Christmas Morning 2011

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SMAS 10.00am Christmas Morning 2011

Tell me about your Christmas presents?

I've brought a couple of presents along today for Jesus. Let’s open 1st one and see what's inside. Hay/straw! I wonder why I might want to give that to Jesus? Well of course it’s because He was laid in a manger but it’s also because it’s the sort of thing we don't usually keep in the house isn't it? We keep it in the garage or shed – it’s for the rabbits or guinea pig. We keep it at a bit of distance, arm's length.

Bit like 'No room at the Inn' - just the hay of the manger. Is Jesus only ok if we keep Him in His place – fine at Christmas, maybe Easter if we're not away on holiday then. But firmly at arm's length for the rest of the year. Yet, He, Jesus is, even as I speak preparing a place for you in heaven. Will you welcome Him into your heart this Christmas?

Now let’s open my second present is a gift for the birthday party! Oh it’s nearly all gone – I'm afraid that I've already eaten most of it! That's actually what most of us do with our lives you know – we use most of it up and then when we're near the end decide that its ok – God can have the pleasure of our company for the last few years – well just in case – you never know!

Jesus gave all of His time, from birth to death for us. After rising from the grave at Easter He asks to be involved in all of our lives. Hard I know – there's just so much we want to do without Him getting in the way.

But you know it’s a wonderful thing that He was born in that stable – in the muck and filth of life. It shows just how much He gave up in coming to live as one of us, and then dying on the cross, which was also a messy and dirty place, showing the ultimate price He paid so we could gain eternal life. And yet what do we give Him? Some people give Him an hour on a Sunday. Some people give Him an hour every Christmas.

We often hear people saying that religion is a private thing but it's a big mistake to think that. Just before Jesus went back to heaven He told His followers how they must live until He comes again. He said that they, we, must keep meeting together, to pray, to read the Bible, to hear the Bible explained, to share bread and wine together. And His very last words were about going out and telling all this to others too. He never once mentioned keeping it private and going it alone.

We must never be happy about giving Jesus the 'straw' of our life – keeping Him in his place – just coming to think about Him at Christmas. Or thinking 'oh well I haven't really got time for God right now – but when I'm old, when life's had the best of me I'll give the rest to God.

It might not even worry us that we think like that because it's a bit of vicious circle. The more we ignore Jesus, the more we forget Him. The more we forget Him the more we think we can manage without Him.

Most people today think like that – who needs Jesus? Most people don't go out actively attacking Him they just ignore Him thinking that works for them.

I ask you now to take a look at our world – is life without Christ working? We only need to look or listen to the news – is it working?

Perhaps this Christmas you'd like to give Jesus the very best Christmas present of all – yourself! Yourself – all of you, all of the time, not just at Christmas and not just when you’re worn out in old-age.

Jesus loves you and wants you to be a part of His ‘team’, the church, all of the time not just at Christmas!