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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sunday Words of Encouragement December 18, 2016

Our Sunday School teacher provided a summary of how Christmas and traditions came to be. Most importantly he noted that: Before there was sin in man, God provided a plan for redemption (Genesis 3:15). Then he shared the birth of Jesus from the gospel of Luke. This fit perfectly with Pastor’s sermon.

Pastor continued with the Celebrate series for December.
No automatic alt text available.December 4th: Celebrate the Promise.
However many promises there are in the Bible, be it 5000, all are true.
December 11th: Celebrate the Gift.
Today, December 18th: Celebrate the Savior.

Pastor noted that his old home state of Wisconsin is under snow, but we are enjoying balmy 80 degree weather. He and his wife went shopping in Dothan, AL, yesterday and experienced a parking lot along the highway. Next year they will consider shopping online! But, he reminded us,Christmas is not just the festivities – it is much more.

We sometimes under estimate important events and how they will make a change in our lives. When we are young and marry, we might be caught up in the event and may not realize the lifetime commitment that is being made. Most of us did not realize the life changing event of becoming a parent until the doctor placed that howling sweet infant in our arms. When we prepare to purchase a new home, we do not immediately recognize all the hassle of the packing and unpacking, nor do we immediately recognize the permanency that the new home may bring in our lives.

The birth of the Christ child can be like that – an event that is unappreciated or under estimated as to its impact. It is certainly Satan’s goal, and glee, if he can marginalize the reason for the celebration by burying it under festivities and tinsel.

Sermon Point: When we grasp the significance of God's greatest expression of love, we will do more than WELCOME a baby, we will RECEIVE our Savior.

Although many Christmas traditions stem from pagan celebrations, when Constantine established the celebration of the birth of Christ on Christmas day, it was intended to help people focus on a true reason to celebrate. We need to recognize that the birth in a manger was more than the birth of special baby. The event was more than a baby. It was God wrapped in flesh, living among us; fulfilling promises made throughout the Bible (in Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 9:1-7; Micah 5:2). The baby Jesus had one end: to have the sin, guilt, shame and hurt of the world piled on top of him. God moved the stars to announce this special gift. The birth event is a turning point of man's world. But not the birth alone, the live and death of Christ result in an event that changed the world forever.

As much as we should remember baby Jesus on Christmas (the reason for the season) we must go beyond celebrating the baby, and accept Him as Savior. Will we acknowledge and accept our own rebirth to become a child of God? If we have already done so then the best gift we can give to others is to share the joy and the good news off salvation, just as the angels did!

This is a song I had set aside for this season. 
It fits with the message of promise, gift and salvation!
Verses for Today:
John 1:10-14 NIV
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Lord - help me each day to remind others around me, in a gentle and loving way, that 'Jesus is the Reason for the Season.'
I am looking forward to celebrating and worshiping in church on Chrisitmas Morning! Come join us - fellowship at 10am and service (with Christmas carols) at 10:30.!

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