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Summary: Chances are your "perfect Christmas" will have some interruptions.

Christmas In The Real World Series

Surviving The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

1 of 3

December 1, 2002 FBC, Chester, Illinois Mike Fogerson, Speaker


A Show clips of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

*No perfect Christmas speech

*Grandma saying grace

*National Anthem

B Looks like any of your homes for Christmas? Were starting a 3 part collection of messages entitled "Christmas In The Real World." This series will offer real help for real people like us. The first message is "Surviving The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year."

a Text: Matthew 1:18-25

MT 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. [19] Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. [21] She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: [23] "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" --which means, "God with us." 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. [25] But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

b The first Christmas had it’s share of stress. (ETS)

C Chances are your perfect Christmas will have some unexpected interruptions. (ESS)

a I hope you’ll see dashed Christmas plans as an opportunity for Christian growth. (Objective)

b What can you do to survive the next four weeks? (Probing Question)

T.S.: Lets look at two survival tips that can help us get through the most wonderful time of the year.

I The first survival tip that can help us get through the most wonderful time of year is...expect your best laid plans to be interrupted. (vv:18)

A Joseph & Mary had been planning a wedding until God told them to prepare a nursery.

a Hebrew marriages had two stages.

(1) Kiddushin (engagement, betrothal): legally the couple was married, but not living together, have not consummated the relationship. The Kiddushin could last as much as 12 months. Tested fidelity, integrity. In order to break the engagement you had to get divorced. Now you just say "let’s call it off."

(2) Huppah (Marriage ceremony itself)

b *Joseph was planning on marrying his sweetheart, drawing up house plans, carving their marriage bed...BIG PLANS.

*Mary was planning an elaborate wedding, picking out china patterns, looking for the perfect lingerie for the honeymoon...BIG PLANS.

*Can you imagine a 15 year old Mary going to her 20 something fiancee and Joseph starts talking about floor plans and wall color...Mary says, "Joe, honey, we need to talk....I’m pregnant."

Short of divorce, death or dismemberment...very few of us will have holiday plans interrupted as much as Joe and Mary’s!

B If God interrupted Joseph and Mary’s wedding plans, realize that our Christmas plans are fair game for God too.

a We can make plans on top of plans on top of plans....our plans may not be what God has planned for us.

b James 4:13-15

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." [14] Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. [15] Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that."

Our Plans VS. God’s Plans (Which one do you think is ultimately going to get done? God’s of course!)

C In December of 1998, Pam and I were planning a special Christmas. (After four years of trying to conceive, Pam got pregnant.)

a Plans? We had a ton of them. We began to have problems in the pregnancy and we lost Kaylea Danae’ on December 13.

*Our plans were to become parents, buy Easy Bake ovens, Raggady Ann & Andy stuff, a lot of pink. (Our plans were interrupted.)

b We spent the Christmas of 98 crying, buying a casket and the only pink were the flowers on the grave blanket. Let me tell you about plans....they get interrupted. (The only thing that is certain, permanent in concrete is a headstone, everything else is open to interruption.)

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