Glory To God in the Highest, Peace on earth and Good Will toward Men. Luke 2:14Glory To God in the Highest, Peace on earth and Good Will toward Men. Luke 2:14

31

Forgetting Those Things, Which are Past
Text: Philippians 3:13a (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "Brethren, I count not myself, that I have attained to it, but one thing I do: I forget that which is behind."

Dear Friends, Today, as we end the year, let us do one thing that is difficult for many of us: let us forget those things that are past.  Whatever you promised and did not fulfill, whatever you did to hurt others, whatever others did to hurt you, do these things. Confess your anger, sadness, or sin before God. Ask God to forgive you. If you hurt someone, strive to make amends. And, here is the hardest part for many: forgive yourself. You cannot change the past, but you can have a clean start now with Jesus.

Hymn ("I Have Settled the Question"): “I remember when the Lord spoke to my soul, I could feel the heavy burden from me roll, When He spoke the gracious words, `Wilt thou be whole?' Then I settled the question forever.” Refrain: “I have settled the question, hallelujah! I will never turn back from the narrow way. I am going through with Jesus, hallelujah! Till I reach the gates of glory some sweet day. I no longer walk the ways of sinfulness, But I daily tread the paths of righteousness, Since the day the Lord has come my life to bless, I have settled the question forever.”

30

Laughter and Rejoicing is Good For You
Text: Psalm 126:1-3 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "When ye Lord brought again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with joy: then said they among the heathen, `The Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we rejoice.' "

Dear Friends, In today's text, we come to something that is missing a lot in this world and that is laughter and rejoicing. We tend to be serious, somber, and even saddened too much in our lives.  Why don't we rejoice when we remember all the good that God has done for us this year.  Let us spend time together with loved ones laughing.  Oh what good laughter and rejoicing does for our hearts, minds, and souls as we spend time together recollecting!

Hymn (“Rejoice Today with One Accord"): “Rejoice today with one accord, Sing out with exultation; Rejoice and praise our mighty Lord, Whose arm hath brought salvation; His works of love proclaim, The greatness of His Name; For He is God alone,
Who hath His mercy shown; Let all His saints adore Him!”

29

Forgiveness, the Way to Heal all Your Past and Present Hurts
Text: Genesis 50:17 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "Thus shall ye say unto Joseph, `Forgive now, I pray thee, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin, for they rewarded thee evil. And now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of thy father's God.' And Joseph wept, when they spake unto him."

Dear Friends, In today's text, we come to the first time in the Bible where the word "forgive" is mentioned.  The Hebrew word is nasa which means "forgive, pardon, take away, or yield.” If we need to forgive, here is the key to healing in our life from today's text. We need to weep—to work through the sorrow and pain. We need to pray to have a forgiving heart, and for the person who has harmed us. And then we need to forgive, which is a choice of our will. True forgiveness cannot come without God's help and part of that process is forgetting. We cannot continue to bring up the old hurts and rehash them after we have forgiven.

Hymn (“Forgive Them, O my Father”): " `Forgive them, O my Father, They know not what they do.' The Savior spoke in anguish, As sharp iron nails went through. No word of anger spoke He, To them that shed His blood, But prayer and tenderest pity, Large as the love of God.”

28

Thou art Coming, O my Savior
Text: Revelation 22:20 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "He which testifieth these things, saith, `Surely, I come quickly.' `Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus.' "

Dear Friends, In today's text we come to one of the best promises in the Bible.  Jesus told the Apostle John, and He is telling us, that He is coming soon!  Today, you might be frustrated at how the year has turned out. Whatever you are dealing with stop right now and read our text again and be sure that you know Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, then smile, look up to heaven, and claim today's promise as your own.  It is the truth—“even so, come Lord Jesus.”

Hymn (“Thou art Coming, O my Savior," words by Fran­ces R. Havergal): “Thou art coming, O my Savior, Thou art coming, O my King, In Thy beauty all resplendent, In Thy glory all transcendent; Well may we rejoice and sing: Coming! In the opening east, Herald brightness slowly swells; Coming! O my glorious Priest, Hear we not Thy golden bells? Thou art coming, Thou art coming; We shall meet Thee on Thy way, We shall see Thee, we shall know Thee, We shall bless Thee, we shall show Thee All our hearts could ever say: What an anthem that will be, Ringing out our love to Thee, Pouring out our rapture sweet, At Thine own all glorious feet.”

