Summary: Advent is a time for preparing our hearts with the hope of Jesus Chirst.
Preparing for Christmas
As we get closer to Christmas, the key to preparing for Christmas is staying focused on Jesus.
All the distractions only put Jesus on the outside looking in on our Christmas instead of us looking in on Jesus and the true reason for Christmas.
We as Christians say Jesus is the reason for Christmas, but our actions and our words have to line up.
Jesus coming to this earth was the greatest gift of kindness and offered hope to a world that is hopelessly heading to their destruction.
Biblical hope is more than wishy-washy “hope everything is okay.”
Hope in the Bible is not an action, it is a person. That person is Jesus Christ.
You take Jesus out of Christmas and all you have is mass chaos of present buying and business.
What will make this Christmas different?
I said about random acts of kindness. Doing something you don’t normally do.
Why? Because it changes our normal actions, attitude, and the way we do things.
So again, I ask you, what will be different? Deciding if you are going to change your attitude and actions to line up with what you know to be right.
1 Peter 1:3-1:7 Read from Bible
Jesus in the manger, the birth of Jesus Christ, the announcement to the shepherds of God showing up in the fields as they tended their sheep are more than stories we tell our children a few days before Christmas.
It was the starting point of a God who loved us enough to leave all of heaven to redeem mankind because of a love we can only imagine.
I cannot separate the two, the birth of Jesus, and the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus at Easter time. Christmas (His birth)and Easter (His death, burial, resurrection) is what hope we have for all of eternity.
Because we have this inheritance as a believer, it is our hope for all of eternity. It cannot perish, spoil, it is result of faith in Jesus Christ. That baby! God Almighty, coming to redeem mankind.
Peter encourages us here- The Christmas Story, Luke 2, Jesus coming as a baby to a hopeless world, encourages us to look past our present trials to a future glory in Christ.
Believers then, as well as today face many trials, including false accusations, health suffering, people doing you wrong, hateful comments, all point back to a God that hurt for us, not only I hope everything is okay, but hurt enough for us to come to this polluted world to offer redemption.
Every year we battle people to maintain Christmas mangers, Christmas plays, saying Merry Christmas instead of a generic Happy Holidays. The store people may not be able to say Merry Christmas but God’s people should be able.
At Christmas time more than ever, our text, preparing for Christmas, should become more alive to us as we look to Christ at Christmas.
I have come to a conclusion, maybe you too, that I don’t need to be politically correct, I just need to be correct, correct in God’s eyes.
“But God showed his great love for us sending Christ to die for us while we were yet sinners.”
In that manger was God expressing His love to mankind. Though they tried to stop it, His love for us was put into motion to become a plan of salvation.
John 3:16-17 Read from Bible
The love of God is so deep that we cannot fathom its depth.
It is hard for us to imagine a God who could love us that much when we live in a world that is filled with hate.
Acts of kindness are getting rarer and rarer, that why I encouraged you to be different.
If you are convinced that God hates you, it will be hard for you to trust him with your life.
But the Bible teaches us and shows us that God does love us that much and has a plan for each of our lives.
The goal of God’s redemptive plan was not to express his anger at the world but his love and intent was to save those that would trust him.
He desires for us to live in freedom not fear.
John the Baptist was a forerunner of Christ- Jesus had a plan and John was to announce it and prepare the way.
The followers of John the Baptist saw Jesus and Jesus followers baptizing people and they were confused and a bit jealous.
I like the way the New Living Translation puts it.
John 3:27-3:36- Read from New Living Translation
Do you see what was happening here?
John’s followers were concerned that Jesus and his followers had rising popularity and would eclipse that of the teacher.
John was reminding them of the plan. John was the forerunner, and Jesus was the reason.