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Summary: The most perfect love gift ever given was the gift God gave at Christmas – the gift of His Son. To help us appreciate that gift, think for a moment of the Nativity scenes you have probably seen all around at Christmas. They usually feature shepherds and W

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THE LOVE OF GOD

The Stable In Bethlehem

Tells Us Of The Love Of God

The Infant In The Manger

Tells Us Of The Love Of God

INTRODUCTION

Pastor: Choose an introduction that illustrates from your life the fact

that we seek out gifts that say “I love you.”

Shopping for a Christmas gift for my wife is an experience that fills me with a tremendous amount anxiety because I want to find a gift that says “I love you” as meaningfully as possible. It usually takes days and days of seeking as the panic grows inside me that I won’t find it in time.

But one happy year I found the perfect gift on my very first day out shopping. It was a crystal chandelier that fit our new home and matched my wife’s taste in decorating. I was so excited I almost gave it to her before Christmas. The only thing that restrained me was the realization that if I did I would have to go out and search for another gift for her to open on Christmas morning.

That chandelier now brings us lots of pleasure as the crystals capture the sunlight, refract it and send colorful splashes of light all around our dining room and living room. I am still pleased with myself that I found the perfect gift!

Well, it was the close-to-perfect gift.

The most perfect love gift ever given was the gift God gave at Christmas – the gift of His Son. To help us appreciate that gift, think for a moment of the Nativity scenes you have probably seen all around at Christmas. They usually feature shepherds and Wise Men and perhaps a few barnyard animals. But at the center of the scene we always see Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus lying in a manger.

I’d like to use that scene to describe to you the love that motivated the giving of this little boy.

THE STABLE IN BETHLEHEM

TELLS US OF THE LOVE OF GOD

Lk 2:1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

One of the central features to the Christmas story is the Jesus was born to an unwed couple in a stable in a town called Bethlehem. This was a scene loaded with tension and pregnant with truth!

Let’s take a look at that scene in this clip from the movie The Nativity Story.

The Nativity Story

Film Clip Scene 149-152

Mary & Joseph preparing for the birth of Jesus

Let’s think of the tension in that stable that night. First of all, Joseph and Mary were betrothed but not yet married – and yet Mary was pregnant. We are told in the Gospels that Mary was a virgin and that the child in her womb was the creation of God the Holy Spirit. The infant to be born would be the most unique child in all of history – He would be God and man at once. But who would have believed Mary and Joseph when they tried to explain how she became pregnant? The people in their hometown were undoubtedly shocked and this young couple must have been ostracized from the community for their apparent sin.


Talk about it...

Richard Vacha

commented on Dec 14, 2006

I found the entire series to be disappointing. The content of the sermons was "OK," the outlines were consistently "weak," and the video clips that were offered were boring and didn't add anything to my sermons on the Christmas season. I "bought into this package," but as I looked at the sermons and the video clips each week, I found them to have little value. Sorry if I sound negative... but that is my overall evaluation.

Donald Imel

commented on Dec 19, 2006

Jesus' parents weren't unwed you misunderstand the marriage arrangements of the day.

Wesley Wickard

commented on Dec 21, 2006

i am commenting on the sermon "the love of God" - wow - that was very powerful. I found myself with tears in my eyes. You brought out things that one would know are their but would find dificulty in describing. You are a very talented person. Thank You, Merry Christmas.

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