Summary: Discusses the Biblical people who missed the miracle of the first Christmas and applies these principles to how people miss Christmas’ true maning today. Illustrations from Sermon Central contributers are incorporated.

Have you ever missed a great opportunity? The story is told of a small resort area along the east coast that was having an open town meeting concerning some financial problems they were facing. Among the two dozen or so people was one man no one seemed to know who was apparently visiting the area and had just dropped in on the meeting. He started to make a comment as various projects were considered but he was interrupted; so for the rest of the time, he kept still and finally left early.

Just as he went out, someone arriving late came in and said breathlessly, "What was he doing here? Is he going to help us out?" The rest of them said, "Who are you talking about? Who was that man?" The person who had just arrived said, "You don’t know who that was? That was John D. Rockefeller." That night, they missed an incredible opportunity because THEY DIDN’T KNOW WHO HE WAS.

We miss some incredible opportunities because we don’t recognize them when they’re right in front of our face. Andy Stanley made the statement in his book "Visioneering" : "We don’t need to pray for more miracles, we just need to be more sensitive to the opportunities that God brings our way."

The story is told of a shoe salesman who was sent by his company to test the African market. After being there only 2 weeks, he sent word back to America, "Please bring me home, nobody wears shoes over here."

The company brought him home and sent another salesman to replace him. In a couple of weeks, the second salesman sent word back to America saying, "Please send me all the shoes you can because nobody here has shoes." OUR ATTITUDE AND PERSPECTIVE HAVE A LOT TO DO WITH WHETHER WE EMBRACE OR MISS THE BLESSING.

Today, I want to look at the people in the Bible who missed that first Christmas and how we can be sure not to miss it this year.

THE INN KEEPER - (Life too crowded for Christ)

Text: Luke 2: 1 - 7, "In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And everyone went to his own town to register. 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. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 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."

Hotels today love to brag about being the luxury-get-away of the stars. Here in Kentucky, both Garrard County and Jessamine County claim to be the home of John Michael Montgomery. (He lived in both counties for a while) Hodgensville proudly calls itself the birthplace of Lincoln. Imagine the story the inn keeper could have told if only he had known who it was that came to his inn seeking refuge. I can see the sign he would advertise with for years to come: "Come stay in the #1 hotel chosen by God Himself."

But why did the inn keeper miss this incredible opportunity? His inn was too full with other guests. Some people today miss the true meaning of Christmas because our life is too full of "other stuff." Shopping, visiting with relatives, mailing packages, office parties, baking and cooking for get-togethers, etc.

I heard about a man who was busy with his Christmas shopping. He bought his wife a beautiful diamond ring for Christmas. A friend of his said, "I thought she wanted one of those sporty 4-wheel drive vehicles." The man replied, "She did. But where am I going to find a fake Jeep?"

Don’t miss Christmas in the midst of all the "stuff" that crowds the season.

1) "We plan to go to church regularly when life calms down a bit for us."

2) "Well, my kids have ballgames on Sunday afternoons."

3) "I’ll get to church after it gets to cold to golf/fish."

4) Many of us would get serious about our relatinship with Christ if we weren’t preoccupied with careers, managing families, chasing goals and dreams, materialistic pursuits, etc.

Like the inn keeper, if we’re not careful, we miss the true message of Christmas because our lives are too crowded.

TOWNSPEOPLE OF BETHLEHEM - (Too indifferent to take notice of Christ)

Text: John 1: 10 - 12, "He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God."

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