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Summary: This Christmas do you want Presents or Presence? Learning to put our priorites right in a commercialized world.

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The greatest gift-Presents or presence

Matthew chapter 2:1-2:11

I want to challenge you a little this last Sunday before Christmas. I want to invite you to join us on Christmas Eve as we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

I want you to think about a few things:

Remember the birth of Christ-

both today and Christmas Eve service and everyday of your life.

Preparing for Christmas- so that you do not miss it in the hustle and rush of the season.

Getting your stress level to where it needs to be so that you are not running around like a person who has just drank 10 cups of coffee and 10- 5 hour power boast drinks.

I want you to think about presents… not boxes or bags. Presence…

”having a relationship with the Lord.”

Matthew 2:1- 2:11 Text this morning

Christmas is a time of giving.

It is a time that we remember and want to thank those who have been a part of our last year.

It is a time of shopping.

Notice ever since the Magi came to see Christ-child people have been giving gifts- most of the time exchanging gifts.

It was a little more complicated than when the wise men from the East brought their finest gifts.

Just an observation- they didn’t bring a bag full of numerous gifts. The bag that never seems to empty.

They each brought their finest gift to give to the Christ child.

They did not have to worry about size, quanity, color, and the day after they gave it, they didn’t take their gift back to the store and exchange it by standing in a long line of other dissatisfied people.

Their gift was their best to the Christ child.

The recorded words here was not focused on what they brought each other, it was on what they brought to Christ.

The most important gift we have ever been given was God incarnate.

That baby Jesus who would fulfill all prophecy.

The one who could forgive sins and gave us the gift of eternal life.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Most read that as…

”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only forgotten Son.”

Let me bring the first point- Christ is the greatest gift-

“I no longer call you servants, because servant does not know his masters business, instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I have learned from my Father I have made known to you” john 15:15

That you and I may know the only true God….Jesus Christ …whom God sent for us as a gift.

Kids, you won’t like this…

The greatest gift to your children is not in a box.

The most valuable gift is in relationship. Your love, your care, your time, your attention.

God’s greatest gift is a relationship with Jesus Christ.

You never have to worry about if it fits, out grow it, wear it out, break it- this gift never loses it’s value.

Most of us do not see in Christ in the Nativity Scene. They do not see the Prince of Peace, The Savior of the world. They see commercialized Christmas with Christ taken out of Christmas. They cannot even spell out Christmas without taking Christ out and looking for a short cut.

2 Corinthians 9:15

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift”

Question- How do you prepare for Christmas?

How do you keep from getting sucked up into the commercialized side of Christmas.

Here is probably what you do:

Clean the house

Put decorations up

Buy presents

Get food bought and made

Go buy presents that you forget.

Send Christmas cards

Send cards to people you forgot and they sent one to you

Make final preparation for guest.

Spend more money on presents you forgot.

That may not be exact, but I am close.

Some of you add office parties, youth activities, family parties, and by the end of it all…baau humbug! You cannot wait till it is over.

Your more like the Grinch than you think.

Ever notice, no one ever helps or volunteers to take the decorations down- because you have had enough Christmas.

All this brings me to the second point- overcoming the stress so that you can enjoy Christmas.

I love Christmas. As a pastor, it is one of the highlights of the year. Know how busy you are?

Add doing some additional services, ministering to more people in the community, phone ringing off the hook, this year adding house hunting and processing all that paperwork.

That makes me tired just thinking about it. I could use the ten cups of coffee I talked about before- throw in the power drinks.

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