Summary: Sermon #1 for the Christmas series Shopping for a Savior.
“SHOPPING FOR A SAVIOR”
SERMON #1: “I DON’T HAVE TIME”
It was a few days before Christmas on the Oregon coast. Two men whose families lived next door opted to go sailing while their wives went Christmas shopping. An unexpected storm surprised the weekend sailors. Before long, the sea became angry, and the two had a difficult time keeping the sailboat under control. While heading toward the harbor, the craft hit a sandbar and grounded. Both men jumped overboard into the icy water and began to push and shove in an attempt to get the sailboat into deeper water. Knee-deep in mud and repeatedly bounced against the hull by unfriendly waves, the one said to the other, “Sure beats Christmas shopping, doesn’t it?”
This week we are starting a Christmas series entitled "Shopping for a Savior." You know one of the occupational hazards of being a pastor is that Sunday comes every seven days, whether I am ready or not. In like manner, Christmas comes on December 25 every 365 days, whether we are ready or not. Are you ready for Christmas? Or do you need a little more time to get ready? Along with Christmas is an assortment of obligations, duties, activities, observances, and traditions. These activities are compressed into our already frazzled lives. Christmas is going to come regardless if you have sent the cards, lighted the tree, wrapped the presents, or done all the shopping.
Not to worry, retail stores to the rescue. I remember when stores didn’t decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, now many stores are trimmed by Halloween. When our children are adults I suspect that stores will be decked out for Christmas by Labor Day. Stores open earlier and stay open later. And if that isn’t convenient one can shop online or over the phone. Or, the more fortunate and rich can hire a personal shopper to buy all their gifts.
I am reminded of a story I heard about a mother who was running frantically from store to store on Christmas Eve … trying to get those last-minute gifts. Suddenly she realized she’d lost track of her little 3-year-old son. 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. When he heard his mother call his name, he turned and shouted in innocent glee: “Look Mommy! It’s JESUS! Baby Jesus is in the hay!” The stressed mother grabbed his arm and jerked him away, snapping, “We don’t have time for all that! Can’t you see that Mommy’s trying to get ready for Christmas!?!”
With that story in mind why do we feel like it’s such a burden to go to Church around this time of year? How ironic is it to think of Worshiping Jesus as an interruption to His birthday celebration! But the sad truth is that each year I see more and more of this attitude. Each year many people as well as Christians, whether we realize it or not, is taking Christ out of Christmas by not making time for Him, by not making time for the very one that we are to be celebrating and worshipping.