Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Best Part of Christmas


"Good morning! I'm grateful you're here this morning," Brad said warmly on this frigid December morn.

1.Please join us for the Christmas program today at 4:00 p.m.... Leonard will be making a meal and you're invited to bring a dozen Christmas cookies.
2. Youth group will be going to see the Hobbit this Wednesday. Be here at 6:00 p.m.
3. The food items and gifts we have gathered for our "adopted family"

Brad began the service by having all the young people come to the front to listen as he read the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke. The lighting of the third Advent candle followed.

Chuck, Ken and Darlene led us in worship, beginning first with All Is Well and Master of the Wind. We then joined in on a trio of Christmas hymns.

An offering was taken followed by a time of prayer.

The Best Part of Christmas

Brad began with Proverbs 19:21

The Roman kingdom was so extensive, the Caesar ruled the known world. He was known as the king of kings. And in 27 B.C. he was declared Caesar Augustus. It was glory in the highest and peace on earth... The Pax Romana created a network of safe roads. And at a moment of time, this king made a decree.

This decree set in motion seemingly insignificant events with incredibly significant ramifications. A poor family from a small town called Nazareth travelled over rough terrain to Bethlehem.

Interestingly, Brad asks which king really moved the world to make this happen. Was it Caesar? Or did another, higher King set this in motion?

Often, we ourselves live life as if we are kings, and forget that many times things have been set in motion by a higher King.

Brad then cited the story of Yertle the Turtle, a king who wanted to expand his glory because he would be king of all he could see. So he built a kingdom on the backs of his subjects. Literally. His vision continued to expand and made him feel marvelous, until one day the turtle on the bottom burped, a small little thing with big consequences. As a result the mud became all that king could see.

So it is with the Christmas story. Caesar was king over all the known world. The Roman empire stretched far and wide. Then one day, a little package came into the world. It was a very small thing, but the consequences for this world have continued far beyond the glory that was Rome.

We all have the same kingdom problem. We want to control our sphere, our kingdoms. When we get stressed about things not going the way we want, and even angry and frustrated. Often it is because another's will has crossed our will. But who's will is it?

"Many are the plans of a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that will prevail."

There went out a decree, but the Lord was the one who had His own plan, and God was up to something that would make the angels sing. Yes, the angels sang and the heavens rang, because God, the infinite God, wrapped Himself in swaddling clothing, and became finite, confined in the body of this little tiny baby.

He who occupied the entire universe would have to learn how to walk.

It's staggering to think of it... He created the universe, yet would now have to learn how to talk. He will get cuts and bleed, will get the flu in flu season.

In the incarnation the eternal God confined Himself to space and time. God would have to learn to wait.

The eternal God would also learn submission. He would have to learn how to obey others, His parents, authorities.

He went from king to living in poverty. He was a carpenter's assistant. The incarnation is a riches to rags story.

The angels watched as the God who knew perfection would experience being despised and rejected. He took on our worry, fear and loneliness. He took on our guilt and our sin. He took on His shoulders the sins of the world.

These weren't the best things though. These things were all wrapped up in the Incarnation. The Word became flesh. The Eternal came in time. The Infinite restricted himself to a body. Omnipotence became weakness. Perfection came to carry our sin. And yes, these were all amazing things. But what really amazed the angels, what really amped them... The best part is this.... He came for you. He came for you. He came knocking on your door one day... for you.

"And we beheld His glory."

This is what makes Christmas Christmas. "My peace," He said, "I give to you."

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