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Summary: There are three reactions to the Christmas story given ion this Scripture.

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WHAT REACTION DO WE HAVE TO THE CHRISTMAS STORY?

How do we respond to God coming to us?

Matthew 2:1-12

Washington, DC -- In December of 1944, General George S. Patton summoned his Third Army Chaplain into his office and asked him to write out a prayer for good weather. Patton’s ground troops had been hampered by rains and fog so dense that combat soldiers could see only a few feet ahead of them. Tanks were becoming mired in the mud and the air force could not see enemy targets. The Nazis were poised to win a major victory against American forces. Army Chaplain Msgr. James O’Neill eagerly took on the challenge of writing a prayer for good weather that day. What has come to be known as the "Patton Prayer," goes like this:

Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations."

Patton quickly approved this prayer, and he ordered 250,000 copies to be printed on cards and distributed to every soldier in the Third Army. The prayer cards were safely distributed by December 14. On December 16th, the Nazi broke through American lines and appeared to be headed for victory. Yet on December 20, less than a week after the prayer cards were handed out, the weather cleared and the fog dissipated. For more than a week--Christmas week--thousands of American planes flew bombing missions against Nazi positions. The tide of battle was turned!

When General Patton was discussing the importance of prayer with Chaplain O’Neill, he told him that military operations depend upon plans, hard work, and prayer. But, noted Patton, "…between the plan and the operation there is always an unknown. That unknown spells defeat or victory, success or failure. It is the reaction of the actors to the ordeal when it actually comes. Some people call that getting the breaks; I call it God. God has His part, or margin in everything. That’s where prayer comes in."

In December of 1944, God answered the prayers of hundreds of thousands of soldiers as they faced fog, rain, and an evil Nazi war machine. Prayer changes things!

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ this Christmas season, all Americans should give thanks for those soldiers who fought--and many who died--during that bitter winter in France. And we should all thank God that He chose to answer General Patton’s weather prayer.

THREE RESPONSES TO THE CHRISTMAS STORY AS GIVEN IN THE BIBLE;

I. THERE WAS A KING WHO WAS TROUBLED. Matthew 2:3 “When King Herod and all Jerusalem heard about this, they became troubled, uneasy.”

A. Herod when he heard there was a new king he realized that his being on the throne was in jeopardy.

B. Because he was troubled it says that all those around him were troubled. Do you know how you affect others when you walk into the room?

C. He was so upset that he made an order to have a mass killing of all Jewish boys who were two years old or younger. He was afraid of a baby. He died they shortly after this great killing. This baby that he had heard of could not have taken over as a ruler until he had grown up. So why was he so troubled with a baby?

D. There are many today who are troubled with the Christmas event.

1. They see one who wants to take over the control of their lives and be on the throne taking away their selfish desires and fail to grasp He is a Savior from the sin in our lives.

2. They see One who wants to take over as lord of their lives and fail to see a loving Guide who will give them peace in their lives.

3. They see one who requires that they become disciples and that they have to take up a cross and fail to see One who knows what is best for them and wants to lead them with joy in their life

There was once a king who offered a prize to the artist who could paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures, but there were only two that he really liked, and he had to choose between them. One picture was of a calm lake. The Lake was a perfect mirror for the peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace. The second picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell and in which lightening played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the king looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest.... a perfect picture of peace. Which of the pictures won the prize? The king chose the second picture. Do you know why? "Because," explained the king, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.

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