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Summary: Christmas Carol Service 2014 - PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: gcurley@gcurley.info

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• Probably the most used word at Christmas is the word gift;

• And for many people what they ‘get’ at Christmas – makes it or breaks it!

Quote:

“December is the only month of the year when everyone forgets about the past, forgets about the future, and focuses on the PRESENT!”

Ill:

• Kids have a hard time waiting for Christmas.

• They are of course excited about all the gifts they are hoping to get;

• i.e. When our kids were younger I remember them going through the Argos catalogue;

• And circling all the gifts they would like!

Ill:

Here are some actual letters that were written by kids to Santa:

(a).

• “Dear Santa Claus,

• When you come to my house there will be cookies for you.

• But if you are real hungry you can use our phone and order a pizza to go.”

(b).

• “Dear Santa, (From a 4-year-old) I

• I’ll take anything because I haven’t been that good.”

(c).

• “Dear Santa,

• If you bring presses with batteries, please bring batteries!”

(c).

• “Dear Santa,

• I’m not going to ask for a lot. Here’s my list:

• The Etch-A-Sketch animator, 2 packs of #2 pencils,

• Crayon fat markers and the big gift...my own colour TV!

• If you want, you could drop the pencils; I don’t want to be really selfish.”

Ill:

• Perfect gift for my wife Penny:

• Youtube clip: http://youtu.be/kZVFw52DGto

• (Just what every woman about town needs - a 4WD that will fold up to handbag size).

• TRANSITION: One gift we all could do with this Christmas is peace;

• But peace is so often missing at Christmas.

Ill:

• If you go into town, well first you have to battle the long traffic jams;

• Then you have to battle with hectic shoppers rushing here and there,

• And then you experience those long queues at the tills.

• For many getting those you love a present is anything but a peaceful experience!

ill

• If you have beaten the madness of shopping by doing all your shopping inline;

• Many homes still experience a stresses out time on Christmas Day;

• The hard work of preparing and serving Christmas dinner;

• Enjoying or enduring a houseful of family or visitors;

• Can take its toll on many people!

• TRANSITION: It often appears that the word peace at Christmas;

• Is only used in in songs, TV programmes and movies,

• But seldom in real life!

Ill:

• There is a story of a man who lived in the state of Arizona in the U.S.A.

• He received some tragic news that his family had been killed in a car accident.

• It was a tragic situation.

• And you can imagine the turmoil going through his mind.

• He was alone for his first Christmas and he was very depressed.

• So he decided he would go out for a hike in the nearby Grand Canyon.

• He was hoping the exercise, the fresh air and the beauty of the Grand Canyon;

• Would take his mind away from the pain and anxiety he was experiencing.

• At one point in his journey the man looked up to heaven;

• And in his frustration and bitterness, he shouted mockingly into the sky:

• “Glory to God in the highest”;

• And the canyon echoed back... “ HIGHEST highest. highest…”

• He shouted a second time; “And on earth, PEACE”

• Again the canyon echoed back… “... Peace...peace...peace…”

• The young man sat down and cried, for him there was no peace,

• His peace was like the echo that began to fade and fade and fade far away;

• Until you could hear it no more.

Note:

• The word “peace” appears over 400 times in the Bible;

• And this “peace” is not reserved for Christmas time,

• It is a quality, a characteristic that God wants all his people to consistently experience.

• But the ‘peace of God’ is very different to the ‘peace of human beings’,

• I guess the 1914-2014 one hundred year anniversary is a good reminder of that!

Ill:

• 65 million men fought in WW1;

• Half of them never came home!

• A few minutes ago we sang an extra verse to the traditional carol silent night;

• It was commissioned to mark the centenary of the 1914 truce.

• But someone else peened a rather different verse;

• I don’t think many folks will be singing this verse this Christmas.

“Silent night, holy night,

a bursting bomb, a flash of light,

a thousand whirring airplanes roar,

dropping their gifts, their gifts of war,

and all is calm and all is bright

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