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Summary: Christmas is a time to make room.

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TOUCH YOUR NEIGHBORS

Luke 2:1-7

S: Evangelism

Th: The Christmas Touch

Pr: CHRISTMAS IS A TIME TO MAKE ROOM.

?: Inductive

KW: Stages

TS: We will find in the story found in Luke 2:1-7 three stages that encourage us to share Jesus by making room for others in our lives.

The ____ stage is the…

I. HISTORY (1-2)

II. HOMETOWN (3-5)

III. HOSPITALITY (6-7)

RMBC 02 December 01 AM

INTRODUCTION:

ILL Notebook: Christmas (swimming pool)

One Christmas season, Janet Teitsort was teaching a group of first graders in public school. They were studying Christmas customs from around the world, so it was an ideal opportunity to tell the Christmas story. She explained that Mary and Joseph had gone to Bethlehem for the census and as they arrived, it was time for the baby Jesus to be born, so they needed somewhere to spend the night. She told her students that when they went to the inn, there were no empty rooms. She compared the inn to a modern-day hotel or motel. And as she was leading up to the stable she asked, "What do you suppose they had behind the inn?"

One little guy, who had been listening intently, began to frantically wave his hand. His face was alight with knowledge, with the answer, "A swimming pool."

Humorous as this is, it does speak a truth to us.

The Christmas story is becoming increasingly less and less a part of the cultural background.

To many, the first hearing of the story brings the most incredible responses.

You see…

1. It is easy to miss the important during Christmas.

This is what is so amazing about the Pilgrimage.

For many, the message is entirely new.

All this time, they have thought Christmas was about gifts, decorations and parties.

2. Unfortunately, there are those that are out of touch with the reality of the season.

Some don’t even want to know the truth.

They would prefer that the religious aspects be removed.

For example…

ILL Notebook: Christmas (Church of Meteorology)

Back in 1991, Dave Barry wrote this in his weekly column:

“To avoid offending anybody, our school dropped religion altogether and started singing about the weather. At my son’s school, they now hold the winter program in February and sing increasingly non-memorable songs such as ‘Winter Wonderland,’ ‘Frosty the Snowman’ and—this is a real song—‘Suzy Snowflake,’ all of which is pretty funny because we live in Miami. A visitor from another planet would assume that the children belonged to the Church of Meteorology.”

It would be funny, if it wasn’t so sad.

Obviously, that is not what we are doing here.

This is the first Sunday of Advent, the time that we anticipate the first coming of Jesus.

And although the Christmas story is already very much on our mind because of the Pilgrimage, it is this Sunday that is our traditional start according to the church calendar.

Which reminds me that you still can get an advent calendar as you go out after the service.

In fact, today is a great day to start with the calendar if you have not already.

This is a tremendous way to keep our spiritual focus throughout the season—because that gets lost so easily this time of the year.

Not only that, you will be coordinated with our theme, “The Christmas Touch” and the messages that will be given from beginning to end.

Using this tool will help us grow together as a church family.

You know…

3. We celebrate today that the story of Christmas has touched us.

Christmas touches our heart and soul.

Jesus has made a difference in us.

He has touched us and changed us profoundly.

So, in order to see how that same touch can effect others, let’s begin our study.

4. Using the familiar passage of Luke 2:1-7, let’s examine three stages that unfold the story of the birth of Jesus.

OUR STUDY:

I. The first stage is the HISTORY (1-2).

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

1. It was time to be counted.

Now, we don’t mean that in the usual sense.

We mean it in the literal sense.

Our author, Luke, gives us historical and chronological moorings to the birth of Jesus.

The birth of Jesus happens in a real place and in a real place in time.

According to Caesar Augustus, it was time for a count.

It was a time for a census.

And they did what was customary in that day and age.

Every family had to return to their hometown for a worldwide census.

But why count?

What was the reason?

Well simply it was this…

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