27

The only Book that You Need your Name Written in
Text: Revelation 21:27 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "And there shall enter into it none unclean thing, neither whatsoever worketh abomination or lies, but they which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life."

Dear Friends, In today's text, we see that there is only one Book that we need our names written or published in--the Lamb's (Jesus') Book of Life. If you do not think your name is written there, pray this simple prayer in earnest faith: “Dear God, I come to you and admit that I am a sinner.  I repent of my sins. I believe that Jesus died for my sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day to rule with You in heaven forever.  I ask that Jesus now come into my heart and be my Savior and Lord.  Thank you for bringing me into Your family. In Jesus Name, Amen!” If you prayed that prayer from your heart, your name is now surely entered into the Lamb's Book of Life.

Hymn ("Is your Name Written There?"): “Lord, I care not for riches, neither silver nor gold; I would make sure of Heaven, I would enter the fold. In the book of Thy kingdom, with its pages so fair, Tell me, Jesus, my Savior, is my name written there? Lord, my sins they are many, like the sands of the sea, But Thy blood, O my Savior, is sufficient for me; For Thy promise is written, in bright letters that glow, `Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them like snow'…yes, my name's written there.”

26

Our Lord's Return to Earth Again
Text: Revelation 20:1-3 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And I saw an Angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand. And he took the dragon that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and he bound him a thousand years; And cast him into the bottomless pit, and he shut him up, and sealed the door upon him, that he should deceive the people no more, till the thousand years were fulfilled; for after that he must be loosed for a little season.”

Dear Friends, As we get ready to close the year, let us spend the next few days in some exciting yet sobering texts in the last three chapters of the Book of Revelation.  In today's text, we read about the Millennium. The Millennium will take place after the Rapture and the great Tribulation. After the Millennium, Satan will continue to tempt people to turn away from Jesus. Then, after the final battle of Armageddon and the Judgment, Satan, his demonic followers, and all who reject Jesus as their Savior and Lord will be cast into the Lake of Fire for eternity. All that being said, we should be encouraged that we know Jesus. But, we also should feel an extreme sense of urgency to encourage those who do not know Jesus to invite Him into their lives while they still have time.

Hymn ("Our Lord's Return to Earth Again"): “I am watching for the coming of the glad millennial day, When our blessed Lord shall come and catch His waiting bride away. Oh! My heart is filled with rapture as I labor, watch, and pray, For our Lord is coming back to earth again.

25

Glorify and Praise God in all You Say and Do
Text: Luke 2:20 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "And the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God, for all that they had heard and seen, as it was spoken unto them."

Dear Friends, Today we see how the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen. On Christmas, and for the rest of our lives, we need to take some time to think on the change that happened in the shepherds. We also can remember the change that occurred in Scrooge's life in “A Christmas Carol” after the three visits from spirits. Especially, we should always remember to glorify and praise God for the changes He has made in our lives. We glorify and praise God when we love Him with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and when we love others more than ourselves. In closing, hearken to these paraphrased words of Tiny Tim, "God bless us everyone and help us to bless God Himself and our fellow man!"

Hymn ("Our Day of Joy is Here Again"): "Our day of joy is here again, with love and peace and song; Come, let us join the angelic strain, With voices clear and strong." Refrain: "Glory to our God, we sing, Glory to our Lord and King; Peace, goodwill with all abide, This holy Christmas tide.”

24

Don't Leave Christ out of C-H-R-I-ST-M-A-S
Text: Luke 2:18-19 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "And all that heard it, wondered at the things which were told them of the shepherds. But Mary kept all those sayings, and pondered them in her heart."

Dear Friends, In today's text, we see where all who heard the things told to them about Jesus by the shepherds, wondered about them, but Mary kept all those sayings and pondered them in her heart.  To ponder means "to weigh in the mind," "to think about," "reflect on," or "to think or consider especially quietly, soberly, and deeply."  This Christmas Eve, stop and ponder what Christmas is all about and what it especially means to you. And, keep Christ in Christmas all day tomorrow and all the rest of your life. Put Him first in all you say and do.

Poem (Excerpts from “Don't Leave Christ out of Christmas," copyrighted by Christian
Rapster, S.M.I.C.): “How can we celebrate Christmas and leave Christ out, Without Jesus Christmas wouldn't have come about. Cooking and shopping people are so busy, If Christmas is about Christ then where is He? People love gifts except the one God gave; To them Christmas is a time to misbehave. When they go to the parties they love to bump and grind, Jesus is nowhere in their mind. This year everyone should make this decree, Christmas is going to be more than Xmas to me.”

