How to have a Great Christmas, without Covetousness!
DATE: 12 Dec, 2004 AM PLACE: BBC Ballincollig
I. Introduction (Luke 12:15)
A. When you mention Christmas, people think THINGS and GETTING things
B. There are three kinds of Christmas’s that will occur in every home in Ireland
1. A Sorrowful Christmas – Christmas is a time of incredible sadness and sorrow for so many people
2. A Sinful Christmas – for many it is just a paid excuse to sin and act the fool
a. Christmas parties – dancing on tables
b. Drinking themselves silly
c. Dying in horrible auto accidents because of drinking
3. Or, a Simple Christmas
C. That’s just what the first Christmas was – one word – simple
D. Simple does not have to mean having no fun at all:
1. A dark house with no Christmas lights anywhere to be seen
2. An empty sitting room with no Christmas tree at all
3. Or even just peanut butter for Christmas dinner
E. Simple, simply means uncomplicated
F. Aren’t you glad when things are simple?
G. The opposite of simple is: fancy, elaborate, extravagant, expensive, impressive
H. I’ve seen many a fancy, elaborate, extravagant, expensive, and impressive wedding, only to see that couple divorced or dead just a few years later.
I. I’ve been to many a fancy church, only to discover it is all show
J. I have known people to have expensive Christmas’s without any love at all
K. None of that stuff is what Christ had in mind when he was born in that cattle-barn 2,004 years ago
L. What he started, and expects us to continue was a simple kind of Christmas that he guarantees to end up being out of this world!
A. A Tame Christmas – Slow and easy (Lk 2:1-7) – or in Irish, “Tóg bog é”
1. The first Christmas had loads of pressures:
a. Spur of the moment taxation drive forcing everyone to travel to their hometowns
b. A wife with a baby due at any time!
c. Little money
d. Uncertainty about how everything will work out
2. But notice:
a. Mary and Joseph did not ride horses from Nazareth down to Bethlehem - They rode a donkey
b. When they arrived in Bethlehem, yes, they needed a place to stay, especially because Mary was due to deliver very soon
c. But when they got to the stable, and prepared the place for Mary, everything stopped – everything waited
a. An unhurried Christmas is the best kind of Christmas
b. Get your shopping and travelling around done early
c. Plan your dinners
d. Enable everyone and everything to go slow
e. All so that you can focus on that baby!
4. So, keep things tame – at a speed that may be considered boring! So long as you can keep the following things a part of your Christmas as well
B. A Together Christmas (Lk 2:15-18)
1. The worst thing you can do at Christmas is be alone
2. The birth of Christ brought shepherds, wise-men, a family, a whole village (Bethlehem) and angels TOGETHER
3. It didn’t cause division like it is in America and England these days
a. Department stores forbidding people from saying Happy Christmas – have to say Have A Nice Holiday
b. Town squares can’t have any Christmas trees, manger scenes, Christmas stars – no! Don’t want to offend anybody
c. STRANGE – it’s CHRSTMAS FOLKS!
d. If someone wants to start another holiday, go ahead – we won’t stop you!
4. As a family, do the following things:
a. Always make a promise and a commitment to be together as a family at Christmas – just having family around makes for a great Christmas
b. Open your homes – that’s what Christ did – He opened HIS home (heaven) to us at Christmas
5. If you don’t have a wife or a husband, and no children, then adopt one of us – we would LOVE to have anyone over at our house
6. Again, that’s what Christmas is all about! Being together!
7. Don’t call yourself a Christian if you only want to get depressed and stay depressed and all alone this Christmas! That’s not a spiritual thing at all!
C. A Thoughtful Christmas (Luke 2:19)
1. Ponder the Christmas events – think about all of it – wonder about it all!
a. That’s what the nativity cribs are for
b. But because so few people actually know the whole story, the crib is easily being replaced by a DVD player and computers and TVs
c. Ponder – meditate – sit back and mentally enjoy the wonder of it all!
