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Summary: CHRISTMAS IS GOD WANTING TO BE WITH YOU! To go with you to your work, to your house, to be a part of every aspect of our lives. God yearns for relationship, fellowship with us.

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THE REAL MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

INTRO HUMOR: CHRISTMAS FIREMAN

1. A man visited a small Mississippi town. There was a "Nativity Scene" that showed great skill and talent had gone into creating it. One small feature bothered him.

2. The three wise men were wearing firemen's helmets. Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, I left. At a "Buckee’s" on the edge of town, he asked the lady behind the counter about the helmets.

3. She exploded with consternation, "You Yankees never do read the Bible!" He assured her that he did, but simply couldn't recall anything about firemen in the Bible.

4. She jerked her Bible from behind the counter and ruffled through some pages, and finally jabbed her finger at a passage. Sticking it in his face she said,

5. "See, it says right here, 'The three wise man came from afar.'"

I. NATIVITY READING: Luke 2:1-20

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.

4So 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. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and 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.

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word…18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

II. THE REAL MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

A. GOD WANTS TO BE WITH US

1. “LETTERS FROM GOD.” Signboards posted around the country with short messages, signed by God. One says, “’Please Call Home,’ God.”

2. If people knew how close to the heart of God that is!

3. The incarnation of Jesus is a profound mystery; so is God sending His Son to the Cross. Both of them were acts of love motivated by the heart of God.

4. CHRISTMAS IS GOD WANTING TO BE WITH YOU! To go with you to your work, to your house, to be a part of every aspect of our lives.

5. God yearns for relationship, fellowship with us.

B. EXAMPLES OF GOD’S EFFORTS TO BE WITH US

1. We see the desire of God in the Garden of Eden. God met with Adam and Eve at a set time every day. When their sin cut off relationship with them, He came looking for them, saying, “Adam/Eve, where are you?”

2. The O.T. Temple and sacrificial system made it possible for God to actually live among His people Israel. “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 2 Cor. 6:16.

3. Even Heaven/ New Jerusalem is all about God being with us. Rev. 21:3, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.’”

C. JESUS WAS BORN TO DIE

1. John 3:16

2. The whole reason Jesus came to Earth and was born was to live a sinless life and then to die on the cross for our sins as an atoning sacrifice, as a substitute for you and I on the cross.

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