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Summary: No matter what else will disappear in the next decade, God’s love will last forever.

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What’s Love Got to Do With It?

John 3:16-18

Rev. Brian Bill

12/20/09

I love those words that Dan just sang: “What kind of King would come so small, from glory to a humble stall? That dirty manger is my heart, too; I’ll make a royal throne for you.”

I want to begin this morning with some group interaction. Turn to the person next to you and answer this question: “What kinds of things have disappeared in the last ten years?” Or to ask it another way: “What every-day-kind-of-stuff has become extinct in the last decade?”

Here are six things that have disappeared in the last decade…

* Big phone books – people are using the web for phone numbers now.

* Lick-able stamps – this is a good change.

* Foldable maps – thanks to MapQuest and GPS, they are mostly a thing of the past.

* Floppy disks – this one disk can only hold about half of one mp3 song.

* Cassettes – sales have gone from a high of 442 million in 1990 to just 274,000 thousand in 2007. I was going to bring up one of my old 8-Track tapes but then you would know that I’m a child of the 60s.

* The Chicago Bears – ok, that was a low blow, but I couldn’t resist.

With Christmas less than a week away, retail analysts have identified one sector of the market that is emerging this shopping season. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 80% of adults say they intend to purchase some type of technology as a gift this year, the highest number ever.

That ties into an article on Pantagraph.com this week called, “Ten Years from Now: When iPhones will Be Antiques.” I’m going to read part of the opening and the closing paragraph: “Ten years ago, we would have been blown away by a cell phone with far more computing power and memory than the average PC had in 1999…Ten years from now, the iPhone and its ilk will be antiques. Over the next decade, the evolution of computing and the Internet will produce faster, increasingly intelligent devices…The 2000s saw Google become one of the world’s most powerful companies because it helped us get a grip on the sprawling content of the Web. What we will need next, however, is a company that doesn’t just organize data. Google, or the next Google, will have to synthesize all that information and help us understand what it all means.”

While there’s no way I can even come close to synthesizing all the information that’s out there, I do want to take a stab at synthesizing the story of Christmas. The Children’s Choir captured it well: “His love will last for all eternity.” At its heart, Christmas means that no matter what else will disappear in the next decade, God’s love will last forever.

Angels Out in the Field

Because the Christmas story is saturated with the supernatural, some of us miss the meaning because we just skim by this season on a superficial level. While it’s a stretch for those of us who know John and Nathan to think of them as angelic, what they portrayed helps us to consider what Christmas may have been like from an angel’s perspective.

The news about Jesus becoming an “eerthling” is so incredible that only angels could be entrusted as the appropriate messengers. No earthly channels of communication or even technology could be relied upon to get this amazing message out because no human person could possibly be persuasive enough.

I want to draw our attention for a few moments to three activities of angels – I don’t think they make it snow but here are some things we do know.

1. They love praising the Savior. Luke 2:8: “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.” In the midst of the mundane, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared. Into the darkness of a silent night came the brightness of the glory of the Lord. I’m sure the shepherds were rubbing their eyes and shaking in their sandals. In fact, the word “terrified” means that they were alarmed and agitated. The angel in our drama was on to something when he said, “When they get a load of His holiness they’re just gonna keel over by the millions!”

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid.” The reason they did not need to be afraid is because the messenger was bringing “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.’”

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