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Summary: Today we will open the awesome gift of love! This message comes from a series from Sermon Central, I want to acknowledge them for their help on this series

INTRODUCTION

• SLIDE #1

• What would Christmas be without Christmas music?

• Let’s do a little participation exercise.

• I will read a phrase from a Christmas song, and you TRY to guess the song.

• We’re snuggled up together like two birds of a feather would be. (“Sleigh Ride”)

• When we finally kiss goodnight, how I’ll hate going out in the storm. But if you really hold me tight, all the way home I’ll be warm. (“Let It Snow”)

• Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree won't be the same, dear if you're not here with me. (“Blue Christmas”)

• Please have snow and mistletoe and presents under the tree. (“I’ll Be Home for Christmas”)

• Mistletoe hung where you can see every couple tries to stop. (“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”)

• In the meadow, we can build a snowman and pretend that he is Parson Brown. He'll say are you married, we'll say no man. But you can do the job when you're in town. (“Winter Wonderland”)

• Let’s try one more, and I will give you a hint, the song title is the same as the lyrics.

• All I want for Christmas is you. (“All I Want for Christmas Is You”)

• Do you notice a theme here?

• What holiday I the glory hog when it comes to love, who gets the glory?

• Valentine’s Day may get all the glory for being the holiday of love, but it’s pretty clear that Christmas holds a corner on the market as the season of love and romance.

• In the “2014 American Wedding Study” conducted by Brides magazine, researchers found that 19 percent of all engagements occur in December, making it the most popular month to get engaged.

• And can you guess what day is the most popular to pop the question? Statistics show that Christmas Eve is the most popular day for engagements.

• Sorry, Cupid, more people get engaged on Christmas Eve than on Valentine’s Day.

• Data released by Facebook last year showed that Christmas Eve is the most popular day to get engaged, followed by Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and then Valentine’s Day.

• Depending on where you find yourself concerning romantic relationships at the moment, all this love in the air can bring happiness and expectation or loneliness and isolation.

• Either way, too much focus on cuddling in the cold and meeting under the mistletoe can blind us to the real love story of Christmas.

• The challenge for us all not to miss the true story of love this season. This is the love story that has been written for all of us. The story of true, faithful, eternal, sacrificial love. God's love in sending Jesus is the one love that changes everything.

• There is nothing wrong with celebrating love during this time of the year, because, at the root of this season, we find the theme of love.

• God did what He did because He loves humanity.

• Love has been the story of God from the beginning.

• When God created Adam and Eve, He loved them, when they sinned, God still loved them, and He provided a way for us to be saved from the ravages of sin.

• God showed His love by saving Noah and his family from the flood and giving them a new start.

• In the Old Testament God gave the commandments and law in love as a way for His people to atone for their sin and stay connected to Him.

• His love turned the world inside out when He sent His Son to live among us—the God of the universe to be born in a stable, die on the cross, and rise again from the grave. It took love to disrupt and overturn the power of death and evil.

• The story is not about a feeling though.

• It's God's story of love in action—how the God of the universe loves you so much that He left everything to be with you, to sacrifice His life that you could be with Him.

• This love is the second gift of Christmas that we’ll unwrap this Advent season.

• Last week we lit the candle of hope on the Advent wreath. We talked about hope past, present, and future as we looked at a few prophecies about Jesus’s coming, were challenged to place our hope in Him amid the trials of life and were reminded of the hope still to be fulfilled when He comes again.

• Today we light the candle of love. Advent is a season for rediscovering the coming of our Savior—and for gaining an even greater understanding of how wide and long and high and deep His love is for us. This is the gift we unwrap today.

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