journey, what a journey!

From Nazareth to Bethlehem- it’s a very long walk

A walking holiday, maybe that’s Maureen’s idea of a good vacation.

But Mary and Joseph were not heading off on a final pre-birth holiday,

they had to take the journey to pay their tax bill.

A 50 mile walk when your 9 months pregnant,

thats not exactly a good way to start Christmas is it.

And of course no telephones,

or internet to pre book a nice little hotel, with 5 star reviews on tripadvisor

Joseph could not call ahead and make a reservation.

So after a long and tiering journey,

in need of a place to rest,

it looks like they are going to be homeless at least for the night and maybe the whole of the trip.

Still somehow they find their way to a stable – probably a cave of some type,

maybe a little drafty,

maybe a little noisy,

maybe a little smelly,

after all its where the animals live.

And there, in that cave, after a 50 mile walk that would test the strongest of people,

Mary goes into labor.

No sedatives, no Gas & Air, no epidural,

no doctor on hand,

and she gives birth to a son – the Son of God,

the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

The first bed for our Savior was a manager,

a feeding trough for animals… unsanitary,

smelly, not very private…

yet that is where God choose to initiate a new relationship with His creation…

a “get-down-to-where-we-live” kind of relationship

Then when you think the Christmas story could only get better,

we discover that crazy King Herod, has ordered all the boys who are age 2 and younger to be killed in an attempt to assassinate Jesus Christ…

so Joseph and Mary and little Jesus are go on the run as fugitives in Egypt.

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