Summary: Have you ever had a day that was so special, so filled with wonderful things, that you wished time could stand still & that day last forever? Mary must have experienced that the night when Jesus was born. (PowerPoints available - #281)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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TEXT: Luke 2:15-19
A. Have you ever had a day that was so special, so filled with wonderful things, that you wished time could stand still & that day last forever?
ILL. Maybe it was when you got your first bicycle. Do you remember the sense of freedom you enjoyed, feeling the breeze in your face, riding as fast as you dared? Maybe that was a moment you never wanted to end.
Maybe it was when you first fell in love, & experienced that emotion which no one can completely describe. Your head was spinning, & you couldn't see clearly, but it was such a wonderful feeling that you wanted it to last forever.
Maybe it was when you got married & the two of you stood together, looking to the future with all its promise & challenges. You knew that somehow it would all work out just fine because you really loved each other.
Maybe it was some special Christmas when you went to grandma's house, & the rooms were filled with such love & joy. That memory still lingers on, & you never want to let it go.
B. Well, in a few days it will be Christmas again, & children have been waiting anxiously for it to come. Do you remember that feeling? You waited & waited, & it seemed like it would never get here.
Then it finally does, & it's rather sad because in just a few minutes you unwrap all the gifts, & all the surprises are revealed, & it's over. Dec. 25th ends & time marches on.
We can't stop time, can we? Sometimes we wish we could, but we can't. One day follows another, & one week, one month, & one year. But there are certain things we can hold on to, certain things that time cannot take away.
Mary must have experienced that the night when Jesus was born. Now, Mary probably didn't want to remember everything that happened. Some of it was unpleasant. But memory has a wonderful way of screening out unpleasant things & preserving the pleasant ones.
The journey had been a hard one for Mary. She & Joseph were traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem. The last day especially had been long & her body was weary, & she was beginning to experience labor pains.
Finally, they arrived in Bethlehem & went from place to place seeking someplace to stay. But there was no room for them anywhere.
Then they were told of a stable, a very humble place where animals were sheltered from the elements. But it was better than nothing. It was a place where they could rest. Then the labor pains intensified & soon the child of promise, this very special baby, Jesus, was born.
Well, you know the story. You know about the shepherds on the hillside, the announcement by the angel, & the heavenly host glorifying God. And you remember these familiar words of Luke 2:15 19.
"When the angels had left them & gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem & see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'
"So they hurried off & found Mary & Joseph, & the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, & all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
"But Mary treasured up all of these things, & she pondered them in her heart."
The shepherds leave, & Mary holds the child in her arms. As she looks into His face & ponders all that had happened that night, she must have thought, "I wish time could stand still. I wish I could hold Him & love Him like this forever."
Yes, there are moments we wish we could hold on to forever. But such is not our privilege. However, there are Christmas treasures that we can keep. And Luke mentions that in vs. 19 when he writes, "But Mary treasured up all of these things, & she pondered them in her heart."
PROP. So I would like for us to think this morning about some treasures that we can keep, Christmas treasures that time cannot take away.
I. WE MUST DECIDE OUR PRIORITIES
A. But before we can consider the treasures, we need to consider our priorities. You see, I think that one of the hardest things we face in life is to determine what is really important to us.
There are so many voices vying for our attention, so many differing philosophies saying, "This is what is really important."