Sermons

Summary: What’s this season all about anyway? Consider what it would be if Jesus had not come. Even our Calendars reflect the coming of the Christ.

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Charles Broadrick sent me this list of things that feel good to experience or just think about:

Laughing so hard your face hurts.

No lines at the Super Walmart.

Getting mail from a friend.

Taking a drive on a pretty road.

Hearing your favorite song on the radio.

Lying in bed listening to the rain outside.

Hot towels out of the dryer.

The smell of pine trees in the forest

A good conversation.

A walk on the beach.

Finding a $20 bill in your coat from last winter.

Running through sprinklers.

Having someone tell you that they love you.

Accidentally overhearing someone say something nice about you.

Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep.

Making new friends or spending time with old ones.

Having someone play with your hair.

Sweet Dreams.

Swinging on swings.

Winning a really competitive game.

Making chocolate chip cookies.

Spending time with close friends.

Seeing smiles and hearing laughter from your friends.

Holding hands with someone you care about.

Watching the expression on someone’s face as they open a much desired

present from you.

Watching the sunset.

Seeing the full moon.

Getting out of bed every morning and thanking God for another beautiful day.

Luke 2:1-20

Every year at this time of year most of us get busy decorating and shopping. We plan family gatherings and eat more than we normally do. It’s all part of a tradition that goes a long way back. Most well loved traditions become embellished with time. Sometimes the embellishments completely hide the original meaning. I heard about a very wealthy man who’s wife died. He wanted to build a burial place for her body to honor her. It was to be a fabulous building. As the months passed the man became so engrossed in the building project that he forgot why he was building it. Sometimes embellishments just confuse the meaning. I saw a manger seen recently with Santa Clause looking over the baby Jesus.

Another manger scene had all the characters as animals. Even the baby in the manger was a baby animal. I guess if you don’t believe in Jesus, that might be attractive, but personally, I don’t think that is even cute.

Have you ever stopped to think and appreciate why we have this season? I grew up being warned against celebrating Jesus birth at Christmas. There are scriptures that remind us of the dangers of observing special holy days: Paul wrote to the Galatians…

Gal 4:9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.

The Galatians here are seeking righteousness by going back to observing the Old Testament feast days and Sabbaths, and Paul sees this as an abandonment of the Christian faith. These verses have been applied by some to condemn the celebration of Jesus birth, particularly at Christmas. A careful look at these verses makes that application unfounded. It’s hard to say what Paul would say about the way we do Christmas today based on these verses. I’m not so sure he would have as hard a time with the celebration of Jesus birth as he would some of the other embellishments of this season. Mythical matters that have not truth at all, do these have a place in the Christian life while Jesus birth is not to be celebrated?

In another place Paul instructs: Rom 14:5 One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind.

6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 7 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

Col 2:16 Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-- 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Later in that same letter God’s word says: Whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the father through him. 3:17.

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