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Don't Miss Jesus

SERMON NOTES
for November 27

Jesus is the Reason for the Season, but Jesus is easily pushed to the edge of the season, crowded out because of how busy we are.

The Scripture: Luke 2:1-7

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.  
Luke 2:1-7, NIV

There was no place for them in the inn.
Luke 2:7, ESV

The Options

Option One:
It was an actual INN… 
not like our modern hotels, but more like a hostel for travelers. If it was an INN, then the person involved was the one who ran the inn. An innkeeper. An entrepreneur or businessman. Things were too busy. Too many travelers to Bethlehem. There was No Vacancy.

Option Two:
It could be a GUEST ROOM in a house. 
That area of the world is a high-hospitality culture. Travelers often stayed with family (or extended family). Most homes had rooms for guests. If this was the case, it would have been a family member who was not able to provide hospitality because too many others of the extended family were traveling as well for the census. And perhaps there was a bit of a scandal surrounding this pregnancy and the family was not favorable to putting up Joseph and Mary.


They Missed Jesus!


EITHER OPTION, the people involved MISSED Jesus. 

They MISSED being a part of the greatest act of God’s redemptive work. Incarnation, God with us in Jesus. The Word Made Flesh.

They MISSED God REACHING OUT in love, mercy, and grace.

They MISSED out on being servants of the purposes of God.

They MISSED the very Reason for the Season.

Don't Miss Jesus This Christmas Season


ONE: Pick ONE WORD for the rest of the year.

Think about the word every day. Use the word to focus your thoughts, your heart, your prayers, your activity. Pick a word that is related to the Christmas Season.

TWO: Serve the purposes of God at Living Word this season.

You can serve as an individual, a family, or with your life group. Check the website for more information.

kid::life has a growing number of children on Sunday mornings. Volunteer to help out one Sunday in December.

Volunteer to help out with Christmas decorating (this Sunday after church).

Sign-up to help with childcare for one of our Christmas Eve services. Attend one service and serve at another.

THREE: REACH out through giving gifts for those in need.

Whether you are onsite or online, you can get a tag to purchase a gift for a child in need this Christmas. We have hundreds of requests to provide gifts for children and those in need. In the lobby, the options are on Christmas trees. Online, just check the Digital Tree Tags and make your choice.

FOUR: Reach out by serving one of our missional partners in York.

Every year we love to serve with our local partners who are making a difference in York with those in need. Ringing the bell for the Salvation Army is just one way to do this. For all the opportunities, just click here and sign up.


FIVE: Reach out and INVITE someone to Christmas Eve.

You can invite them to come onsite. If you invite friends and family who have not been here, be sure to make plans to meet them. Tell them to meet you in the lobby and give them a place in the lobby to look for you--like the Welcome Center or the Next Steps Center or the stone wall..

You can invite them to join online. Be sure to send them a link.

You can share the link for our Christmas Eve services.

SIX: Reach out and INVITE someone to share the Christmas On Demand video.

This year, Christmas is on a Sunday. We are NOT having church on Sunday, December 25th. We are creating a Christmas service video that will be 30 minutes long. You can watch it on demand whenever you like and wherever you are. You can share it with friends.

If you are traveling, this is a great way to stay in touch with Living Word on Christmas Day.

SEVEN: Take extra time and GROW closer to Christ.

Use the Advent devotional booklet, which is available on our website. You can also use our Church App. Look for the link at the bottom of the page.

For people who are new to Living Word over the last 2 years, we have printed copies at our Welcome Center.

Spending even 5-10 minutes every day, reading and reflecting on part of the Christmas story, the birth of Christ, and all the characters involved in the story, you will be able to see God's redemptive plan in action.


EIGHT: Be an encourager to everyone.

Even though it is a joyful time of the year, it is not so joyful or peaceful or love-filled for many people. There are a lot of hurting people around you. There are many people who don't appear to be hurting, but they could use encouragement.

Make it your goal to spread hope, joy, peace, and love.  Be friendly. Smile a lot. Wish people a Merry Christmas.

NINE: Do some self-care.

Get some down time every day. Listen to music you enjoy. Watch your favorite Christmas movie. Be sure to exercise (at least a little).

You are NOT being selfish by taking care of yourself at this time of the year. It is busy. There are many expectations on you. Be sure to replenish often.

Those are nine ways you can be sure you won't miss Jesus this Christmas.

And if they aren't enough, here if one final and perhaps BEST WAY OF ALL to join in with the heart of God and the love of Christ.


The Living Word Christmas Eve Offering!

This is our favorite tradition at Christmas time. Every week in December, we'll have a video explaining where the $300,000 we want to raise will go.

Christmas time at its very best is God so loving the world that God GAVE US HIS VERY BEST when God gave us JESUS.

We most fully enter into the season when we are joyful givers who seek to be a blessing to others.

The Christmas Eve offering will help those in need--globally and locally.


My prayer for everyone is that this December would be very FULL for you--full of Jesus and full of the Sprit of Christ.

Blessings and Grace,
Pastor Brian Rice
 
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