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SCRIPTURE- ST. MATT. 1:23                                           DECEMBER, 1994

BEHOLD, A VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD, AND SHALL BRING FORTH A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME EMMANUEL, WHICH BEING INTERPRETED IS, GOD WITH US.

SUBJECT - CHRISTMAS, IT'S MORE THAN COMMERCIAL

As I think about the coming holiday, I look around at all of the publicity, that goes along with it. First, there is the big Thanksgiving day parade, which ushers in, Santa Claus. Then there's all of the special store hours, and the sales, which both the store, and the consumers look forward to. Then, of course, you have the credit card companies, and the banks, advertising low rates on loans and charge cards. It is a time, when the whole focus on this holiday, Christmas, seems to hinge on one thing, and that is, the stores, banks and credit card companies, making money, and the consumers, spending money.

The stores say, that the money they make during this holiday season, makes up about 45% or higher, of their entire annual sales. On the other hand, consumers, abandon common sense, when it comes to financial matters, and put themselves into debt, that will usually last past the next Christmas.

The whole point is, while Christmas is a time of giving, it is also a time to realize, that without the greatest gift of all, being given to us by God, there would not be a Christmas. That gift, was God, Himself, giving us a chance to be redeemed from a fate, worse than death. He gave us, His only begotten Son. He wrapped Himself, in a fleshly body, and entered this life, through a virgin, by the name of Mary.

Have you ever wondered why it is, that around Christmas, the demeanor of many people changes for the good? Why there is a higher incidence of people, giving to charities? Why so many of us begin to feel something special, down on the inside? We want to express it with gifts and such. Families, that argue all year long, come together during this season, to heal wounds, and make a new start. Even some of the criminal element, seems to get into the act. But, it is not an act, it is a spirit.

You see, money, even though it is nice to have, can't take the place of what a person is feeling on the inside. It can't be used as a barometer, to gauge how much love a person has in their heart. We have the mistaken belief, that the more money a person spends on us, the more they love, or care about us. Companies, count on this fact, to make their money. "Show that special person, how much you love them. This ring, is the perfect gift, only $500.00." "Your child, will know that you really love them, if you give them this toy. It only costs, $200.00." The guilt trips, that people can lay on you, are innumerable. This is why so many of us, go out and get into all types of debt, buying things that we can't afford, to give to people, that we wouldn't ordinarily, want to give the time of day to. We know that they don't deserve it, but we do it anyway. Why? That's the spirit of Christmas. Going out of our way, to show how nice we can be.

Well, God did the same thing for us. He gave us all He had, even though we didn't deserve it. We were alienated from Him. We were His enemies. We didn't deserve, Him leaving His throne in Heaven, and coming down here, to be subject to all of the trials and tribulations, that we face, in this flesh. Yet, that is just what He did, because that is how He felt about us. He wanted to do it. And it wasn't because we were so good, or we laid a guilt trip on Him. It is simply because He is the epitome of love. Love is what got Him to do what He did. And it is not the type of love, that can be bought, by giving money. God's love for us, goes far beyond what we can begin to imagine. And it was expressed, on the day Christ was born.

The announcement of the birth of Christ, was the beginning of the fulfillment, of a prophecy, that dated all the way back to Adam and Eve, when God, cursed the serpent, and told him that the seed of the woman, would bruise his head, ... . It was the beginning of God's plan of redemption. It was the beginning of a plan, that was put in place, before man was even created.

There is a lot to the celebration of this day. This day, represents the beginning of yours and my salvation. Going out, and buying a lot of presents, getting into debt, and running the risk, that the person you give it to, may not even use it, and may even return it, is missing the whole point to this day.

The biggest shame about this, is that in a sense, God has given you a gift, and you are not even taking advantage of it, if you are not saved. The gift is there for you to receive. What are you going to do? Let it stay there, reject it, or receive it. It is all up to you.

Receiving it, is just a matter of saying a simple prayer, and meaning it from the heart. You can be saved, if you will simply repeat this prayer, meaning every word, from the heart. "JESUS, I AM A SINNER, AND I AM SORRY FOR MY SINFUL WAYS. WILL YOU COME INTO MY HEART, AND CLEANSE ME FROM ALL MY SIN, AND BE LORD OF MY LIFE. I ACCEPT YOU AS LORD AND SAVIOR, AND WITH YOUR HELP, I WILL LIVE MY LIFE FOR YOU. I BELIEVE THAT YOU WERE BORN OF A VIRGIN, THAT YOU DIED ON THE CROSS FOR MY SINS, AND WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD, FOR MY JUSTIFICATION." Congratulations!!! You are now saved. The next thing you should do, as an act of your obedience to Christ, is to be water baptized, in Jesus' name, and seek the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which will empower you to live the life God wants you to live. But, as of right now, your eternal destination is secure.

So remember, Christmas, is a lot more than commercial. It is quite frankly, a matter of life, and death. Yours.


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