Summary: Since we’re heading toward Christmas I think we should be: thinking, taking, and talking.
INTRO.- ILL.- An ill-prepared college student taking an economics exam just before Christmas vacation wrote on his paper. “Only God knows the answers to these questions. Merry Christmas!”
The professor graded the papers and wrote this note: “God gets 100, you get 0. Happy New Year!”
That college student flunked his test and thought he’d be cute by wishing the professor a Merry Christmas. He flunked and many people flunk when it comes to Christmas. How’s that? They flunk in the eyes of God because they miss the true meaning of Christmas.
ILL.- It’s like the story about Orville and Wilbur Wright who had tried repeatedly to fly their homemade airplane. Finally one December day, off the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, they actually flew!
Excited, they wired their sister Katherine, “We have actually flown 120 feet. Will be home for Christmas.”
Hastily she ran down the street, shoved the telegram—the news scoop of the century—at the city editor of the local paper. He read it carefully and smiled, “Well, well! How nice the boys will be home for Christmas!”
That editor never thought a thing about the Wright brothers actually flying. He completely missed the most important message.
What’s that old saying? We can’t see the forest for the trees. The meaning is this: It’s the idea that we often see details or little things about some situation but miss the big message or the main idea!
I think this is true for many people when it comes to Christmas. All that many people think about is time off from work, shopping and Christmas gifts when the big deal is the fact that God sent His son to be the Savior of the world!
It’s like that saying we’ve all heard: Jesus is the reason for the season! Wow, is He ever!
ILL.- Preacher Chuck Swindoll wrote: The bumper sticker caught my eye. It made me think—even aroused some guilt. I was on the freeway as his car was pulling off. The guy didn’t seem in much of a hurry, which irritated me a bit. I began to study the words in my head. They started making sense: “I BRAKE FOR CHRISTMAS.” Easing up on the accelerator and releasing my frown, I began to think: “Why the hurry? What’s the rush?”
We’re headed toward Christmas. What does this mean to you? We really do need to brake for Christmas, that is, slow down and get the real message and do the real stuff. What should we be thinking and doing, if anything, besides shopping?
PROP.- Let me suggest to you that I think we should be: thinking, taking, and talking. Strange? Let me explain.
I. THINKING ABOUT PEOPLE
ILL.- Thomas Monaghan was the founder, president, and chief executive officer of Domino’s Pizza, Inc. From 1970 to 1985, Domino’s grew from a small debt-ridden chain to the second largest pizza company in America. When asked to account for the phenomenal growth of the company, Monaghan explained, “I programmed everything for growth.” And how did he plan for growth? “Every day we develop people—the key to growth is developing people.”
It wasn’t special cheese, not a tasty crust, not fast delivery schedules, it was people! People are the key to any business that wants to be successful.
ILL.- My older brother, Larry, is the manager of large Price Chopper grocery store in the Lenexa, KS, area. They are open 24/7 and do about $600,000 worth of business each week. What makes it happen? His 160 employees! And, of course, the people who shop in his store!
Since people are so important in business and in everything else, they should also be important to us when it comes to the matter of our faith.
How can we not think of people?
Matthew 9:35-36 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
When people saw the people, he had compassion. How do you feel when you see the masses of people? Compassion? Indifference? Irritation?
ILL.- A young successful attorney said: “The greatest gift I ever received was a gift I got one Christmas when my dad gave me a small box. Inside was a note saying, ‘Son, this year I will give you 365 hours, an hour every day after dinner. It’s yours. We’ll talk about what you want to talk about, we’ll go where you want to go, play what you want to play. It will be your hour!’
“My dad not only kept his promise,” he said, “but every year he renewed it—and it’s the greatest gift I ever had in my life. I am the result of his time.” Isn’t that wonderful?