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Summary: What is the true spirit of Christmas? To do good, be rich in good works, and to give generously to others. When we do this, we will experience abundant joy.

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THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS: BE RICH, DO GOOD AND GIVE GENEROUSLY

INTRO TO TOPIC: DEEP QUESTIONS OF THE UNIVERSE:

What is the meaning of life? What is God like? Can a leopard change its spots?

How do they get the caramilk into the caramilk bar? And – what does the fox say?

But – what is Christmas all about? AUDIENCE RESPONSE.

• I love Christmas – it’s my most favourite time of the year. Family memories.

• Survey in our Christian club: top three answers: presents, a Christmas tree, and snow!

• Is this what Christmas is all about?

• This morning I want to talk to you about the spirit of Christmas!

THE FIRST CHRISTMAS: “Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11).

• The first Christmas happened 2,000 years ago when Jesus was born!

• It was a celebration of JOY: “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”

• However, why is it that many people don’t experience that joy today?

KEY TEXT – THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS:

“Tell those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone. But their trust should be in the living God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give generously to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may take hold of real life.” (1 Tim. 6:17-19).

• In Canada, we don’t think we’re rich, but the truth is, we’re all rich.

• The last time I felt rich was at the age of 16 when I got my first paycheque from McD’s.

• If you own a car, you’d be considered rich by most people in the world.

• If you have an iPhone; bought a new one even though the old one still works, you’re rich.

• If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

• If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

• The point isn’t ‘yahoo, we’re rich’, but what are we going to do with it?

• More than 1 billion people do not have access to safe water!

THE BIG IDEA: What is the true spirit of Christmas? To do good, be rich in good works, and to give generously to others. When we do this, we will experience abundant joy.

I. DO GOOD:

Jesus said: “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” (Luke 6:27-28).

• This is a radical statement! It kind of makes you stand up and say, “Huh?”

• Jesus tells us to pray for those who curse us – I have a hard time praying for those I love!

• Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for evil to prosper is that enough good men do nothing.” The Bible talks about “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, who went about doing good…” (Acts 10:38).

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: How can we do good? AUDIENCE FEEDBACK

1. Bless People. Never pass up an opportunity to pray for someone.

2. Simple Acts: A kind word, hug, smile or a simple hello can mean so much!

3. Walk in Forgiveness: We’re coming to the end of the year. Let go of past hurts and offenses and start the New Year with a clean slate!

II. BE RICH IN GOOD WORKS: (Message Bible = be rich in helping others).

“To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.” (Luke 6:29-30).

• Jesus adds: “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” (Matt. 5:41).

• Turn the other cheek, go the extra mile – this is RICH in good works!

JOHN THE BAPTIST PREPARING PEOPLE FOR JESUS:

“And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.” (Luke 3:3-4).

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