23

Go Tell it on the Mountain and Everywhere
Text: Luke 2:16-17 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "So they came with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph and the Babe laid in the crèche. And when they had seen it, they published abroad the thing which was told them of that Child."

Dear Friends, In today's text, we see where the shepherds did a wonderful thing.  They did not just keep the news of Jesus' birth to themselves.  When you and I have discovered that Jesus is truly the Reason for the Season; when we know in our hearts that He came to give us complete forgiveness of our sins; when we know that He gives us a new life full of love, joy, and peace; and when we know that He will give us a permanent home in heaven, we will do like the shepherds and "publish aboard” the Good News" of Jesus Christ everywhere.

Hymn ("Go Tell it on the Mountain"): Refrain: “Go, tell it on the mountain, Over the hills and everywhere, Go, tell it on the mountain, That Jesus Christ is born.”

22

Discover the True Meaning of Christmas for Yourself
Text: Luke 2:15 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "And it came to pass when the Angels were gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said one to another, `Let us go then unto Bethlehem, and see this thing that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed unto us.' "

Dear Friends, In today's text, we see where the shepherds did not just merely take the Angel's word about Jesus being born in Bethlehem, but they went themselves to see. I am here today to tell you that while it is special to go to church on Christmas Eve and sing some carols, you and I need to discover—or rediscover--the true meaning of Christmas ourselves.  We should open our Bibles to Luke 2:1-20 and pray a simple prayer, "Dear God, please show me the true meaning of Christmas this year.” Then when we start reading we will be amazed at how God answers our simple prayer of faith. Christmas is about the Greatest Gift of All, Jesus, and seeing Him for ourselves as our personal Savior and Lord.

Hymn ("O Come all ye Faithful"): “O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem. Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;” Refrain: “O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

21

Joy to the World, Jesus has Come"
Text: Luke 2:10-11 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "Then the Angel said unto them, `Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people, That is, that unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. ` "

Dear Friends, In today's text, we see that the Angel of the Lord (possibly Gabriel) told the shepherds to not be afraid because they would have great joy due to the very fact that their Savior was born that Christmas morning.  This Christmas the secret of having joy is coming to Him who alone brings joy, Jesus Christ.  I love an old song we used to sing about JOY, where it
stated…"J-esus, O-thers, Y-ou, what a wonderful way to spell J-O-Y."  I encourage all of us today and every day  to put Jesus first in our day. Also, as now we get ready for Christmas, we should practice putting the needs of others before our own.  Pray for those who do not know Jesus yet, practice acts of kindness, and say, "Merry Christmas" to all. Spread some JOY, this Christmas!

Hymn ("Joy to the World"): “Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.”

20

Don't Shut Jesus out this Christmas"
Text:Luke 2:6-7 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered, And she brought forth her first begotten Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a crèche, because there was no room for them in the Inn.”

Dear Friends, From today through Christmas Day, we shall be in Luke's account of Jesus' birth.  Today, we see that Jesus was born in a manger (crèche, Old Scottish word) because there was no room for Him, Mary, and Joseph in the inn.  Jesus wants to come into our hearts and change our lives this Christmas for the best.  Santa, Frosty, the elves, and even religion cannot change us and give us peace.  Make room for Jesus today and invite Him into your heart. He is The Prince of Peace who alone can bring us peace at Christmas, and always.

Hymn ("Give Heed my Heart"): “Give heed, my heart, lift up thine eyes! What is it in that manger lies? Who is the Child so young and fair? The blessèd Christ Child lieth there.

19

All the Days of Our Lives at Christmas and Always!
Text: Luke 1:75 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "All the days of our life, in holiness and righteousness before Him."

Dear Friends, In today's text, we see where Zacharias, John The Baptist's father, prophesied that both Israel then, and us now as Christians, should live all the days of our lives in holiness and righteousness before Jesus.  How do we do this?  One way is to start our day in prayer and the reading of the Bible.  Also, we should be still and listen to what God is saying.  In closing, as Christmas nears, we should spend more time until Christmas listening to carols like "Away in a Manger," "Joy to the World," and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." These bring us closer to Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate.

Hymn ("All the Day"): “All the day my heart is singing, Not a throb of care I know, For the Master's feet have trodden, Every path He bids me go.” Refrain: “In the Lord is all my joy, Blessed Savior, Friend divine! Glad the songs my heart has known, Since this Jesus has been mine.”

