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How to Assemble a "Merry Christmas"

By Rev. Shelton Cole

Baptist Church Planting, Mesa, AZ

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Text:   (Luke 2:8-20)  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. {9} And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. {10} And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. {11} For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. {12} And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. {13} And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, {14} Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. {15} And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. {16} And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. {17} And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. {18} And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. {19} But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. {20} And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Introduction:  There are certain Christmas' that you can remember distinctly because of where you were.  There are certain Christmas' that you can remember because of what you received.  There are also certain Christmas' you can remember vividly because they were surrounded with unique (not always good) circumstances.  Such is the case with a certain Christmas when we were in Missouri at Bible College.  I remember it so well because I was so sick with the flu that missed Christmas dinner with my sister and her family.  Christmas, alas, does not wait for you to get well.  Like "the show" it must go on.  I remember lying on the couch waiting for my wife to come home from work and trying to assemble 3 desks and 3 big wheels.  I would sit up and screw a few screws in and then lie down to rest.  I would sit up read more of the instructions, then run to the bathroom.   Back and forth, slowly but surely, I assembled a Merry Christmas for my son's.

The Christmas season comes upon us so quickly and unassembled in the way that we are to make it Merry.  Like many of the bicycles and toys that parents have struggled to assemble to assure a Merry Christmas for their children, I am glad that Christmas comes with a book of instructions too!  When all else fails, read the instructions.  Here is my idea of how to assemble a Merry Christmas.

Theme:  How to Assemble a Merry Christmas:

I.  First, follow the instructions and discover the  main part.

(Luke 2:15-16)  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. {16} And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

     A.  A Merry Christmas begins with a baby in a manger.

The most unlikely place to find a   Merry Christmas for some.  This is no  ordinary baby.

(Luke 2:11)  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

              1.  The baby was born to die - Savior
              2.  This baby was the anointed one - Christ
              3.  This baby is Lord of all - Lord

     B.  A joyous celebration cannot be found at that   Mall or a
            party or even under a tree.  The   main focus of
            Christmas must be sought  carefully and diligently.
             He is found at   a lowly stable in Bethlehem.

Theme:  How to Assemble a Merry Christmas:

I.  First, follow the instructions and discover the  main part.

II.  Second, get someone else to help you  celebrate.

(Luke 2:17)  And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

    A.  No time of the year is more profitable for soul- winning
        than Christmas.  The whole reason   for the season is
        found in the birth of Christ.    The shepherds increased
        their joy by spreading the good news of Jesus' birth.

     B.  Keeping Christmas to ourselves will rob us of   the
        greatest opportunity we have to discover   true joy and
        truly have a Merry Christmas.

Theme:  How to Assemble a Merry Christmas:

I.  First, follow the instructions and discover the  main part.
II.  Second, get someone else to help you  celebrate.

III.  Third, take time to think it through

(Luke 2:18)  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

    A.  The commercialism of Christmas is not in the   fact that
            we buy gifts or decorate buildings.   The
            commercialism of Christmas is that the   true meaning
            gets lost in the hustle and   bustle of adding to the
            season things that   distract us.  The message was plain
            by those shepherds that night and it stuck wonder in the
            hearts of those that heard   their tale.

Note:  Taking time and reading the story of the first Christmas and listening to the Word of God can assure one of a "Mary" Christmas.

    B.  Take the time to sit, relax and meditate on the   wonder
            of the true story of Christmas.  If by focusing, listening
            on the Word we can    recapture the true meaning of
            Christmas, we will indeed have assembled a Merry
              Christmas.

Theme:  How to Assemble a Merry Christmas:

I.  First, follow the instructions and discover the  main part.
II.  Second, get someone else to help you  celebrate.
III.  Third, take time to think it through.

IV.  Fourth, don't throw anything away!

(Luke 2:19)  But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

Illustration:  Have you ever looked at the finished product and compared it with the picture on the box?  They do look similar but if not constructed carefully there will be tale tale differences that will be evident in the copy.  If you try to skip steps, the parts left over testify of a sloppy job or bad instructions.

     A.  First, we understand "kept" to mean that she
             remembered the events of that night and the   things
            connected to the birth of the Savior.    She meditated
            on those things.  Every detail   that surrounds
            Christmas is important and   must not be forgotten.  If
            it is lost then our   Merry Christmas is just a poor
            facsimile of   the original.

     B.  Secondly, "kept" here can also signify "to observe to
            celebrate".   As we observe the   Christmas season, lets
            center our traditions   and celebration around the things
            that remind us of that blessed event.

Illustration:  A tradition in our house was not to leave cookies and carrots out for Santa Claus but we had a Happy Birthday Jesus Cake and sang to our Savior the familiar song.  Before we opened gifts my father would calm us and focus us on the Christmas story by reading it from the Bible.
Theme:  How to Assemble a Merry Christmas:

I.  First, follow the instructions and discover the  main part.
II.  Second, get someone else to help you  celebrate.
III.  Third, take time to think it through.
IV.  Fourth, don't throw anything away!

V.  Fifth, don't stop until the job is done.

(Luke 2:20)  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Note:  A Merry Christmas just begins in December.  It continues the whole year through for a Christian.

    A.  The shepherds returned to their job and their
             responsibilities with a different attitude.     They
            worked the rest of their shift somewhat   differently.
            They may have gone back to the   same boring job but
            they were not the same   men.  The joy of the first
            Christmas had    changed them.

     B.  Have you allowed Christmas to make a    positive
            difference in your life?  Do you    return to work after
            the holidays, praising   God for the gift of his Son and
            rejoicing in a   merry Christmas?

Conclusion:

These five steps to assemble a Merry Christmas are clear but they are not always easy.  It takes some effort to put together a Merry Christmas.  It took some effort on the part of the shepherds and Mary.  If you have had trouble assembling a Merry Christmas in the past, why not stop and read the instructions this year.

"What A Night"

That night when in the Judean skies
The mystic star dispensed it's light,
A blind man moved in his sleep
And dreamed that he had sight.

That night when shepherds heard
The song of hosts angelic choiring near,
A deaf man stirred in slumber's spell
And dreamed that he could hear.

That night when o'er the new-born babe
The tender Mary rose to lean,
A loathsome leper smiled in sleep,
And dreamed that he was clean.

That night when in the manger lay
The Sanctified who came to save,
A man moved in the sleep of death,
And dreamed there was no grave.

Selected.
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