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Summary: A Christmas message

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Jesus: the Gift of Christmas

-Great to see all of you hear this morning for our Christmas Celebration. I love Christmas.

-Christmas is a time that holds special meaning for all of us.

-For some Christmas is a time of reunion; your get to see family that you don’t normally see.

-For others Christmas is a time of creating new memories; watching little kids grin from ear to ear with their new toy.

-For some, Christmas is a lonely time of year that highlights things that are wrong with their life…not everyone loves Christmas.

-As an adult, Christmas isn’t as magical as when we were kids.

-Even looking back on family Christmases gone by I realize that it wasn’t as magical as it may have seemed.

-It was mostly good times but sprinkled with some family drama, an occasional swear word, and some borderline drunk relatives.

-But on Christmas morning my grandma, who survived the Great Depression, made sure that there were so many presents we couldn’t walk through the living room.

-But before we’d tear open all those presents we had to make the occasion more spiritual by reading the Christmas story.

-And for the most part everyone paused to remember the true meaning of Christmas which is Jesus.

-Everyone listened to the familiar tale except Great Uncle Fred.

-He was the one family member who was a mystery to me as a kid

-On the Christian side of my family he was the only one who didn’t go to church.

-Uncle Fred was kind of a ne’er-do-well. He never really held a job.

-He chain smoked and watched ESPN like it was his job.

-I never remember touching a present until we’d read the story of Jesus, but I never remember Uncle Fred listening to the story.

-And once that story was told, we kids assaulted the presents.

-You can think what you want about materialism at Christmas, but the birth of Jesus; Christmas time is about gifts.

-Think about what we’ve learned so far in this Holy Days series.

THE STOCKING STUFFERS

-THERE WERE A WHOLE SERIES OF GIFTS LEADING UP TO CHRIST’S BIRTH:

ZECHARIAH’S ANGELIC VISITATION.

-Zechariah the priest was chosen for the once in a lifetime opportunity to enter the most Holy Place.

-He got to see the holy of holies where the presence of God resided. That was a gift that very few people ever received.

-And then he had a visit from the mighty angel Gabriel. A gift!

-This righteous man, a humble priest was the first person to hear from God in over 400 years! That was also a gift!

ELIZABETH’S MIRACULOUS PREGNANCY.

-Elizabeth was an elderly woman who’d never had children of her own. He neighbors suspected she was under some kind of curse.

-But suddenly, and miraculously, she was with child. And her baby would be John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus. What a gift!

MARY’S MIRACULOUS PREGNANCY.

-A teenage girl named who was average in every apparent way, was chosen to become the mother of God.

-Out of all women on earth she was chosen to give birth to the Savior of the World!

-She would know that the child growing inside her was God in the flesh. The baby that she bore would become the light of salvation for the entire world. What a gift!

JOSEPH THE STEPDAD OF JESUS!

-Even Joseph, the silent carpenter got a gift!

-When God decided to send his only son to earth, and he needed an earthly stepdad for Jesus…Joseph was chosen. A gift!

-But those gifts are nothing compared to the gift of Jesus Christ!

-Those amazing gifts were like stocking stuffers compared to what Jesus has given us.

-Stocking stuffers are like warm up presents.

-For probably 10 years my favorite stocking stuffer from my mom was a can of easy cheese. It’s my backup plan for eternal life!

-I usually get presents that are better than that, but that was my favorite stocking stuffer…until I became concerned about cholesterol and heart disease; now I get dried cranberries.

-But everyone in the Christmas story knew that their gifts, were stocking stuffers, warm ups, preparation for the real thing.

Zechariah first saw his baby boy he said God is about “…to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Lk 1:79

-Zechariah new God was gearing up for something big!

Elizabeth said to Mary ““Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!”

-She knew that there was something more coming!

Mary knew about the gift, because the angel told her, “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” (Lk 1:31-32)

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