Summary: We are almost there - to experiencing the heart of Christmas – to experiencing a miracle laying in a manger, to being touched by the Spirit of Christmas so don’t give up, don’t try to speed it up the miracle, instead cherish the moments that lead up to th
Opening Video Illustration: Christmas gifts
Series: Simply Christmas
Our goal in this series is to challenge all of us to simplify Christmas and get back to what makes Christmas a matter of the heart – which simply is experiencing Jesus the one born in a stable, laid in a manger, and wrapped in swaddling clothes. This baby came to fulfill a divine mission from God to Love this world, to die for this world and in the end to save those who believe. You cannot experience the heart of Christmas without Jesus.
Thesis: We are going to simplify Christmas this year, which, means we want to encourage you to make it simpler or easier for you to do and experience! We desire you to cherish every moment of this season with your church family, your own family and with friends and even strangers. We also want to help you refocus and understand Christmas’ true meaning so you enjoy the season with peace and joy.
Thought: Simplify means to simplify our lives so we can enjoy the season of Christmas with joy and peace – it means make it simple – less complicated and to make sure we cherish every precious moment of it with others and especially with Jesus spirit.
Scripture: Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
Thought: The heart of Christmas is rooted in love – in Jesus – in those cherished moments which happen today, tomorrow and up to Christmas day --- the challenge is to simply cherish every one of these moments in life while we still have them.
Sermon 2: Simply Christmas: Almost There
Thesis: We are almost there - to experiencing the heart of Christmas – to experiencing a miracle laying in a manger, to being touched by the Spirit of Christmas so don’t give up, don’t try to speed it up the miracle, instead cherish the moments that lead up to this life changing day.
Illustration: How well are you at waiting for the big day – Kathy was always impatient especially toward the end of her pregnancy and trying to speed up the birth of our children. I recall one older person told her to take castor oil because it will make the baby come faster --- so she took it for all three of our children - the stuff tasted gross but it worked 2 out of 3 times the baby came within 24 hours.
By the way I am not sanctioning this method for early baby arrivals!
I believe anticipation can be a good thing, it’s the act of looking forward to something special. Learning to cherish every moment up to it.
Video Illustration: Classic Heinz Ketchup commercial with song anticipation.
I love to see the anticipation, the longing from my grandkids for Christmas – the twins were asking for certain Christmas presents in July, even making their list – checking it twice - they talked about it, planned for it, asked for certain specific gifts and it seemed to drive them forward to experience Christmas in July, it seemed to energize them with great anticipation for Christmas which was still many months away – would you agree with the thought that anticipation makes you more excited about an event?
Some adults have been experiencing the anticipation for Christmas for many weeks – right?
Illustration from staff Christmas party —- Share story of kids opening presents early in secret in the Beadle home and others saying they did it as kids. By the way I never did!
In our Christmas Story (the real story not the one on Fox) there is great anticipation revealed through our main characters to finally meet Jesus Savior of the world face to face:
I am sure Mary wanted Jesus born sooner than later - What do you think?
Joseph had great anticipation about Jesus being born as I could imagine.
The Shepherds once the Angels appeared to them in the fields had an anticipation to go meet the Savior of the World.
The wise men had an anticipation to follow the star to behold the King of Kings and traveled for a long time and a long way by camel to experience this baby Savior.
Simeon and Anna had anticipation to meet the Savior of the World – God in the flesh and spent years in the temple waiting for that special day.
How is your anticipation level – is it nothing – stirring somewhat – rising more each day – is it steaming – is there great excitement to meet the heart of Christmas?
T.S. - Let’s look at a few Scripture narratives today about the Christmas Story and see the anticipation and maybe get some excitement ourselves for this Christmas.