18

Mary Did Know!
Text: Luke 1:46-47 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "Then Mary said, `My soul magnifieth the Lord, And my spirit rejoiceth in God my Saviour.' “

Dear Friends, In today's text, we see where Mary magnified and praise the Lord that God would allow her to be Jesus' mother.   We often are so wanting to see what others will give us for Christmas, but instead let us want to give something to Jesus. As Mary did, let us give Him our hearts, minds, and lives.  Mary knew this truth and so can we!

Song ("Mary Did You Know?," by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene): Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water? Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you. Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation? Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations? Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb? This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.”

17

Nothing is Impossible with God at Christmas and Always
Text: Luke 1:37 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "For with God shall nothing be impossible."

Dear Friends, In today's text, we see where the Angel Gabriel told Mary that she being a virgin but still conceiving the baby Jesus was possible because nothing with God is impossible. God wants to answer our prayers according to his will and plan for our lives. All we have to do is ask Him in faith.  This Christmas do not go to God wishing for material things that you want, but ask God to do the impossible like provide healing to someone you know, or helping you be bold and loving to provide for a family in need. Or, if you don't know Jesus, ask for the greatest gift that God gave us at Christmas: ask Jesus to come into your life and be your Savior and Lord.

Hymn (“Only Believe"): “Fear not, little flock, from the cross to the throne, From death into life He went for His own; All power in earth, all power above, Is given to Him for the flock of His love.” Refrain: ”Only believe, only believe; All things are possible, only believe, Only believe, only believe; All things are possible, only believe.”

16

He Looked on Me
Text: Luke 1:24-25 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "And after those days, his wife Elizabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, `Thus hath the Lord dealt with me, in the days wherein he looked on me, to take from me my rebuke among men.' ”

Dear Friends, In today's text, we see where Elizabeth went aside and gave God all the praise for answering her prayer of wanting to have a child. She said that God looked on her, “to take from me my rebuke among men."  It is amazing that even at Christmas we don't praise God for all the blessings He has bestowed on us. We also must not forget that God answers prayers in his own time, at just the right time! So, this Christmas, if you feel like giving up, if you are tired of the criticism of men and women, or if you are tired of "just going through the motions” to maintain your so-called "Happy Holidays," hide yourself away and praise God. If you have never asked Him into your life, then pray, "Dear God, please forgive me and cleanse me from all my sins. I gladly accept Your Son Jesus now into my life as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for Jesus being my greatest Christmas present ever. Amen.”

Hymn ("He Looked Beyond My Faults,” words & music by Dottie Rambo): “Amazing grace will always be my song of praise, For it was grace that brought me liberty. I can not know just why He came to love me so; He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs. I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary, To view the cross where Jesus died for me. How marvelous that grace that caught my falling soul; He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs.”

15

Who is Christmas Really About?
Text: Luke 1:16 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to their Lord God."

Dear Friends, Today's text announced that John the Baptist, who was Jesus' cousin, would direct people to turn from the false and vain religion of the day, and towards Jesus, The Way, The Truth and The Life. I want to invite each of us as we get ready to celebrate Christmas to turn from all the "surface celebrations" of Christmas (presents and parties, etc.) and turn to our Lord God, namely Jesus. Christmas, is his birthday celebration! The best way we can do this is to be still, come before Jesus in prayer (He's always listening), and realize that Christmas is not truly about anything but Jesus and his love.

Worship Song (“Not About Us," by Bishop Noel Jones): “It's not about us, But it's about Jesus, It's not about you, But it's about Jesus, It's not about us, But it's about Jesus, It's not about you, But it's about Jesus. I present my body, A living sacrifice, Holy, acceptable, Unto You now, Everything I am, And everything I'll be, I lay it all at Your feet.”

14

In Thee There is Gladness
Text: Luke 1:12-14 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the Angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias, for thy prayer is heard, and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice at his birth.”

Dear Friends, In today's text, we see how the Angel told Zacharias not to fear but to have joy and gladness because he and Elizabeth would have a son in their old age. The son was to be John the Baptist, who would tell people that Jesus was coming.  Today, you may be experiencing fear for many reasons, but I am hereby announcing to you that Jesus died on the cross for us, was buried, arose the third day, and is coming back for those who have put their faith and trust in Him.  This is the free gift from God. So, do not be overcome with fear, but turn to Jesus. Yes, we will still have trials and temptations, but we can rejoice that Jesus wants us to have joy and gladness for eternity. He will never leave us nor forsake us

Hymn ("In Thee is Gladness"): “In Thee is gladness, amid all sadness, Jesus, sunshine of my heart. By Thee are given the gifts of Heaven, Thou the true Redeemer art. Our souls Thou makest, our bonds Thou breakest; Who trusts Thee surely hath built securely, And stands forever. Alleluia!”

