Notes from Sermon on December 11, 2011
What Does Christmas Mean to You?
The season of Christmas has come to mean stress, cost, commercialism, and seasonal sorrow mingled with holiday cheer. The further from the manger we move the more we find the significance and meaning of Christmas buried by the hustle and bustle of the holidays. We in the Christian family are not immune. My prayer for myself and for you is that together this Christmas season we will—like the shepherds and wise men of antiquity—make it to the manger, and find there what they found. Peace…Presence…and Purpose… Please join us on the journey.
My Post December 1st on Enhance the Romance (FB Group): Did you make it out early on “Black Friday?” Have you been taking advantage of the cyber-specials all week? Are closets and “secret places” filling up with bags and boxes? Have you made your list and checked it twice? This is at once a terrific and a terrible time of year. It is no wonder that increased stress leading up to Christmas and all the holiday festivities claims countless families each year as people move from celebrating with each other to snarling at each other. I urge you to work diligently at maintaining unity and love in your family and with your special someone this year. My encouragement is this–and I’ll be sharing more about this in other avenues coming up-together may all of you “MAKE IT TO THE MANGER” this Christmas, because that’s an incredible place of peace and purpose.
Why It Matters to Me
I have had the opportunity to do some really amazing things of late – once in a lifetime things.
· Steven Curtis Chapman story-time Concert
· Meet Dr. David Jeremiah – a preacher hero of mine
· Meet and get picture with President George W. Bush
· Go to a Monday Night Football game with the Patriots
-These were all REALLY COOL things that mean a lot to me
-None of them CHANGED MY LIFE
-Making my way to the Manger—meeting Jesus—that is LIFE CHANGING!
There are two stories of two groups who demonstrate for us the powerful change that can happen when we “Make it to the Manger.”
Luke 2:1-20 – The Shepherds
Matthew 2:1-12 – The Wise Men
MAKE IT TO THE MANGER TO FIND PEACE – The Shepherds
“Peace on earth…”
Israel had a History of Conflict and Conquerors for Centuries
· I Wonder if we Have Conflict and Conquerors in our Lives Today
o Busy-ness – The Crush of the Rush
o Problems – Dysfunction and Destruction at home and in life
· Can Making it to the Manger Bring us Peace Today?
MAKE IT TO THE MANGER TO FIND PRESENCE – The Wise Men
Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (10)
· Their World had no shortage of Rulers
o Caesar Augustus – Emperor of Rome
o Quirinius – Governor of Syria
o Herod I – King of Israel
· The Wise Men Traveled a Long Way to Make it to the Manger
§ Ok – I know they probably didn’t actually get to the manger…
§ They did finally stop to ask for directions though.
o They found what they had long searched for – The King
§ Consider – These men came from Persia, what would today be known as modern Iran – oh how far that nation has fallen from where they once were.
· Entering into His Presence Brought a Response
o They Bowed
o They Worshipped
o They Gave
· What Impact does Making it to the Manger have in Your Life?
MAKE IT TO THE MANGER TO FIND PURPOSE – Shepherds, Wise Men, Us
· Having Made it to the Manger these two Groups Leave with Purpose
o Imagine encountering any of the shepherds on their way through town.
o Imagine bumping into the Magi caravan headed back to Persia
o What do you think was on the forefront of their conversation
· If We have Made it to the Manger—Life Changing
o Has it made a difference in how we
§ Talk? Walk?
· If You haven’t Made it to the Manger – Will you come to Christ Today?
o Find Peace
§ He Can Make a Difference
o Find Presence
§ He is Available to You
o Find Purpose
§ He has a plan—let Him Lead