The week between Christmas and New Year’s has long been claimed territory on my calendar for goal setting. In the weeks previous, I’ve jotted down general ideas for goals for the New Year, but on this week, I prayerfully finalize these goals.
The wise men followed a very special star to the land of Israel asking, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews?” When they found Him in Bethlehem, they came worshipping and gave Him valuable gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh that no doubt sustained the family when they escaped to Egypt.
It’s amazing to me that during such a wonderful time of year as Christmas—a celebration that is so significant to our faith—there are Christians who don’t benefit from the season. It’s incredible that we are willing to settle for “getting through” it rather than celebrating it and benefiting from the focus on Christ.
A Tale of Two Cities is a famous novel written by Charles Dickens in 1859 to contrast life in Paris with life in London during the time of the French Revolution. With sales of about 200 million, A Tale of Two Cities is the biggest selling novel in history. Dickens began the famous novel with the oft-quoted line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
As our family gathers for Christmas each year, we read the Christmas story. Actually, we read part of the Christmas story. We don’t include the genealogies found in either Matthew 1 or Luke 3. But these 32 verses are part of the Christmas story. In fact, they are a significant enough part that God included them in our Bibles.
In truth, we serve a God of miracles (hello, just read Luke 2), but our tendency when peering into the future is to predict it based on the rate of past progress. We pray desperately for God to do what we can’t, then we rise from our knees, look at the date the prayer request was first entered, and sigh. “Not gonna happen, at least anytime soon,” we feel, even if we don’t say.
It’s a strange thing about Christmas. We celebrate Jesus’ birth, and we use the celebration to further our efforts in sharing the gospel. But somehow we seem to easily lose focus this time of year more than any other.
Christmas is coming! It is the most wonderful time of the year! Even the unsaved are singing about the Lord! During this season, you are able to freely say, “Merry Christmas,” to everyone you meet! Use this season to tell of the Reason for Christmas.
Christmas Is a Great Time for Extra Outreach Opportunities
Be sure that every student is included (we usually include all those three years old through the sixth grade). If children do not have an individual speaking part, they should be part of a choir or a group saying verses.
Thoughts on Presenting the Gospel Gift This Christmas
One of the blessings of the Christmas season is people’s openness to talk about Jesus. In my experience, it’s one of the best times of the year in terms of tender hearts and responsiveness to gospel invitations in the community.
Lessons from the Angels That Announced Christ’s Birth
In the Bible, although angels were used by God for a variety of purposes, the primary use was to deliver a message. In fact, the very word “angel” means “messenger.” Webster’s 1828 Dictionary further defines an angel as, “One employed to communicate news or information from one person to another at a distance.”
Don’t make the mistake of enjoying the wrapping of Christmas—activities, time with family, gift exchanges, traditions—without enjoying what is behind the wrapping—the gift. Quite simply, Jesus is the gift of Christmas. And, with Paul, we exclaim, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
Sermon outline: This is an abbreviated outline with the complete sermon downloadable at the bottom of the post. Luke 2:14 has been called the first Christmas poem. I don’t know that it was sung (verse 13 used the word “saying”), but it is certainly worthy of our attention. There we see the angels glorifying God at the birth of the Saviour. There is no envy present in their carol of praise, no tinge of jealousy, no desire for the attention that belongs to Christ and Him alone.
God’s Guidance Will Save Us from a Life of Disaster
We were looking forward to getting back to our home in Indiana for the Christmas season. As an evangelist, I look forward to those times spent off the road with family and friends. Our last meeting was in northern Wisconsin the second week of December. Snow had already covered the ground, and temperatures were well below freezing. It was easy to get into the Christmas spirit.
According to research, if you were to buy all 364 items mentioned in The Twelve Days of Christmas, you would have spent $114,651 this year. That’s up 6.9% from 2012. And if you waited until the last minute and had to buy all these items online, the price would rise to approximately $173,000. Christmas is getting rather pricey.