2. Ponder the gifts and the people, and the things around you
3. Ponder the big things of life and then ponder the little things
4. Take time to ponder and think this Christmas about all the good that God does, and just how good God is!
D. A Thankful Christmas (Lk 2:20)
1. Probably the one reason why this generation is the most unthankful is because we are so complicated in our lives, and never take time to THINK about what’s going on, and we end up grumbling, and complaining
a. Normally, a shepherd’s life was one of complaint
b. The lowest of jobs – low pay, low working and living conditions
c. Long hours
d. High risk – wolves, bears, lions always nearby
e. But because of Christmas, these men couldn’t help but praise and thank God
2. To be thankful, you need to:
a. Take time to thank God first – it is not as hard as it may seem!
b. List the things you are thankful for
1) Salvation – forgiven, saved from hell, paid for in full, redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb, adopted into the family of God
2) The Bible – the word of God, perfect, convicting, complete, comforting, strengthening
3) The Holy Spirit of God – also comforting, securing, satisfying
4) The trials and triumphs – both! Always making a better person out of you!
c. Take time to thank one another
1) For friendship
2) For faithfulness to one another
3) For family – for just being special enough to be my brother or sister, or Mom or Dad
4) For everything, every little thing even that people do for you
3. This is where Church fits in
a. Don’t have Christmas without being in Church where you can thank God for Jesus and for His matchless gift of salvation!
b. We have a Christmas day meeting right here!
c. People want church to be as little a part of their life as possible
d. We know the value of church that keeps us soft, and thankful
e. If you feel hard, and cold – come on out for preaching and teaching from the word of God and God will change you and break you and then fix you and mould you into a praising machine! AMEN!
E. A Tender Christmas (Lk 2:21)
1. Tenderness is a dominate character trait of our God (Lk 1:76-79). It is the soil out of which a giving kind of heart grows
a. Be tender towards each other
b. Be tender even towards those that hate you and hurt you
c. THAT’S a CHRISTMAS ORDER (Eph 4:32)
2. I pray God humbles all of you and makes you soft somehow this Christmas – soft towards right things, and goodness, and godliness, and towards OTHERS
a. People are too tender about how THEY feel
b. Be tender towards OTHERS
c. And be tender towards how God feels
3. Christmas is not about the Playstation games and techno-toys
4. It’s about one word – love! Tender love!
5. Here is Joseph, and Mary, and a little newborn baby boy
a. Moved into a rented house
b. Eight days later they name the child JESUS
c. What a precious and tender moment
6. They didn’t go back into their rapid lifestyle
7. This was not just a tender moment – it was a tenderness that lasted for weeks – 40 days
8. Make Christmas spectacular not by just giving someone some-THING, but by LOVING someone, and telling them you love them!
a. Telling someone you love them is not wimpy
b. It is CHRISTIAN!!!
9. Teenagers, be tender this Christmas towards your Mom and Dad, and especially towards your siblings – soon they will all be gone from home, and YOU will be gone from home, and you will wish for a chance to be close again
F. A Talked About Christmas (Lk 2:2538)
1. Luke 2 shows us that Christmas was not a private time, a silent time, or an alone time – everybody was talking
a. The angels started it
b. Mary and Elizabeth
c. The shepherds
d. The village of Bethlehem
e. Joseph and Mary talked about everything going on
f. Now Simeon shows up, and just can’t help but talk about that baby
g. Then came Anna
2. Christmas is a time for sitting down together and just talking
a. Sit down and talk about the past
b. Talk about plans
c. Talk about ideas
d. Allow yourself to disagree and even debate each other
3. Just remember to keep it so that people keep talking to and loving each other
4. That will only happen is Jesus is the main focus – if presents, and ONLY people are the focus, it will self-destruct!
G. Keep it A Tight Christmas (Luke 10:38-42)
1. Be wise with your finances
2. Make a budget and stay within it – probably too late for some of you
3. Pray with your family about the finances – let everyone participate in the giving, and let people have a part in GIVING instead of in just GETTING
4. Pray for wisdom about what gifts to get – maybe just one nice gift
5. Treat every gift you get as a miracle – not an expectation
6. Make every gift out of love, and not out of debt – trying to buy love
A. What kind of Christmas will you have this year?
1. A Sorrowful Christmas
2. A Sinful Christmas
3. Or, how about a Simple Christmas
B. Simple does not have to mean having no fun
C. Simple, simply means uncomplicated
D. Christ expects us to have a simple kind of Christmas – and I guarantee you that it is certain to end up being out of this world!
E. Make Christmas this year A Tame Christmas – Slow and easy (Lk 2:1-7)
F. Make Christmas A Together Christmas (Lk 2:15-18)
G. Make Christmas A Thoughtful Christmas (Luke 2:19)
H. Make Christmas A Thankful Christmas (Lk 2:20)
I. Make Christmas A Tender Christmas (Lk 2:21)
J. Make Christmas A Talked About Christmas (Lk 2:2538)
K. Keep it A Tight Christmas (Luke 10:38-42)
Bible Baptist Church
Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland