Summary: We have many symbol and methods that we use to celebrate Christmas. Where did the originate? This sermon attempts to look at Christmas throught the eye of someone who doesn’t know what it is and show us the Christ has to be the focus of Christmas
What Would ET See?
I. This morning I am going to re-write a movie. Let’s suppose that you were a character in the movie ET. Do you remember that one?
A. The movie about the ugly but lovable space alien that strayed too far from the ship and got left behind.
B. Let’s suppose that you were the person that ET ended up with when he was left on Earth.
C. And that you found ET in your storage building, and since we live in Texas we will also have to write into the script that you didn’t shoot the little burglarizing midget that you found, because that would make the story short.
D. But, lets say that you found him and you didn’t shoot him, and after you overcame the complete fear of finding something like that, and totally abandoned all sense of sanity you took this little creature into your house.
E. But, at this point we need to make a major change, because our ET is going to come at Christmas time. Lets say that he came on Dec 22nd.
F. So you take ET into your house, and as you walk in he sees all these things that he doesn’t understand, and starts asking questions.
G. The first thing that he would probably notice since he is not from around these parts would raise a question something like, why is there a dying evergreen tree with lights and shiny stuff on it in the middle of you living quarters?
1. So what would we tell him. Do you know how we came to have Christmas trees?
2. Well there is a big debate about all that. There is a story that the Christmas tree tradition was started in Germany about 700 AD.
3. Some say that the tradition began in when St Boniface, who converted the German people to Christianity, was said to have come across a group of pagans worshiping an oak tree. In anger, St Boniface is said to have cut down the oak tree and to his amazement a young fir tree sprung up from the roots of the oak tree. He took this as a sign of the Christian faith. But it was not until the 16th century that fir trees were actually brought indoors at Christmas time.
4. Some people say that Martin Luther was the first to light a Christmas tree and he did it with candles. He hadn’t been to fire safety school.
5. Others say that the Christmas tree was something that came to be when the Pagans of the Roman empire became a part of the church when Christianity became the official religion of the Rome.
6. And there is definitely evidence in the bible to show that pagans worship trees, and made them idols.
7. The Christian traditions about the Christmas tree say that the evergreen tree represents everlasting life that comes with salvation, and that the tree’s pointed top, that is aimed at heaven symbolizes that everlasting life comes from God.
8. There is no way for us to know exactly how the Christmas Tree came to be, or if Paganism had anything to do with it or not. I believe that if it symbolizes everlasting life to us, that there is nothing wrong with having a Christmas tree, but it shouldn’t be the focus of what Christmas is.
9. Oh, and if ET was to ask you why there is a star on top of the tree, the star is suppose to represent the star that appeared over the stable when Jesus was born.
H. Well if we have ET straight about the tree now, I’m sure that we will have to explain all the brightly wrapped boxes under it.
1. Tradition says that we give gifts at Christmas, because the Three Wise men brought gifts to Jesus.
2. Christmas is about giving because it is suppose to be the celebration of the greatest gift that has ever been given, and that was God giving His son to us as the gift that would bring salvation.
3. The Christmas celebration among some people was a solemn affair though. Religious puritans reminded Christians that the Magi gave gifts only to Jesus, not to His family or to each other.
4. In the 4th Century AD, a very shy man named St. Nicholas, was a Christian leader from Myra (in modern-day Turkey). He was very shy, and wanted to give money to poor people without them knowing about it. It is said that one day, he climbed the roof of a house and dropped a purse of money down the chimney. It landed in the stocking which a girl had put to dry by the fire! And you can fill in the rest yourself.