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Summary: First message in series geared toward helping Christians get past the decorations to making Christmas meaningful.

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Getting Past the Glitter

# 1 - Thinking Differently about Christmas

Romans 12:2, 1 John 2:15-16

November 28, 2004

Introduction

Ah, it’s Christmas season. The air’s getting colder, and the snow’s about to fly, and our thoughts turn to the meaning of Christmas - lots of loot.

Not really, at least I hope not among us. Our thoughts should turn to Jesus and His humble birth in Bethlehem.

I read about a church sign that says,

"Merry Christmas to our Christian friends. Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish friends. And to our atheist friends, good luck."

SOURCE: Jeff Strite, Church of Christ at Logansport, Logansport, IN. Contributed by: SermonCentral PRO.

You know something, I like Christmas, and I’m looking forward to the whole time between now and then, and anticipating what God has in store for my family and me in the next few weeks.

I think He has some spiritual blessings in store for us, and you, and I think He has some material blessings in store for us, and you, in the form of gifts and such.

And you know what else I like? The decorations. Now, I don’t like putting them up, I’ll be honest. But I like watching them go up, and I like looking at them.

When I’m driving down the streets, I like the festiveness that the decorations bring out. And I get this nice, warm feeling inside, despite the cold weather we get this time of year.

But would you agree that Christmas is so much more than the decorations, so much more than the glitter, as wonderful as that is?

Isn’t Christmas supposed to be about Christ? Yes, but here’s the catch. We say that, especially as we approach the holiday, but how many of us actually make this the centerpoint of how we think about the holiday?

How many of us make this the centerpoint of how we speak about Christmas - not just about baby Jesus, but about what Jesus’ birth accomplished and set into motion?

How many of us make this the centerpoint of how we "do" Christmas, with all its trappings and temptations of materialistic hungering?

And how many of us make this the centerpoint of how we "live" Christmas, making the meaning of Christmas something that lives and breathes in us, affecting how we live throughout January through November?

Well, that’s where we are going these next few weeks. I want us to become people who go about Christmas differently than our world and society would have us go about it.

Romans 12:2 is our theme verse for these next four Sundays as I address the issue about going about things differently this Christmas.

And my hope is that it won’t just be for Christmas - but that it will become a lifestyle for us, because I think that healthy, authentic followers of Christ will exhibit these things year-round.

Please read this verse aloud with me, okay?

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.

You might remember that a couple summers ago we did a four-week series on Biblical stewardship, and this was also the theme verse for that series.

It’s not a giving verse. Or is it? We established the fact that if Christians handle their money the way the world handles it, then we are not honoring God with it.

Romans 12:2 is also not a Christmas verse. Or is it? I want to submit to you that if Christians go about Christmas the same way the world goes about it, then we are not honoring God.

Am I saying we shouldn’t do the Christmas tree thing or give gifts, or sing Christmas carols? No, I’m not saying that. I enjoy those things as much as the next person, and done in the proper perspective, they’re just fine.

The problem is that most people, and dare I say, most people who call themselves Christians, don’t do these things with the proper perspective.

So it’s my hope that today you will hear something that you can take and make a permanent part of your life, not just something we think of between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And today, as we look at getting past the glitter, I want us to look at the idea of thinking differently about Christmas.

The Scripture passage that forms the basis of what I want to share to day is

1 John 2:15-16 -

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world.

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