Summary: The marvelous gifts that God gave to us on that first Christmas.
(Based on a series by Paul Snoddy, Tri-Village Christian Church,Pataskala, OH)
SERIES: “GIFTS UNDER THE TREE”
TEXT: LUKE 2:8-20
TITLE: “JOY – THE ENDURING GIFT”
INTRODUCTION: A. Virginia Brandt Berg:
I was standing in the doorway of a department store a few Christmases ago, enjoying
a lovely nativity scene in a store window, when a mother and her little girl came
hurrying by. Catching a glimpse of the beautiful scene, the child grabbed her mother’s
hand and exclaimed, “Mama! Mama! Please let me stop for a minute and look at
Jesus!” But her mother replied wearily that they weren’t even half through with their
shopping list and didn’t have time to stop--and walked on, dragging her disappointed
daughter behind her.
1. I have a feeling that a lot of us face the pressures and stress that come with the
2. The strange thing is that most of us have created our own stress
--We feel obligated to meet huge deadlines and enormous goals that we believe
best fulfill the purpose of Christmas
3. I think we’re a lot like the unfortunate women who in a last minute rush bought a
box of 50 identical cards without bothering to read the verse inscribed on each one.
She quickly signed and addressed all but one of the cards. Several days after they
had been mailed, she came across the one leftover card and to her dismay
discovered that inside it read… “This card is just to say, a special gift is on the
B. Maybe you have some bad memories from Christmas
-- Perhaps you remember back to a Christmas that wasn’t so joyful or happy and
conjures up memories that are painful.
1. Maybe you lost a loved one at Christmas time
2. Your parents had problems and they had a huge fight on Christmas
3. You have memories of being alone and depressed during the holiday season
C. Christmas is supposed to be about joy
1. Neh. 8:10b – “Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
2. Joy is not based on our circumstances.
a. It comes from our relationship with God.
b. Rom. 15:13 – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust
in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
c. Gal. 5 lists “joy” as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit
3. Dr. David G. Myers, The Pursuit of Happiness, before he wrote book, he
discovered there had been 80,000 studies on depression and only 400 on happiness
--Many times we focus on the negative and miss the joy available from God.
D. How do we discover the joy God intended for us?
--How do we find it at Christmas?
1. I believe our passage this morning gives us some great insight into finding joy
2. Luke 2:8-20 – “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping
watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the
glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to
them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the
people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ
the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and
lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with
the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth
peace to men on whom his favor rests.’ When the angels had left them and gone
into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this
thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and
found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they
had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this
child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But
Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds
returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen,
which were just as they had been told.”
I. CHOOSE TO HEAR THE MESSAGE
A. We have to choose to hear the message
1. Most people know the Christmas story but they haven’t really heard its message
2. Mt. 11:15 – “He who has ears, let him hear.
--A lot of people hear with their ears but don’t really hear the message.
B. What was the message?