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Summary: A Topical Sermon describing 3 Ways to prepare your heart to celebrate Christmas.

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How to Prepare for Christmas

Isa. 40:3, various Scripture

An elderly widow decided it was too much trouble to get all of her kids and grandkids Christmas presents, so she decided to send them a check with a card. A few days after she mailed all the cards, she discovered she forgot to include the checks in the cards. Imagine all those kids opening a card from grandma with a note inside that says, “Buy your own presents.”

It pays sometimes to take a little more time to be prepared. Especially at Christmas. In fact, I want to announce: It is time to prepare for Christmas.

Time to trim the tree, check the lights and hang the wreath. Time dig out the decorations to put in the house and on the lawn. Time to bake the cookies, make the fudge, hang the stockings and fill them up. Time to write the letter to St. Nicholas, shop for gifts, wrap the presents, attach the tags and put on the bows. Time to address the cards, send the cards, receive the cards from people you haven’t heard from all year. Time to make plans for the out of town trip, time to welcome the kids and their families back home. Time to practice the songs, practice the play, prepare the lessons and the sermons. It’s time to get ready for Christmas.

As of today, you have 28 days to prepare for Christmas Day, 2007. It’s not time to panic yet, but it is time to start making preparations. But I wonder: with all the preparation going on, will you take time to prepare your heart for Christmas this year? So often Christmas becomes a bother instead of a blessing, full of headaches instead of a hallelujahs- all because we fail to heed the words spoken by the prophet in

Isaiah 40:3 …prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.

Those words were fulfilled in the ministry of John the Baptist, and they’re not talking a construction project, but a preparation of the heart to welcome the Lord Jesus. This morning I want to apply this call to our need to prepare our hearts for Christmas This morning I want to offer you 3 ways you can prepare your heart for Christmas. We’ll begin in Luke 18:15-17.

I. BECOME A CHILD AGAIN. (Luke 18:15-17)

After some last-minute Christmas shopping with her grandchildren, grandma was rushing them into the car when four-year-old Jason said, "Grandma, Susie has something in her pocket." He reached in and pulled out a new red barrette. She took Susie back to the store to put the item back where she had found it. Later at the checkout, the clerk asked, "Have you kids been good so Santa will come?" "I’ve been very good," replied Jason, "but my sister just robbed a store."

Christmas is for kids. I often people say it and I wonder what they mean.

Do they mean they’ve gotten too old to enjoy celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ?

I sometimes detect a little sadness, a little disappointment, maybe a little longing for the days when they enjoyed Christmas as a child? Yet Jesus seems to think even grown ups need to become like children. He once told a man named Nicodemus the only way to see God’s kingdom is to be born again. Nick had a hard time with that. How can you start all over again—like a newborn baby? That’s impossible!

Jesus says something similar here when his disciples this Jesus is too busy and important to take time for children. Jesus tells them, Guys, you don’t realize how important these kids are. Children are your model for how to enter and how to live in God’s Kingdom. Unless you become a child again, there is no way you will ever get to heaven! What did Jesus mean?

First of all, let me tell you what He does not mean. He does not mean there’s anything wrong with growing up. There is a big difference between being child-like and being childish.

Children aren’t always little angels, and Jesus is not discouraging you from maturing with age. In fact, that’s a problem with many adults: they haven’t grown up. They haven’t outgrown temper tantrums, or selfishness, or unforgiveness.

But despite all of the negative things you lay aside as you grow up, there are some things you need to hold on to, no matter how old you get. Let me give you two that can help you prepare your heart for Christmas:

Dependence. Children need somebody to take care of them. They do some things for themselves, but they depend on adults to do many things they can’t. And you know, most kids don’t mind this arrangement. If you have good parents, you probably don’t mind not worrying about food, or clothes, or how you’re going to get to school. You trust your parents to take care of you. Children are a model for our trust of our Heavenly Father:

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Rich Forney

commented on Nov 28, 2006

Good, down to earth practical information that is Biblically based and usable and applicable for our everyday lives.

T. Michael Crews

commented on Dec 15, 2006

Thanks so much for the encouragement, Rich! God Bless!

Carol Patterson

commented on Dec 7, 2007

I especially appreciated the story at the end and plan to use it.

Danny Brightwell

commented on Dec 10, 2012

Really good lesson. Thank you for sharing it.

Jason Morford

commented on Dec 4, 2013

I felt like God was leading me towards this type of sermon. I made my outline and a few other notes and went online to look for illustrations. Our points were similar, but yours were much more organized and thought out. I have never used the exact outline before, but I am using your 3 point outline. Thanks

T. Michael Crews

commented on Dec 4, 2013

You are most welcome. I am so blessed to know something I wrote was helpful to you. God Bless Jason!

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