Summary: Beyond happy memories, beyond seasonal blessings, beyond ourselves; Christmas like everything else in this Biblical narrative, is not about us! This morning I want us to think about three expressions of love that we see in the Christmas season that are a
Dakota Community Church
December 18, 2011
It is hard to believe that we are already at week four in this season of Advent! Between our trip to the Dominican Republic and last week’s Children’s Church concert the month is flying by.
So far we have looked at the hope (past, present, and future) that Christmas offers to every man; then in week two, Tyson shared something about striped shirts looking like landscapes on him (from what I can gather he is at peace with this disturbing reality thanks to Christmas?) and last week along with “The Mouse’s Tale” we celebrated the joy of the season that comes only from God. The three candles stand glowing and just now the fourth – the candle of love – has been lit.
What do we say about love at Christmas?
Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages” comes to mind. During the Christmas season all five are being spoken to and by almost everyone.
Quality Time – how much extra visiting goes on at this time of year?
Encouraging Words – even complete strangers offering seasonal well wishes.
Touch – an abundance of hugging and back patting, even wet cheek kisses from aunties.
Acts of Service – meals cooked, dishes washed, homes decorated for guests…
Gifts – Let’s not forget the gift giving!
For those who look forward all year to this wonderful time – these expressions of love are surely a huge part of that anticipation.
And yet; as we sit here in Church this morning, I can’t help but notice that all of this love talk to this point has been something well known to me all of my life – even without knowledge of salvation. All my life I was reminded that Jesus is the “reason for the season”; for the first 18 of those Christmases – I did not know Him.
We need to go deeper in our reflections.
Beyond happy memories, beyond seasonal blessings, beyond ourselves; Christmas like everything else in this Biblical narrative, is not about us!
This morning I want us to think about three expressions of love that we see in the Christmas season that are amazing and true for every person born on this planet – even those who have come to hate this season for one reason or another.
1. God’s great love for every man.
First and foremost Christmas is the ultimate expression of God’s great love for man.
1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”