Sunday, December 29, 2019

Keep the Christmas Spirit Going (Don't Miss Christmas Series)

Keep the Christmas Spirit Going

Jesus was conceived of a virgin girl.  When he was born, he was wrapped in swaddling cloths and placed in a lowly feeding trough.  Yet, He was worshiped by those who heard of Him supernaturally.  They learned of Jesus' birth from angels and found Him by following a star in the sky.  In Christmas movies about Jesus' birth, this is where many of those movies end.  But then what? You might be feeling the same way in the days following Christmas Day.  You have spent months decorating your home, singing Christmas carols with your family, attending school programs, cooking Christmas foods, baking Christmas cookies, and shopping for the people on your Christmas list.  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day passed swiftly by.  Now all the decorations are put away, all the food has been consumed, the gifts have been unwrapped, and normal school classes are back in session.  It's kind of depressing, isn't it?  Now what?  How do we keep the Christmas spirit going?

As Christians, we are called by God to keep the Christmas spirit going all year long.  How do we do this?

The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon titled "Keep it Going."

Keep the Christmas Spirit Going

1.  Stay faithful in the midst of the mundane.

In the Bible, after we read about the birth of Jesus, there is a 12 year jump before we read about Him again.  What was happening during those 12 years?  I believe Jesus, though perfectly sinless, led a normal life.  I think Mary and Joseph were normal parents who worked hard and raised more children.  I think their life looked very much like other young Jewish families of the day.  Jesus probably attended school with His peers as He learned the teachings of the Old Testament.  Through all of those 12 years, Mary and Joseph remained faithful to their calling, their calling to raise Jesus, the Son of the only true living God.  They were faithful to do what God told them to do and to go where God told them to go.

Paul wrote in the book of Ephesians:
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called. - Ephesians 4:1
Luke tells us what little we know about Jesus in His first 12 years.
The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. - Luke 2:40
The child grew and becaome strong . . . Luke 2:40 Wall Art

Great things were happening in Jesus during the 12 years He spent as a normal, yet sinless, child in a normal family.  Jesus' faithfulness did not diminish in the midst of his normal life.  God wants the same from each of us.  In the middle of the mundane life of babies crying, cooking meals, playing taxi drive for all the kids (for years), homework assignments, class projects, business meetings, relationship changes, paying bills, and the list goes on and on and on - - - in the middle of all of those things, God wants us to remain faithful to Him. 

How do we become filled with wisdom?  We are filled with wisdom when we ask God for it and we spend time in His Word.

Even in church, we are to do the same.  All the special speakers, programs, music, and more is fine.  All of those things help us grow in Christ, but we shouldn't place the value of our spiritual life on those things alone.  God places great value on simple things, simple lives, and simple people.  God chose a normal man to build the ark.  He chose a normal shepherd boy to become a king.  He chose a normal young woman (a young girl by our standards today) to birth His only Son.  Then, God chose normal men to spread the gospel to all nations after Jesus' ascension.

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2.  Get lost in the greatness of God. 
Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast; and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But His parents were unaware of it, but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day’s journey; and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem looking for Him. Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. When they saw Him, they were astonished; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.” And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” But they did not understand the statement which He had made to them. - Luke 2:41-50
I lost my son once.  We were at an outdoor mall.  It was early Spring.  It wasn't warm enough to turn on the air conditioning, but many of the store clerks had left their doors open to let in the cool breezes.  We were there with other family members.  I was constantly looking around to determine the whereabouts of my son who was about 15 months old at the time.  Sometimes my mother would have him and sometimes my dad was holding him.  Once when I turned to check on him, he wasn't with either of them.  Neither did my brother or sister-in-law have him.  I began searching around the store but couldn't see him.  Within seconds, I was frantically running around the store yelling his name and moving around and through all the clothing racks.  I didn't care how silly I looked.  All I could think about was finding my son.  My worst fear might have happened.  For all I knew, he could have been kidnapped.  I was frantic.  Just as I was about to have a nervous breakdown, a couple walked through the open door to ask if we were searching for a little boy in a red outfit.  I ran outside immediately to find him standing on the sidewalk watching the cars go by.  He loved watching cars.  The whole incident lasted only a minute or two, but it seemed like an eternity to me.  I can't begin to imagine how Joseph and Mary must have felt.  They had been given the enormous responsibility to raise the Son of God, but now he was lost . . . for three days!  They must have been worried sick.

Joseph and Mary found Jesus where they had left Him, in the best place for Him to have been lost.  He was in the temple and He had amazed those around Him with His understanding.  He had been lost in the greatness of God.

There are many things we can get lost in during the new year ahead.  We can get lost in work, in gaining the approval of others, in political division, in financial burdens, etc.

Instead, how about we choose to spend more time in God's Word.  Let's pray more.  Resolve to attend church with other believers.  Put your life on the table before God for Him to use you.  Encourage others to do the same.


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