Summary: Calling the church to embrace the Holidays in such a way that imitates the behavior of our Heavenly Father in the Christmas Story.
So This is Christmas
Sunday AM – Lynn Haven – 12/23/07
• The Meaning of Christmas
• Calling the church to embrace the Holidays in such a way that imitates the behavior of our Heavenly Father in the Christmas Story.
B. Right on the verge of Christmas…
1. Making sure we have all the presents wrapped up…
2. Making double sure we have all the ingredients we need for our Christmas dinners
3. Making those final preparations for family guests.
C. And as we think about Christmas today, what does Christmas mean to us?
3. Tradition? Or Pageantry?
D. All of these are good. We shouldn’t necessarily feel guilty about these values…
1. But Christmas itself stands for more important values… yes, even more important than family.
2. It’s not that those values are unimportant.
3. But they are the outgrowth of other values… values that are sometimes buried in the mound of presents under the tree & are forgotten in the hustle of getting everything prepared.
4. Let’s look at some of these Christmas values from Scriptural perspective…
I. God Celebrates
A. When Jesus is born in Bethlehem, God throws a party.
1. Just look at Luke 2…
a. He lets loose the angelic choir…
1. He can’t hold them back.
2. This is a time for joyous song!
b. And he lets this angelic choir perform before a group of Shepherds
1. He invites them to the stable to come visit His Son.
c. He unleashes a new star
1. He leads the three wise men to the scene so that they can visit the new King.
2. God is throwing a party here!
B. I’m not sure what it is about us, but for some reason our fellowship has had a difficult time with the Christmas Holliday.
1. And we’ve been inconsistent.
a. We seem to have no problem celebrating our nation’s birthday in July, but celebrating the birth of Jesus has been somewhat taboo in our fellowship
b. We have no problem celebrating when it comes to marking birthdays or anniversaries, but when it comes to remembering Christ’s crucifixion we shy away from marking that holiday.
2. And some in our faith even get cantankerous on this issue, to the extent where it becomes a point of contention.
C. But I think that it’s perfectly legitimate to look at Scripture, see God celebrating, and accepting the invitation for us to celebrate right along with him.
1. And that’s what it is: An invitation to celebrate.
a. An invitation to come and adore Christ.
b. An invitation to find peace, joy, and good news.
2. God celebrates, and calls us to celebrate with Him…
Trans.: Another Christian value of Christmas that gives us a sense of meaning is that…
II. God Cares
A. He cares…
1. God is compassionate & sympathetic to the human condition to such a degree that he’s willing to stoop down to help us.
2. God cares.
B. We see it throughout Scripture.
1. When God’s people are in bondage in Egypt, at the end of Exodus 2…
The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 24God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 25So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.
2. And later, when Israel makes it to the Promised Land & has problems, they continue to cry out to God for help, and He faithfully came to their aid.
3. And when the time was right & humanity was at its fullest need, God cared enough to stoop down to help his creation again.
C. And just as much as God cares, He calls us to care.
1. This is a season where we crawl outside our comfort zones & care for others in need.
2. If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to do something big and something kind for someone within your sphere of influence.
a. Maybe you know a family that doesn’t have much, and you could play Santa Claus for that family.
b. Or maybe you know someone who will be alone for Christmas, and you can adopt them & invite them to be a part of your family for the Holiday.
c. Or you could volunteer at the Rescue Mission, or at a retirement home, or any number of places where people are perpetually in need.
3. It’s the season of compassion. And if we’re going to call ourselves Christians, and stand up for the right to say “Merry Christmas” & not just “Happy Holidays,” then our actions during this season ought to line up with the true values of Christmas.