Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

Somehow, the calendar has continued to advance at a steady pace and we find ourselves (already!) at December 24th.

Our church will have three services today.

I'm doing the children's message at the first service.

Here is my timed 4 minute draft:

Unwrapping the Nativity

Each year at Christmas, our family brings out our old Nativity set. What does Nativity mean? It means someone's birth. In this case we are talking about the birth of Someone very special. I'm sure you can guess who.

Each year, the old familiar stable and the fragile and worn pieces tell us the amazing story of that first Christmas long ago.

Let's unwrap each piece, shall we?

1. The angel.

The angel had the very important and exciting job of announcing the coming of Jesus. First, he told Mary:”Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with GOD. You will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.“

Then the angel went to Joseph: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife. She will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel – which means 'God with us.'”

And then, the angel told the shepherds, “ Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy for all the people. Today in Bethlehem a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”

2. Mary

Mary was very surprised to be visited by an angel. Wouldn't you be? But even though he gave her some very unexpected news, she responded with these words, “I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said.” She praised the Lord and rejoiced in God her Savior.

3. Joseph.

Joseph was also very surprised to be visited by an angel in a dream and to be given the news of Jesus' birth. But when he awoke from his dream, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

4. Baby Jesus.

Now, He is the most important One in the story isn't He? Mary and Joseph had to go to the little town of Bethlehem. While they were there, the town was very crowded with lots of other people. There was no room for Mary and Joseph to stay in any homes or inns (an inn is like a motel); but it was time for her to give birth to her baby boy. The only place they could find was a place where animals lived. Mary wrapped her baby, her firstborn son in strips of cloth and placed him in a manger, where animals eat, because there was no room for Him in the inn.

5. The shepherds

were out in the fields keeping watch over their flocks at night when the angel appeared to them with the fantastic news that Jesus was born. And then the sky was filled with angels saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”

After the angels left, the shepherds said to one another, “Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they did. After they found Him in the manger, they spread the word about this child.

6.The wise men

saw a star and traveled to come worship Jesus. They followed the star until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. When they saw the child they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. These might not be what you asked for Christmas, but they were very valuable presents.

And now, our nativity is all unwrapped. We have told the most remarkable and amazing True story – of a young couple, of angels, shepherds and wisemen.

And of a baby, born to be our Savior. His name is Jesus. Immanuel. God with us.

You will be unwrapping some presents soon. And that is lots of fun, right?

But remember what the greatest present is?

JESUS - The greatest gift of all.

I will likely go off script and have some interaction with the kids.  This is both fun and scary, because as Art Linkletter said, " kids say the darnedest things".

I have one little Down's syndrome boy who is fascinated with my brace.  He, much to his mother's dismay, grabs my arm, asks me why I fell, and kisses my incision.  It is so sweet and will make for a very interesting service if he is there today.  :)

We are definitely experiencing a white Christmas.   White and so beautiful.  We have a great view out every window.

Have a very blessed, Christ centered Christmas!

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