1. Our Greatest
2. Commercial Christmas Stats
3. A Politically Correct Christmas
4. The Unspeakable Gift
5. The "Fear Nots" of Christmas
6. No Vacancy Still
7. The Real Picture
8. Christmas Gift Revelation
9. The Christmas 10 Commandments
10. Christmas Carol Dilemma
Our Greatest Need
If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an
If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist;
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist;
If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer;
But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.
Commercial Christmas Stats
Americans used 28,497,464 rolls and sheets of wrapping paper,
16,826,362 packages of tags and bows,
372,430,684 greeting cards,
and 35,200,000 Christmas trees during the 1989 Christmas season.
Garbage Magazine, quoted in Signs of the Times, 12-1991, p. 7.
A Politically Correct Christmas
To avoid offending anybody, the school dropped religion altogether and started singing about the weather. At my son's school, they now hold the winter program in February and sing increasingly non memorable songs such as "Winter Wonderland," "Frosty the Snowman" and--this is a real song--"Suzy Snowflake," all of which is pretty funny because we live in Miami. A visitor from another planet would assume that the children belonged to the Church of Meteorology.
Dave Barry in his "Notes on Western
Civilization" (Chicago Tribune Magazine, July 28, 1991)
The Unspeakable Gift
Long ago, there ruled in Persia a wise and good king. He loved his people. He wanted to know how they lived. He wanted to know about their hardships. Often he dressed in the clothes of a working man or a beggar, and went to the homes of the poor. No one whom he visited thought that he was their ruler. One time he visited a very poor man who lived in a cellar. He ate the coarse food the poor man ate. He spoke cheerful, kind words to him. Then he left.
Later he visited the poor man again and disclosed his identity by saying, "I am your king!" The king thought the man would surely ask for some gift or favor, but he didn't. Instead he said, "You left your palace and your glory to visit me in this dark, dreary place. You ate the coarse food I ate. You brought gladness to my heart! To others you have given your rich gifts. To me you have given yourself!"
The King of glory, the Lord Jesus Christ, gave himself to you and me.
The Bible calls Him, "the unspeakable gift!"
The "Fear Nots" of Christmas
In the Christmas narratives, there are several "fear not's."
1. The "fear not" of salvation: "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings...which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10,11).
2. The "fear not" of the humanly impossible: "Fear not, Mary:... the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee:...For with God nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:30, 35, 37).
3. The "fear not" of unanswered prayer: "Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John" (Luke 1:13).
4. The "fear not" of immediate obedience: "Joseph, thou son of David,
fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife :.. Then Joseph ... did as the
angel of the Lord had bidden him" (Matthew 1:20,24).
No Vacancy Still
Those words, "There was no room for them in the inn," remind me of an experience my family had several years ago. We had been traveling all day, and I was trying to find a motel where we could spend the night. It was getting late, and the children were tired and fidgety. As we drove along the highway, our hopes were dashed time and again by the sight of NO VACANCY signs. As a father, responsible for the well- being of my family, I was frustrated and discouraged. But then I thought of Mary and Joseph. How much worse it must have been when they arrived in Bethlehem and found no rooms available! I can imagine Joseph pleading with the manager of the inn, telling him of Mary's condition and their desperate need for a suitable place where she could give birth to her child. Luke tells us that "there was no room for them in the inn," and that when Mary gave birth to Jesus she "wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger."
Today, nearly 20 centuries later, millions of people have no room for
Jesus. Although they participate enthusiastically in the festivities of
the Christmas season, they keep Him out of their lives. The "No Vacancy"
sign is there. .
The Real Picture
During the long war years a boy looked frequently at a picture of his daddy on the table. He had left when the boy was a young infant. After several years the boy had forgotten him as a person but he would often look at the picture and say, "If only my father could step out of that picture and be real...."
Christmas means that in a sad day of sin when man had almost forgotten God, He stepped into the world in the form of His Son.
-- Pulpit Helps
Christmas Gift Revelation
In his book Dare to Believe, Dan Baumann illustrates the unique experience of knowing that something is ours, yet longing to enjoy it more fully. He explained that at Christmas time he would always do a lot of snooping, trying to find the gift --wrapped presents and figure out what was in them.
One year he discovered a package with his name on it that was easy to identify. There was no way to disguise the golf clubs inside. Baumann then made this observation: "When Mom wasn't around, I would go and feel the package, shake it, and pretend that I was on the golf course. The point is, I was already enjoying the pleasures of a future event; namely, the unveiling. It had my name on it. I knew what it was." But only "Christmas would reveal it in its fullness."
The glories that await the Christian defy our comprehension. What we
can grasp about them, however, fills us with great anticipation. We look
longingly to that day when we shall enjoy heaven in all its fullness.
The Christmas Ten Commandments
The following item appeared in a church newsletter and contains some good advice that will help us keep selfishness in check this Christmas:
I. Thou shalt not leave "Christ" out
of Christmas, making it "Xmas."
To some, "X" is unknown.
II. Thou shalt prepare thy soul for Christmas. Spend not so much on gifts that thy soul is
III. Thou shalt not let Santa Claus replace Christ, thus robbing the day of its spiritual reality.
IV. Thou shalt not burden the shop girl, the mailman, and the merchant with complaints and
V. Thou shalt give thyself with thy gift. This will increase its value a hundred fold, and he who
receiveth it shall treasure it forever.
VI. Thou shalt not value gifts received by their cost. Even the least expensive may signify love,
and that is more priceless than silver and gold.
VII. Thou shalt not neglect the needy. Share thy blessings with many who will go hungry and
cold unless thou are generous.
VIII. Thou shalt not neglect thy church. Its services highlight the true meaning of the season.
IX. Thou shalt be as a little child. Not until thou has become in spirit as a little one art
thou ready to enter into the kingdom of Heaven.
X. Thou shalt give thy heart to Christ. Let Him be at the top of thy Christmas list.
The Christmas Carol Dilemma
A lady who served on many civic committees, asked to select carols
suitable for a community Christmas-tree lighting, sought the help of her
pastor. When she scanned the list he had selected, she exclaimed
in dismay, "But they're all so theological."