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Summary: In this message we will look at the gift of joy and how to keep joy in our Christmas (The Gifts of Christmas part 1 of 4)

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“The Gift Of Joy”

The Gifts Of Christmas – part one

SHOW – The Grinch Video Clip….(when he thinks they will be sad on mountain about to push over toys – new Grinch)

“maybe Christmas means more…”

As your pastor – I felt the need as Christmas 2001 shifts into high gear – to talk about, to remind you, to remind me, to remind us, of what the true meaning of Christmas really is. Now I don’t really expect to tell anything you don’t already know… I’m just trying to do what Peter did in his second letter;

“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them…I think it is right to refresh your memory…” 2 Peter 1:12,13

This morning, we kick off a 4 week sermon series, I’m calling, ‘The Gifts Of Christmas,’ During the next 4 weeks, we will talk about the gift of significance, the gift of joy, the gift of Christ, and the gift of seeing Him.

TODAY – I want to begin with the gift of joy… AND I want to talk about joy for 2 reasons. #1; because it is most definitely one of the gifts of Christmas… Luke records the following words in the second chapter of his gospel;

Luke 2:8-11

“I bring you good news of GREAT joy…” CIRCLE – “great joy….”

Now, the word ‘great’ is the Greek word ‘megas’ it’s where we get our English word mega. I like that… LISTEN – the good news the angels proclaimed was not just the good news of ‘joy’ – NO it was the good news of MEGA joy… Mega joy for all people, mega joy for me, mega joy for you…

The second reason I want to talk about joy, as we begin this series, is because for many – Christmas is NOT a joyful time…

SURE – we sing, “Joy to the world the Lord is come” “O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant” “repeat the sounding joy” and “Tis the season to be jolly” - BUT joy – real joy seems to elude so many. BUT I am sure that is not news to you – hey we have all heard the statistics (maybe we’ve been part of them, a time or 2) statistics, of how the Christmas season is a time a great depression for so many, statistics of how the suicide rate goes up this time of year…

AND LISTEN – it’s not only those out in the world who feel this way, I’ve seen people, even people who belong to Christ – people who attend church, people who sing songs of praise - go around this time of year looking like the Grinch and sounding like the scrooge… They are; stressed out, worn out, burnt out and joyed out…

UNDERSTAND - it is my desire this morning to take preventive action, LISTEN – I want this Christmas, I want Christmas 2001 to be the most joyful Christmas that any of us has ever had… This past Thursday night during our Z 46 prayer time, a group of prayer warriors gathered in a candlelight room down the hall, we sang some songs and we prayed that Christmas 2001 will be an incredible, exciting, Christ-centered, joy filled time for the people of Central.

Today I want to give you 6 things that will without a doubt keep ‘mega’ joy in your Christmas – and to help us remember what these six things are, I have come up with and acrostic of the word – GRINCH.

PRAY

OKAY – let’s get started…

G – Give Your Worries To God

Do people ever worry during the Christmas season? Are there things that make people anxious this time of year?

What am I going to buy so & so?

How am I going to pay for all this stuff?

What if they buy me a present and I didn’t get them one?

How am I going to get everything done?

Is it going to be insane when all the relatives come over?

Will uncle Joe act up this year?

Where is everyone going to sleep?

Is going to be safe to travel?

Will I ever find a parking place at the mall?

What if they don’t like what I buy them?

What am I going to preach this year?

UNDERSTAND – worry is one of the main reasons people loose their joy? NOT only during the Christmas season BUT all the time… It’s hard to be joyful when you are stressed out and worried… Worry is:

. Asking “what if” and answering

. Stewing without doing

. Worry Corrie Ten Boom says - “does not empty tomorrow of it’s sorrows, it empties today of it’s strength.”

The word “worry” in the Greek actually is made up of 2 words that mean, “to divide the mind” (merizo, nous). Worry divides the mind between positive thoughts and damaging thoughts. Interestingly our English word “worry” has much the same meaning, it comes from an old Anglo-Saxon word that means to “choke” or to “strangle.” This is exactly what worry does, it chokes our joy, it strangles it. UNDERSTAND - worry is probably the least productive thing you ever do…

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