Summary: Christmas has come to be the most self-centered holiday of the year - which is truly ironic considering the real meaning of Christmas - bringing God-centered life to the world. Student ministry PowerPoint format.
[HAVE YOURSELF A SELFISH LITTLE CHRISTMAS]
Slide graphics – Christmas Grinch.
Slide Verses –
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
The meaning of Christmas, I think you would agree, has changed over the years. Each year it seems more and more commercialized – more and more self-centered. What percentage of the people in the US, do you think, will go through the whole season this year never really even once noticing that Christmas is “Christ”- mas. Christmas today is really about ourselves.
In case you you haven’t heard, this is not the original meaning of Christmas. The first recorded Christ-mas – or Mass celebrating the birth of Christ was in 336 AD. Until the 1800’s, December 25th was a Holy Day only – no Christmas trees, no exchanging presents, no Santa Claus, no feast. It was truly all about Christ. It’s only been in the last 200 years that it has become so self centered. This is not a good thing. A self-centered life is exactly opposite of the life God intends for you. It is not just “a” bad thing – it is “the” bad thing. The root of all evil. Being self-centered, or selfish, is absolutely the very biggest sin – in fact – the only sin. The only one.
Let me explain:
I once read a book called “Transformed Temperaments”, by Tim LaHaye – who later went on to co-author the Left Behind series. In this book he asks you to list every evil nature known to mankind. Write them up on a blackboard. Murder, rape, hate, jealousy, pride, lust,cheating, stealing, envy, gossip, suicide… you name it – put it on the board. Then he goes on to show that all these terrible things really boil down to two emotions – fear or anger.
Murder, hate, cruelty, criticism – all these are various forms of anger. Hate is when you don’t believe life has been fair or good to you in the past. Jealousy, envy, suicide, cheating, stealing – these are all forms of fear. Fear is when you don’t believe life will be fair or good to you in the future. Hate and fear are two sides of the same coin.
Now think about this a moment. If you really believe that there is a God in Heaven who is in control of everything that happens, then your hate and fear are actually an accusation that he has not been fair to you in the past, or a lack of faith that he will be good to you in the future.
That was actually the original sin. The sin of Satan and the Sin of Adam and Eve. They did not believe God had their best interests at heart. They thought that if they went a different way than the way God had planned for them, their lives would be better off. They chose to be self-centered rather than God-centered. That choice was sin – the only sin that ever was, and it’s still happening every moment. We made the choice. We separated ourselves from God.
Christ came to earth to pay the price for that choice. He was born human, and lived a perfect life in order to be an acceptable sacrifice in our place. This is what Christmas is about. God himself coming down to earth – born in a manger in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. Living a God-centered life and dying in our place as punishment for our self-centered lives.
Christmas is supposed to be about a gift, but about one that was God-centered, not Self-centered.
[AN INDESCRIBABLE GIFT]
Slide Graphics – Bugatti Veyron (car)
see, for example: http://www.motorimania.net/manifestazioni/supercar/index.shtml
Slide Verse –
Thanks be unto God for His indescribable gift
Let me see if I can say this another way. Imagine the perfect gift in the eyes of the world today – the no-holds barred, all the stars aligned, perfect world best gift ever. What kind of a gift would it be.
I saw something that comes pretty close to the perfect gift by most people’s standards the other day. On December 14th, Volkswagen announced that they were finally offering for sale the Bugatti Veyron. They’ve been working on the design for this baby for eight years, and now it’s hit production. You can own your own Veyron for the low-low price of only $1.2 million dollars.
It’s hard to even classify this thing as a car. It will easily punch up to 250 mph. It can sprint from a dead stop to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds. It has an 8.0 liter 1001 horsepower engine with four turbochargers. The editor-in-chief of Car and Driver magazine go to test drive one. He said he was cruising at 180 with the gas pedal not even halfway to the floor. He punched it (already going 180) and it pinned him to the seat. This area where the seats are located in this machine isn’t called the passenger’s compartment – it’s called the survival pod.