Summary: Mary pondered - using four gifts to explore meaning of Christmas as we ponder it's meaning in our lives
Mary pondered all these words in her heart.
That’s what I want to focus on tonight
That’s what Christmas is about
reflecting, thinking, contemplating
the wonder of Christmas’ past and present and future
Birth of Baby Jesus, Christmas programs,
Christmas worship, family gatherings
To help us ponder tonight
I asked four youth to help us
Thanks to our youth
for volunteering to help with the message tonight.
Go ahead and open your gift
and these are yours to keep
– Box of Hot Chocolate Mix
Do you like Hot Chocolate?
What is it good for?
Warming up on a cold winter’s night
I don’t like hot chocolate, coffee, or tea
But when I’m outside watching a Christmas parade
in the super cold air
I’ll even drink hot chocolate to warm me up.
Well the Christmas story
Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds, wise men
warms us up
Who did I leave out of that list?
Baby Jesus – of course
babies always warm us up
they are fun to watch
(when they are not crying or have a messy diaper)
The Christmas story warms us.
We love to sing the Christmas carols.
We’d sing them from Thanksgiving
to Epiphany and longer if we could.
The melodies get inside our heads
settle down into our bones,
build themselves a home in our memories.
When you gather with family and sing Christmas carols
you don’t need the words to at least verse one
because you know them
Have you ever gone to a nursing home
to sing Christmas carols?
They don’t need the words
They remember the words.
Because the songs are a part of us.
And they warm our hearts and lives
mellow us just a little
bring us a little closer to Jesus
and closer to family and friends.
and bring Peace on earth good will to all.
Open the second Gift - box of Poptart S’mores
reminds me of roasting marshmallows by a campfire
My family and I love to camp.
And although I do not like s’mores
Wendy and the family love s’mores
There a part of our camping or cookout tradition.
Marshmallows roasted over an open fire,
chocolate and graham crackers.
bring back Camping memories
relaxing times by the fire
These quiet times, relaxing times
become etched in my mind
memories that will stay with me all my life.
Think about the shepherds
sitting around a campfire
watching over their flocks by night
Angels shining bright
came and told them the story
For to you is born this day a savior
and they hurried to see this thing that had come to pass
Tonight we celebrate a story
that has become so important to us.
that we can tell the story
without looking it up in the Bible
Caesar Augustus, taxing,
Joseph, Mary with child, going to Bethlehem
can’t find a place to stay
end up in a stable with sheep and donkeys
there Mary delivers Jesus
and lays him in the feeding trough.
Open Gift 3 – Beef Jerky
Do you like beef jerky?
And what does that have to do with Christmas?
it’s meat – right
good solid food - protein
And the Christmas story has real meat
God so loved the world
that he gave his only begotten son
so that whoever believes in him
will not perish
but have everlasting life.
Christmas is the beginning of that fulfillment.
God with us – Emmanuel
Sometimes when we sing
or tell the story of Christmas
we hear something new,
hear something we never heard that way before
We gain new insights
Yes, I have been telling the Christmas Story
for over 30 years, more if you count Seminary
and the years growing up as a pastor’s kid
And yet as I read the birth accounts
in Matthew and Luke
and read over the options for Christmas programs
and sermon resources
there is still something new to hear.
The story still adds meat to my faith!
Once a little girl asked her pastor:
“If Jesus was born in Bethlehem,
how did he get over here?”
obviously referring to the America.
The pastor’s response was a simple one
“Jesus made the trip from Bethlehem to American
and all around the world
in the hearts of individuals like you and me.”
Jesus comes to dwell
(Jesus our Emmanuel-or a carol line)
and Jesus leads us to think
Would I leave flocks to find Jesus?
Would I leave behind my valued possessions behind
to find the wonderful Jesus?
Leave TV, iPad, iPhone,
Nintendo, Xbox, or Playstation, whatever,
or skip the Championship football Game
to “See this thing that has come to pass”?
Take the time to ponder the Christmas story
Let it have some meaning to you
and hopefully as you listen, sing, read, ponder