Here we are just a few days before Christmas 2012. This is a time when there is usually a magic in the air, an excitement for friends, family and good cheer. Usually, that is the case – but not this year. No, not this year. Something happened, and as a result the giddy joy is gone. We have suffered a great loss. A few short days ago, an unimaginable crime was committed and 27 people, 20 of them 6-and 7-year old children, had their lives taken from them, brutally and without mercy. Today we honor their memory and recognize the pain of their grief-stricken families and friends. Today we also search to find how the hope of the true meaning of Christmas can give us – all of us - strength to cope, strength to stand, and strength to begin to move forward.
Christmas is here! It is the time for celebration and food and decoration and gifts and parties and time off from work and football and TV specials and Christmas songs and holiday cheer and holly and mistletoe and shopping and spending money and Santa Claus and elves and snow!!! Whew! By the way, if you can put all of that aside, it is really the time for deep heartfelt thankfulness, for it is the time that we give honor to the birth of the most important, most courageous, most loving, most wise and most humble man to have ever lived. The man Christ Jesus – our savior and Lord! Stay with us for a VERY SPECIAL two hours of praise and thanks!
Yesterday was Christmas – or for some it was a winter holiday that was all about some jolly old man from the North Pole bringing presents to all the kids. There were lights, decorations, trees, gifts, food, family, fun and football – and everyone presumably had a good time. The only thing missing? Jesus, the real reason for the season! He may have been out of the loop in a lot of places yesterday, but I can assure you, Jesus has been found and will be heard about for the next two hours! Stay with us as we look at and celebrate the Real Christmas - its drama, its inspiration and its hope. This morning we will present a six-chapter story to you about Jesus’ birth and the events that surrounded it.
Humans are emotional beings. As this is the case, we want things – we don’t just have an instinctual magnetism towards certain things, we truly desire them. The Tenth Commandment said, “Thou shalt not covet.” Does this mean that the seemingly inborn trait to desire is wrong – against God’s Law? If it is wrong, then why is it built into each of us? Stay with us as we try to truly understand human “coveting” and the role it plays – or doesn’t play - in our Christian lives.
Well, the day has come and gone. We got to once again experience Santa and reindeer, decorated trees and candy canes, presents, food, family, football, music, the trimmings, the trappings, the Grinch. Now that it is all said and done, let’s look back for a few minutes. In our celebration of Christmas, did we really celebrate the truest meaning of the day, or was that put aside? Well, we want to make sure the “reason for the season” was not forgotten – so, sit back, relax, and walk with us as we focus on the Real Christmas!
It is just a few more days until the biggest holiday of the year – you know the day of which I speak – it is the holiday that either will make or break the retail year-end numbers. It is the holiday that inspires 25 consecutive days of specials on network television. It is the holiday that converts small children into aggressive consumers, teaching them to carefully itemize their wants. You know the holiday – the one where you can run into trouble by talking about its true meaning, because somehow or other, it is deemed politically incorrect. So, we talk about Santa Claus and focus on Santa Claus as the symbol of giving rather than focusing on Jesus Christ, who is the embodiment of giving. On this program we will be politically incorrect and focus on Jesus, because He IS the reason for the season!
The thing I like most about Christmas is-_______! Well, what is it? Is it the season of winter and the skiing , skating and snowboarding that comes with it? Is it the holiday spirit of brotherhood generosity and giving that comes with it? Is it shopping and the sales, excitement and the new things that come with it? Is it time off and the parties vacation and leisure that comes with it? Is it the Christmas tree and the decorations, trimmings and presents that come with it? Is it family time and the meal desserts and camaraderie that come with it? What about Santa and the elves, reindeer and TV specials that come with him? Did I leave anything out? Did we capture all of the greatest things about Christmas that exist? Stay with us as we look at the simple, humble and profound reason for the season, a reason so compelling that it has life changing implications. Oh, by the way, it’s not on the list!