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Getting The Message

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Text: Luke 2:8-20

Introduction:

Some people just never seem to get the message.

I.           The Message of Christmas Is Conveyed.

A. In The Midst of the Mundane

*  An ordinary night with ordinary sheep and ordinary shepherds. And were it not for a God who loves to hook an "extra" on the front of the ordinary, the night would have gone unnoticed. The sheep would have been forgotten, and the shepherds would have slept the night away.

   But God dances amidst the common. And that night he did a waltz.

   The black sky exploded with brightness. ... Sheep that had been silent became a chorus of curiosity. One minute the shepherd was dead asleep, the next he was rubbing his eyes and staring into the face of an alien.

   The night was ordinary no more.

   The angel came in the night because that is when lights are best seen and that is when they are most needed. God comes into the common for the same reason.

   -- Max Lucado in The Applause of Heaven. Christianity Today, Vol. 41, no. 14.

B. Unexpected Glory

   "It seems, then," said Tirian, ... "that the Stable seen from within and the Stable seen from without are two different places." "Yes," said Lord Digory.  "Its inside is bigger than its outside." 'Yes," said Queen Lucy.  "In our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world."

   -- C.S. Lewis in The Last Battle (The Chronicles of Narnia).  Christianity Today, Vol. 36, no. 15.

II.     The Message of Christmas Is Communicated.

A. Universal Address

*   At the 7:00 service, a little girl came out an pulled on my robe, and I said, "What can I do?" She said, "It's for you, Dr. Harrington." I said, "What?" and she had a little note. I opened it up, and it said, "I love you." Well, it made my Christmas Eve. "It's for you"--very personal. While the love of Christ is for the world, it's also for you and for me.

   -- W. Frank Harrington, "The Love That Brought Him," Preaching Today, Tape No. 51.

B. Salvation Given

*   A little girl was sitting on Santa Claus' lap.  She gave him a

whole list of expensive toys which she wanted for Christmas and then

without a word of appreciation, she jumped off Santa's lap and started

toward her mother.  Her concerned mother spoke quickly, "Honey,

haven't you forgotten something?"  The little girl thought for a

moment, then said, "O, yes."  Then turning back toward Santa, she

shouted, "Charge it."

   God has already "charged" our sins to His Son and has paid the debt

in full.  What more could you ask for at Christmas?

C. Joyous celebration

* A poor little street-girl was taken sick one Christmas, carried to

a hospital. While there she heard the story of Jesus coming in the

world to save us. It was all new to her, but very precious. She could

appreciate such a wonderful Savior, and the knowledge made her very

happy as she lay upon her little cot.

   One day the nurse came around at the usual hour, and "Little

Broomstick" (that was her street name) held her by the hand, and

whispered:

   "I'm having real good times here -- ever such good times! S'pose I

shall have to go 'way from here just as soon as I gets well; but I'll

take the good time along -- some of it, anyhow. Did you know 'bout

Jesus bein' born?"

   "Yes," replied the nurse, "I know. Sh-sh-sh Don't talk any more."

   "You did? I thought you looked as if you didn't, and I was goin' to

tell you."

   "Why, how did I look?" asked the nurse, forgetting her own orders

in her curiosity.

   "O, just like most o' folks -- kind o' glum. I shouldn't think

you'd ever look glum if you know'd 'bout Jesus bein' born."

--- George Kulp

III.          The Message of Christmas is Confirmed

It isd not enough that the message of Christmas is true, it has to be true for us. If it is true for another, but not for me, what difference does it make.

A. In Exploration

The shepherds went to see if the Christmas message they had heard was true. They traveled to Bethlehem, But part of the miracle of Christmas, was God had come to meet them.

*A woman missionary in the South Pacific Islands was explaining to a group of children the custom and significance of giving gifts at

Christmas.  "Giving gifts," she said,"expresses love and reminds us of the perfect gift of love we received from God:  Jesus."  Later that week, a young native boy came to the missionary's side and said, "I love you and want you to have this."  He pulled from a straw basket the most beautiful shell the missionary had ever seen.  As she admired its beauty, she recognized it as a special shell only found on the far side of the island, a half day's walk from the village.  When confronted by this, the boy smiled and said, "Long walk part of gift!"

   God "walked" 2000 years with his people before sending the gift of Jesus.  And he has walked 2000 more years expressing the significance of Him!

B. In Experience

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." 2

Corinthians 5: 17 When a young man left home for his freshman year of college, his mother was concerned that he wouldn't keep his dorm room in order. So when she visited him at Thanksgiving, she was not

surprised to find his room in total disarray. Papers and books were

scattered all over the place. But what shocked her the most were the

obscene pictures hanging on the walls. At Christmas time she sent her

son a box of presents, including a portrait of Jesus. He thanked her

for the gifts but didn't say anything about the picture. In the spring

when she visited the school again, her son was eager for her to come

to his room. Upon entering, she found on the best wall space the

picture of Christ. All the other pictures were gone. Wisely she said,

"Jack, there is something different about your room. Did you get a new

rug?" "No." "Is this new paper on the wall?" "No." "When I was here

before, it seemed to me you had more pictures than now." "Yes, I did,

Mother, but those other pictures all seemed out of place after that

one of Jesus came into the room."

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