Sermons

Summary: Christmas Day changed a lot of people. Paul addressed some in the great city of Colossae – Christians who had a reputation of being strong believers, but had a little problem understanding why they were to act differently than the world. Don’t we all ha

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First Sunday After Christmas ©

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. -- NRSVA

Anne is an email buddy of mine; she is my Sister-in-law’s Sister-in-law. (Don’t try to figure it out; it hurts too much!) She sent me a two page account of their Christmas day. I thought one part just about nailed what Christmas does for us and to us:

We enjoyed our wild few days – what I call the extreme sport of Christmas. We are all winners since the Christ child came to live among us.

We had a nice chat with Aunt Kay and Howard. John [Anne’s husband, my brother’s brother-in-law] talked a little about Christmas, telling them we used paper plates and plastic knives and forks to make it easier on ourselves.

Howard said, That’s great. You didn’t have to count the silverware when everyone left. I said, You’re right, but I did count the children to make sure they were all taken away. [1]

Christmas Day changed a lot of people. Paul addressed some in the great city of Colossae – Christians who had a reputation of being strong believers, but had a little problem understanding why they were to act differently than the world. Don’t we all have that little problem?

Paul called them “chosen ones”. In short that means two things:

 They were changed. The early Christians were baptized as a sign of their willingness to change, be different. Men and women were baptized in different rooms, because the ceremony included stripping-off all clothing, and entering the pool naked. It was a signal that the old life had been stripped-away like a ragged garment. They were changed.

A story is told of a denomination that believed in baptismal sanctification (the moment you are baptized, you are sanctified, and therefore perfect -- you won’t ever sin again). One winter an older man got convicted, and decided to join the group. It was winter time and he wanted to be baptized right away; but the creek was frozen over. However, he had a great desire to be pure, so he convinced the deacons to baptize him. They cut a hole in the ice, took the old fellow out and dunked him in the hole, all the way, twice for good measure. As he came out the old man exclaimed, "Oh, it’s so wonderful. I’m sanctified. It’s so wonderful; I don’t even feel the cold." The head deacon said, "Let’s dunk him again,boys; he’s still lyin’!"


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