Summary: Number 2 in the series about getting Christians to go about Christmas differently than the world does.
Getting Past the Glitter
#2 - Speaking Differently about Christmas
December 5, 2004
Have you noticed how hard it is to find anybody willing to say "Merry Christmas" anymore, especially people in public places like government offices and retail stores?
I have. It’s almost like people are afraid to say it because they’re afraid the politically correct crowd will get upset.
And it’s happening more and more, especially in city, state, and federal government agencies.
But as bad as that is, what gets my goat all the more is people who smile and talk about Jesus, but it’s just the cutesy baby Jesus talk.
They acknowledge Jesus and the fact that Christmas celebrates His birthday, and they may even attend a Christmas Eve service or something. In fact, they may even get some pretty "religious" cards to send out.
Or maybe even they say something cute like, "Jesus is the reason for the season."
You know the people I’m talking about.
Listen. I’m all for talking about Jesus, but I don’t think Jesus is honored by either ignoring the significance of His birth in your speech, or by quaint religious platitudes and bumper-sticker sayings about Christmas.
A couple weeks ago, I received an advertisement for Teen Mania’s Acquire the Fire convention, and I just love it.
It’s going to be hard to see in the back, and I wish we had our projection system up so you could see this.
I’m going to contact Teen Mania and ask if we could use this in a newspaper ad for the church sometime.
It shows a bobblehead Jesus figure, and above it, it says "Don’t you just hate plastic Christianity?" And beneath it, it says, "So do we."
Don’t you just love that? I do! And it’s true - we should hate plastic Christianity, and I can guarantee you that Jesus hates it. And not just at Christmas, but all year ’round.
So how can we go about not being so plastic about it?
Well, the first step is to get serious about spending serious time with God in the Bible and prayer, and what better time to get that to a higher level than right now?
And another way is to begin speaking differently about Christmas - getting past the clichés and into some real substance about what Christmas is really all about.
Our theme verse for the Christmas season is Romans 12:2, and I’d like you to read it aloud with me as we begin our message time today.
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.
Premise: Going about Christmas the way the rest of the world does is not honoring to God. Christians need to do things differently, in hopes of shining the light of truth to those who need to hear the message of Christ and Christmas.
The passage that forms the basis of our time this morning is Luke 2:8-14, where the angels announce the birth of Jesus to the shepherds.
Rather than read the whole passage, we’re going to go through this passage a little at a time. The whole passage is printed in your note-taking guide, so you can follow along.
In this passage we find the angel and his gang announcing the birth of Jesus. And in this announcement we can find some really cool lessons about how to speak differently about Christmas than the rest of the world.
But let me warn you: if you’re serious about putting this stuff into practice, people will notice.
Why? Because the focus won’t be on you - it will be on Jesus.
Now, I mentioned last week that during this time of year, people expect others to mention baby Jesus on occasion, but it usually ends right there - baby Jesus.
I think that using these four hints for speaking differently about Christmas will help you and them get past that - to the purpose of Christmas.
So let’s look at what we can learn from this angelic announcement about the birth of Jesus, about how to speak differently about Christmas.
Speaking differently about Christmas
...speaking comfort and courage.
We start with verses 8-10 - (the end of verse 10 is under the second point in the outline)
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people."