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Summary: When we open ourselves to others in love, then we live out the Song of Mary, the nobleness of Joseph, and the reason for the Christ-child.

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“Opening Ourselves To others”

Opening ourselves to ‘Christ’-mas

Luke 1:46-55 (The Song of Mary) ~ Matthew 1:18-25 ~ I John 4:7-19 (quotes taken from the NKJV unless noted)

Wakelee Church ~ December 12, 2004

Theme: When we open ourselves to others in love, then we live out the Song of Mary, the nobleness of Joseph, and the reason for the Christ-child!

Introduction –

This morning we’re going to talk about opening ourselves to others…in short, we’re talking about love.

Love is a very popular word in our society, and many are out there searching for it. But this very key, one of the deepest human needs of them all, often goes unfulfilled, is often misunderstood and is more than often misused.

On Amazon.com, they list 2,652 book titles regarding “heaven”, 10, 304 for “money”, 16,765 for

“sex”, 18,818 for “God,” and more than any of these, “love” is listed in 30,066 book titles.

If you “Google” the word love, and you have to be very careful doing this, you will find all sorts of websites (225 million to be exact.) Here are some examples that you will find:

I love Dogs.com

I love Cats.com

I love Cheese. Com

I love Lucy.com

And for those of who who are single out there…

True Romance Dating Service.com

Love Test.com

Matchmaker.com

The Love Calculator.com (On this site you type in your name and your mates name and it gives you the odds of your relationship lasting. AnnMarie and I received a 77% chance that we’d stay together – pretty good odds, the site says.)

The interesting aspect is that on all these sites, love is seen as something that humanity creates not God. This seems to be a way that many people see it...

One man wrote: "Dear Abby, I am in love and I am having an affair with two different women other than my wife. I love my wife but I love these other women too. Please tell me what to do, but don’t give me any that morality stuff." Signed: Too much love for only one.” In this case Abby’s answer was classic. She wrote: “Dear Too much love for only one. The only difference between humans and animals is morality. Please write to a veterinarian."

Real love, opening ourselves to others, is more than that...

An eight year old girl wrote once that “Love is not when Daddy reads me a bedtime story…true love is when he doesn’t skip any of the pages…”

You see, real love is something more…

Perhaps you read the story about a woman and her husband who came to a pastor and said,

"We’re going to get a divorce, but we want to come to make sure that you approve of it." There are people who come to the pastor hoping that when they say there is no feeling left in their marriage, the pastor will say, "Well, if there’s no feeling left, then, the only thing you can do is split."

Instead, the pastor says to the husband, "The Bible says you’re to love your wife as Jesus Christ

loved the church."

He says, "Oh, I can’t do that."

The pastor says, "If you can’t begin at that level, then begin on a easier level. You’re supposed to

love your neighbor as you love yourself. Can you at least love her as you would love a neighbor?"

The husband says, "No. That’s still too high a level."

The pastor says, "The Bible says, Love your enemies. Begin there." [Levels of Love, Citation: Erwin Lutzer, "Learning to Love," Preaching Today, Tape No. 99.]

At the very heart of who we are as Christians, opening ourselves to others through this concept of love defines us…

Love is the key. Joy is love that sings. Peace is love that rests. Long-suffering is love that endures. Kindness is love’s touch. Goodness is love’s character. Faithfulness is love’s habit. Gentleness is love’s self-forgetfulness. Self-control is love holding the reins.

[www.sermoncentral.com ~ Donald Grey Barnhouse]

Mary knew this love….Joseph knew this love…and Jesus is this love!!!

I – Mary, filled with the Spirit, knew about Jesus’ love…

“…He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy…” – Luke 1:54

In the midst of what had to be a difficult pregnancy, with many talking behind her back,

fueling the rumor mill at ever higher and higher rates, Mary kept the love she had for her

child, and the love that he would have for the world, at the forefront of her mind.

II – Joseph, fresh from seeing visions, lived out God’s love.

“Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife…” – Matthew 1:24

Joseph…feeling stunned, confused, rejected, and possibly angry…listed to what the Lord had said to him and did the right love by living out God’s love through his wife and step-son.

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