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Summary: Third message in series, about getting past the rhetoric of Christmas.

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Getting Past the Glitter

#3 - "Doing" Differently about Christmas

Romans 12:2, James 1:26-27

December 12, 2004

Introduction

One of the cool things about the holiday season is the abundance of chocolate, at least that’s cool to me.

And confident of the fact that there are others like me here today, I want to offer you some rules for chocolate this season:

Rules of chocolate:

If you’ve got melted chocolate all over your hands, you’re eating it too slowly.

Chocolate covered raisins, cherries, orange slices and strawberries all count as fruit, so eat as many as you want.

The problem: How to get 2 pounds of chocolate home from the store in a hot car. The solution: Eat it in the parking lot.

A nice box of chocolates can provide your total daily intake of calories in one place. Isn’t that handy?

If you can’t eat all your chocolate, it will keep in the freezer. But if you can’t eat all of your chocolate, what’s wrong with you?

What do we call equal amounts of dark chocolate and white chocolate: a balanced diet.

Chocolate has many preservatives. Preservatives make you look younger.

Put "eat chocolate" at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you’ll get one thing done.

Today we continue our look at getting past the glitter of Christmas, with the idea that Christmas is more than the holiday decorations.

And though we are followers of Christ, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between how we "do" the holiday and the way the rest of the world does.

Well, I think that shouldn’t be the case. The world should be able to look at us and look at our celebration of the birth of Jesus and see something different.

Our theme verse for this season is

Romans 12:2 -

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.

Typical of last minute Christmas shoppers, a mother was running furiously from store to store. Suddenly she became aware that the pudgy little hand of her three year old son was no longer clutched in hers. In a panic she retraced her steps and found him standing with his little nose pressed flatly against a frosty window. He was gazing at a manger scene. Hearing his mother’s near hysterical call, he turned and shouted with innocent glee: "look mommy! it’s Jesus - baby Jesus in the hay". With obvious indifference to his joy and wonder, she impatiently jerked him away saying, "we don’t have time for that!" (SermonCentral.com - SOURCE: From "THE WONDER OF CHRISTMAS" by Glenn Pease. http://www.intohisword.net/luke/luke17.)

The passage that forms the basis for our time together this morning is James 1:26-27 -

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

I’d like to use this passage to show you three ways we can "do" Christmas differently this year, and in the years to come. First...

1. Take a realistic look at yourself and your faith.

If anyone considers himself religious...

Romans 12:3 (NLT) -

Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you.

Two extremes to avoid:

The first is thinking too highly of yourself. You might think you’re some sort of spiritual giant, but you’d be mistaken in most cases.

"Pride is the only disease known to man that makes everyone sick except the one who has it" ("Our Daily Bread," December, 1986). (SermonCentral.com -

Contributed by: Donnie Martin)

And you know what, pastors aren’t exempt from pride. Maybe you’ve heard about the pastor who found a shoe box in a closet. Opened it and found strange contents. Inside was an egg carton with 5 eggs inside. Next to the eggs was a stack of bills that totaled over 10,000 dollars.

As soon as his wife walked thru the door he stopped her to ask if she knew anything about this odd combination. ’Yes, dear, after we got married I decided that after every sermon you preached if it was a bad one I would put an egg in this shoebox’. The preacher thought with pride about all the years they had been married and that only 5 eggs were in the box. ’But honey, what about the 10,000 dollars?’ ’Oh, well everytime I got a dozen eggs I sold them’. (SermonCentral.com)

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