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Summary: A message about the pressures of the Christmas season and how to stay focused on Jesus.

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5, December 2004

Dakota Community Church

Who Is Getting You This Christmas?

Introduction:

Every year about this time people start or finish the Christmas present buying extravaganza.

Kids make lists of what they want to be getting for Christmas.

In some families everyone draws a name to help cut expenses.

Most people do spend some time wondering about what they will be getting for Christmas.

While you are wondering about what you are getting have you stopped to consider the fact that someone is hoping to get you.

Four who are hoping to get you this holiday season:

1. Anger is hoping to get you this Christmas.

The Christmas season offers many opportunities to give ourselves to anger.

- Putting up the lights and decorating the tree. (Heavy Costco ornaments)

- Fighting traffic.

- Trying to obtain sold out gift ideas.

- Going broke, credit card maxing lineup embarrassments.

- Visiting relatives and house guests.

- Weight gain

It can be a stressful time of year if you allow it to be and stress often erupts into anger.

There have always been people who react in anger to the arrival of Christmas.

Matthew 2: 16

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

Compare that to the response of the shepherds and the magi.

Luke 2: 15-20

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen which were just as they had been told.

Matthew 2:1-2

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

They responded in faith and with worship, they left everything to see Jesus.

Are you going to give yourself to anger this Christmas?

Proverbs 16: 32

Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.

Proverbs 22: 24-25

Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.

Anger is a snare, it is a trap, it is hoping to get you this Christmas but you do not have to give yourself to it. The fruit of the Spirit is peace and patience – you decide how it will be.

Christmas - It’s not about you

2. Greed is hoping to get you this Christmas.

Illustration:

Just a few days before Christmas, a postal worker at the main sorting office found an unstamped, handwritten, messy envelope addressed to God. Curious, he opened it and discovered that it was from an elderly woman who was in great distress because all of her savings—$200—had been stolen. As a result, she wouldn’t have anything to eat for Christmas.

The man went to his fellow postal workers and took up a collection for the woman. They all dug deep and came up with $180. Putting the money in a plain envelope, with no note or anything, the postal workers sent it by special courier to the woman that very day. A week later, the same postal worker noticed another unstamped letter that had been addressed to God in the same handwriting. In it, he found a brief note:

Dear God, Thank you for the $180 that you sent me for Christmas, which would have been so bleak otherwise. P.S. It was $20 short, but that was probably those thieving workers at the post office.

Question:

Can you enjoy celebrating the birth of Christ without the commercial insanity?

Christmas is not the only thing that is being ruined by commercialization.

- Hockey (All sport)

- Farming

- The Church

Human greed is not new and was not even absent from the ministry of Jesus.

John 12: 1-8

1Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

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