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Summary: This sermon tells how we should celebrate Christmas with some reasons why

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How to Celebrate Christmas

Scripture: Luke 2:1­20

Introduction: During this season of shopping and entertaining, let's remember why Christmas is celebrated in the first place. We decorate our homes, send out cards, visit friends, buy presents, and go caroling.

There are a lot of stores that would go broke if it wasn’t for the Christmas season. Some people celebrate a portion of Christmas Day watching football games. (Personally I am not in that club) But for some, it's a time for drinking and partying. (not in that club either)

Studies show that cases of depression, drunk driving accidents, suicide, even domestic violence all increase during the holiday period. Many of these are tied to alcohol and drug abuse typically engaged by people who are trying to cope with holiday stress. Every alcohol treatment center I have worked in the census goes up after the holidays.

Although Christmas is meant to be a happy and joyful time, this isn't how everyone feels at this time of the year. Christmas can be a stressful and depressing time for many people. But on the other side. What a great time for Christians to share God’s love

Deuteronomy 31:8 “… It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Deuteronomy 32:10: In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye.

Psalms 34:17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all there trouble

Some people find that the Christmas spirit can be undermined by:

Financial and time pressures

The expense of gifts and food, the pressure of shopping and the expectations of the season can make Christmas an extremely stressful time.

Isolation

Some people find themselves alone at Christmas time. This may be due to relocation to a city far from relatives, a marital break-up, or family estrangement. The emphasis on family, friends and shared good times during the 'festive season' can make these people feel depressed and unloved

Family tensions

All families experience tension to some degree. Part of the reason why Christmas time can be so stressful is the unrealistic expectation of coming together as a happy family on this one day of the year.

Separation or divorce

It can be hard for a 'fractured' family to face its first Christmas. Perhaps the parents have separated or divorced, or a family member is overseas and unable to attend the traditional celebrations. \

Step-families

Around four per cent of Australian families are step-families, while blended families (partners who each have children from prior relationships) account for about three per cent. In some cases, Christmas for these families can be extremely difficult.

Looking back without joy

The close of another year often prompts people to reflect on their achievements – or disappointments – over the previous 12 months. Some people mourn the loss of another year of their lives.

But this is a holiday to honor the fact that God sent His Son to be born in a manger and to become our Savior. As Christians, we should celebrate in a unique way. I'd like to suggest four responses to the birthday of Christ based on today's passage

1. By Witnessing About Christ (v. 17). The shepherds "made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child." We're to make Him known to those around us and help them understand that He came as a Savior.

There are many opportunities available during Christmas. We can witness through the cards we send out. We witness by how we decorate our homes. We witness through the seasonal music we sing.

And we witness by inviting people to attend church services with us. Many will come at this season of the year that would never darken our doors otherwise. Be intentional about sharing Christ this Christmas.

2. By Wondering at Christ (v. 18). Those who heard the shepherds wondered at the things told them. I was reminded this week of a word seldom used today: muse. It means sit back, meditate, and think.

The word amuse adds the negative prefix which means "to not muse." Amusements are those things that keep us from thinking seriously about anything. Christmas is a wonderful time for amusement, yet when those in Luke 2 heard about Jesus they mused on Him.

Think about it! Here is a story of purity wrapped up in the birth of a Child born to a young mother. Here is joy amidst seeming tragedy. Here is a great announcement to a lowly group of shepherds.

Here is a Baby born to die. Here is a King born in stable to poor parents, yet was God manifest in flesh. G. Campbell Morgan wrote, "In the presence of such a holy miracle, there can be no fitting attitude of the human intellect save that of acceptance of the truth without any attempt to explain the mystery."

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