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Summary: In this message we will unwrap the awesome gift of Christ that tells us that we are pursued by God!

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“The Gift Of Christ”

The Gifts Of Christmas – part three

1At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2(This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3All returned to their own towns to register for this census. 4And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5He took with him Mary, his fiancé, who was obviously pregnant by this time. 6And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn. That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, 10but the angel reassured them. "Don’t be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! 11The Savior--yes, the Messiah, the Lord--has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!" 13Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others--the armies of heaven--praising God: 14 "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors." 15When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Come on, let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." 16They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they had seen the child, just as the angel had said. 21Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived.”

Can you believe that Christmas 2003 is almost here? In just 4 days people all over the world will be opening presents, sipping egg nog, eating turkey and gathering with family and friends.

QUESTION – what kind of day do you think you are going to have, on THIS December 25th?

YOU KNOW – I’m convinced that DESPITE all the awesome food (the turkey, the dressing, the mash potatoes, the pumpkin pies with cool whip, lots of cool whip); DESPITE all the clothes, the games, the toys, the electronics, the jewelry – DESPITE all the boxes & bags, ribbons and tags…

I am convinced that DESPITE all the frills and all the bills… that many, on A day, when we celebrate - good news of great joy for all people… I’m convinced that many (maybe even some here in this room) will not be having such a good time.

Like I said a few weeks back… the ‘Christmas Season’ really evokes strong emotions, Very strong emotions at all ends of the spectrum. I MEAN – this time of year we see;

· people who are joyful and people who are sad

· people who feel loved – and people who feel alone

· people who are excited and people who couldn’t care less

· people who are full of enthusiasm and people we are empty and drained

LISTEN - people (even believers) can sometimes feel bored, empty, drained and deflated during this time of year?

AND – do you know what? That is not how it is supposed to be. UNDERSTAND (boredom, sadness and emptiness) – are not how God wants any person to feel during a time when we celebrate the birth of his son. AND – that is why on December 7th we began a sermon series that is designed to pump you up – that is designed to get you all lit up and jazzed about this season…

A message series where we are reminding ourselves of what Christmas is all about…

UNDERSTAND – in a very real way, the world is right… Christmas really is all about gifts. BUT – it’s not about gifts that you will find under your tree OR that you can buy at the Mall of Georgia. NO – Christmas is about gifts from God…

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