It has been a busy Christmas season.
It started way back in July when a few stores got out the trees and ornaments and a few people who like to get everything done early finished their Christmas shopping in shorts and flip-flops.
The Christmas season continued over Thanksgiving when what used to be a few people has transformed into mobs scouring every inch of every shelf of every store for a bargain.
It finished today, when the last minute shoppers went through the Island of Misfit Toys seeing if there is anything remotely desirable in what is remaining.
Gifts have been purchased and wrapped.
Homes have been cleaned and decorated.
Cards have been addressed and sent.
Meals have been planed and prepared.
All, it seems, is now complete.
And yet, over the course of the last month, amidst all the planning and preparation, have you spent even one minute, one solitary minute, one quiet minute, giving thanks to Jesus for coming? Have you?
In First Samuel God says, “The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (16:7) 2X
We’ve put in a lot of work on outward appearance — how do our homes look? our trees? our gifts? our cards? our outfits tonight? “But the Lord looks on the heart.” How much time have we spent getting our hearts ready for tonight? God wants our hearts to look better than our homes, than our gifts, than our clothes.[Michelle’s birthday – golf, ribs, blues concert
But isn’t that what we do at Christmas?
It’s Jesus birthday, but the questions we ask are:
“How do I want to celebrate it?
What do I want to do?
What do I want for Christmas?”
And we invite Jesus to ride along, while we celebrate his birthday our way.
The questions need to be turned around:
“How does Jesus want you to celebrate Christmas?
What does Jesus want you to do?
What does Jesus want for Christmas?”
Now, I know, if he was in the room it would be different.
If baby Jesus were actually here in this room, a baby wrapped in swaddling cloth lying in a manger right here,
we would all naturally leave our pews, and gather around, and sing and pray and confess and say thank-you, thank-you, thank-you,
thank-you for your coming,
thank-you for your cross,
thank-you for your call on our lives to follow you wherever you lead us.
But he is here. He is here in this room, right now.
So what should you say to him?
How should you respond to him?
What do you need to get off your heart and mind?
I wanted to do a beautiful, nostalgic, heart-warming sermon, but instead I believe God wants us to spend this moment differently tonight.
What does Jesus want for Christmas? He wants your prayer, he wants your affection, he wants your attention, he wants your heart.
Two minutes of silence
Philippians 2:5-7 “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death–even death on a cross.”
Let us pray.
Thank-you Jesus for coming.
Thank-you for not leaving us in ignorance, in sin, in guilt.
O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
oh, come to us, abide with us, our Lord Immanuel!