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Sermon - Christmas Day

In the Name... And a Merry Christmas to you. Well, it's finally here. After four weeks of Advent preparations, Christmas is here. Today, the angels bring us glad tidings for all people, that unto us is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour who is Christ the Lord. Peace on earth, good will to men. Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Let earth receive her king. Nice song, that. And, as a congregation, we always sing it with gusto. But, on a personal and individual level, how do you and I experience this "joy" of Christmas? How do we make it, whatever it is, our own? This is an important question for there are many at this time of year who do not feel this joy; many for whom the whole message of joy is something for other people, but not for them; many who face this season, not with joy, but apathy; even anxiety. There was once an African village with no easy access to good drinking water. Every day, the villagers walked miles to bring back water from the nearest river. One day, the government sank a well pipe in the village and fresh, clean water suddenly became available for the asking, right there, at the turn of the tap. A missionary visited the village and everybody he met praised God for the miracle of the well, except for one woman. To the missionary's surprise, she had no water in the buckets in her house and she complained to him, "Before the well, my sister would bring me water." "Now, she tells me to get it myself." It is possible for someone to be thirsty just a few steps from abundant water. And why? Because there's no way the water in the well can become your own, personally, until you go there and turn the tap. The water is yours. You're entitled to it. But, you need to fill your own bucket. It's not something anybody else can do for you. So it is with the joy God sends us at Christmas. It's there for the taking, but it will never fill us unless we take it. So, how do we take this Christmas joy and make it ours? Well, we can look at the word, "JOY" and use it as a rule of life. You see that it's made up of three letters - J, O, and Y. Imagine then, that J stands for Jesus, O for Others, and Y for Yourself. Joy, therefore, is something you experience when you place Jesus and Others before Yourself. Jesus first in everything. And, then serving Others before serving Yourself. And that is how we can take the Christmas "joy to the world" and make it into a personal "joy in my life" now and always. That is how we turn the tap and let the living water of the Gospel fill our buckets and quench our thirst for true meaning. When we look at the Christmas story we can see that some of the people who are mentioned practice J-O-Y while others do not and we see the difference that makes in their lives. Here are a few examples. We have the innkeeper who chose to enjoy the warmth of the inn while he sent Joseph and Mary out into the stable. He didn't put Jesus first, let alone Others. And we have Herod who wanted his job as king so much that he was prepared to kill Jesus and anyone else who stood in his way. These people don't experience the joy of the good news. On the other hand, we have the shepherds who came from the fields to adore the new-born Jesus. Or the Wise Men from the East who made a long and dangerous journey just to bring three gifts. They experience the joy of Christmas, because true joy is more than a feeling of happiness. It's a way of life. Christmas has come. The angels have sung. Let us today resolve to follow the good example of those who heard and responded to their song by always placing Jesus and Others at the top of our Christmas list. After all, that's how the joy of Christmas will always be ours, today and every day. In the Name... ReplyForward

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