|Theme:||Don't mistake all the tinsel and lights for the real meaning of Christmas.|
|Object:||Some Christmas decorations, a gift, Christmas cookies, etc.|
|Scripture:||And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7 (NIV)|
It's here! It's finally here! Christmas is finally here! I just love Christmas, don't you? What do you like best about Christmas? Is it the Christmas tree with its blinking lights? Maybe it's the beautiful music or the delicious Christmas goodies. Perhaps it's Christmas dinner with turkey and dressing and all of the trimmings. For some it might be all of the parties or visiting with family and friends. For many people the best thing about Christmas is the presents — both the ones we give and the ones we receive. Especially the ones we receive!
Hmm. . . Can you think of anything I have left out? Oh yes! It's someone's birthday, isn't it? Whose birthday is it? That's right! It is Jesus' birthday. You know, sometimes we get so caught up in all of the decorations, lights, parties, and presents that we miss the real Christmas.
That reminds me of a story I heard about a little boy who had always wanted to go to a circus. One day he was walking down the street when he saw a poster in a store window. The poster said that a circus was coming to town and that a ticket to the circus cost one dollar. The boy ran home and asked his father if he would give him a dollar to go to the circus on Saturday.
His father told him that if he would work hard and get all of his chores done, he would give him a dollar to go to the circus. Saturday morning came and the boy got up early and did all of his chores.
"I have all of my chores done," the boy told his dad.
The boy's father gave him a dollar and the boy headed into town filled with excitement about seeing wild animals, trapeze artists, and all of the things that come with a circus. Since he arrived in town so early, he was on the front row when the circus parade started down the main street of town. The boy was thrilled when the animals and other circus acts paraded by.
At the end of the parade came the clowns and following the clowns was the ringmaster. When the ringmaster passed by where he was standing, the boy ran out into the street, took his folded dollar bill from his pocket, and handed it to the ringmaster.
"Thanks," mister, said the boy, "that was a great circus." Then he turned around and walked home. He never knew what he had missed. He thought he had been to the circus, but he had only been to the parade.
If we are not careful, we can be like that little boy. We can get so caught up in the celebration, the decorations, and the gifts that we miss the real Christmas -- the birthday of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Dear Jesus, it is your birthday. We pray that we won't get so caught up in the celebration that we miss the real meaning of Christmas. Amen.
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