Summary: This sermon is about being "home" for Christmas by Having HOPE in the Messiah!

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Last year at this time, I was busy talking about making the trip home to Ohio for Christmas! Home, as in where I grew up, the place of my roots. And

I recall reflecting about how Joseph and Mary had to make that trip to Bethlehem, the city of David, to the place of the lineage of Joseph a direct descendant of King David.

Of course most of us know that sometimes going home at the holiday’s isn’t always as pleasant as it sounds. There is the strained relationships; the cousins you don’t care if you will see them for years; that embarrassing aunt or uncle you never wanted your fiancée to meet until after the wedding vows were said; facing that mother that you know will start mothering you as soon as you arrive; or that father who will give you that disapproving look of your life’s choices. Yes the trip home to the place where you grew up is not always an easy one.

It sort reminds me of the story of a man in Phoenix who calls his son in New York and says, "I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your

mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough. "Pop, what are you talking about?" the son screams. "We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer," the old man says. "We’re sick of each

other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her," and he hangs up. Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. "They’re not getting divorced if I have anything to do about it," she shouts, "I’ll take care of this." She calls Phoenix immediately, and screams at the old man, "You are NOT getting divorced. Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back, and we’ll both be there tomorrow.

Until then, don’t do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME? Don’t do a thing" and hangs up.

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. "Okay," he says, "They’re coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own fares...Now what do we tell them for Christmas?

Maybe there is a hassle sometimes about going home. No doubt we encountered it last year in the ice storm. But there is something about being. Last year

I concluded by saying that being home, is about being home with Christ!

"Home is really what or where you make it!". To us, Junction is our home. It has been our home for four and a half years. But that is our physical home,

but what about being home in the Spirit? Being right at the manger with Christ as King.

II. Anthony grew up in an Italian bakery in a mostly Italian neighborhood of New York. His father was the baker, and as long as Anthony could remember he

was at work in his father’s business. The sights and sounds of the bakery permeated every aspect of Anthony’s life. The heat of the oven. The smell of

fresh bread. The sweat and aches of hard work. The whistle of his father while he baked. The stories of his immigrant father’s dreams being realized

in a new land.

What Anthony came to know each day was the HOPE of those dreams being fulfilled. He dreamed of one day INHERITING the business from his father and

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