13

Be a True Believer at Christmas and Always
Text: Luke 1:5-6 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "In the time of Herod King of Judea, there was a certain Priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia; and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were just before God, and walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, without reproof.”

Dear Friends, In today's text, as we come now to the Gospel of Luke, we see two people, namely Zacharias and Elizabeth, who were true believers of God.  We hardly ever hear about them in the church, but let me say that God wants us to follow two important things that they demonstrated in their lives. They walked in ALL the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. This Christmas, be bold in your celebration of Christ and say "Merry Christmas" to everyone, everywhere.  They were "without reproof." They lived a life walking in God's steps. This year, show others the true the meaning of Christmas by not following the steps of man, but of God by honoring his Son, Jesus.

Hymn ("Be a Ray of Sunshine"): “Be a ray of sunshine everywhere you go, Shining for the Savior with a steady glow; Bringing smiles to sad ones, wiping tears away, Make yourself a blessing every passing day.” Refrain: “Be a ray of sunshine everywhere you go, Shining for the Savior with a steady glow; Be a ray of sunshine filled with Heaven's light, Sending forth a message beautiful and bright.”

12

What Gifts will You Bring to Jesus?
Text: Matthew 2:11 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "And went into the house, and found the Babe with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him, and opened their treasures, and presented unto Him gifts, even gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."

Dear Friends, In today's text, we see how the wise men gave gifts to Jesus.  We sometimes get so selfish at Christmas that the presents we want are more important than what we can give to Jesus. Brothers and sisters, let us pause and give Jesus four gifts this Christmas and every day thereafter. One is our worship. We should spend time daily in the Bible and in prayer, seeking what He wants us to do throughout the new year. We also can give of our time to help those in need. And, we can give our tithes and offerings. Daily, of course, we should give Jesus our hearts!

Hymn ("In the Bleak Midwinter"): “What can I give Him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part; Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.”

11

Christmas, A Time of Great Joy and Gladness
Text: Matthew 2:10 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with an exceeding great joy."

Dear Friends, Today, we see that when the wise men saw the star that shone where Jesus was, they rejoiced with great joy because they found Jesus.  This Christmas, let us stop and realize that great joy and gladness is not found in a bottle of alcohol, a present under the tree, or eating Christmas cookies, but great joy and gladness comes in realizing that Jesus is the Reason for Christmas. Each of us can have a relationship with Him that comes by grace through faith in Him alone.

Hymn ("As with Gladness, Men of Old"): “As with gladness, men of old, Did the guiding star behold, As with joy they hailed its light, Leading onward, beaming bright, So, most glorious Lord, may we, Evermore be led to Thee.”

10

Keep Christ in Christmas
Text: Matthew 2:8 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "And sent them to Bethlehem, saying, `Go, and search diligently for the Babe; and when ye have found Him, bring me word again, that I may come also, and worship Him.' "

Dear Friends, Today, we see how King Herod was deceitful and wanted the wise men to find the baby Jesus so that he could kill Him.  He lied and said that he wanted to "come also, and worship Him.” Like the wise men, we must also always search diligently for Christ to truly worship Him.  Let us not let the “deceits” of the holiday season take Christ out of Christmas for us. Let's smile and mean it in our hearts when we say, "Merry Christmas" to someone.  Let's make it a habit to start our days singing a Christmas carol which honors the baby Jesus. On Christmas Day, before we open our presents, let's sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and read the account of Jesus birth in Luke Chapter two. Let's each do our part to keep Christ in Christmas this year!

Poem (Excerpts from "Keep Christ in Christmas," by Mallory Horne of Toledo, Ohio): “Christmas comes just once a year, 'Bombarding' everyone with Christmas cheer…Presents are passed out, People are all worn out...The gifts that are given to each other…Meaning behind each gift lost…[forgetting] Jesus paid the cost.”

9

Don't be Troubled at Christmas or Anymore
Text: Matthew 2:3 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”

Dear Friends, Today, we see how King Herod was troubled and all Jerusalem with him.  King Herod was troubled because he had taken the kingdom by force and he always thought that someone was trying to take his throne from him.  Jerusalem was troubled because they were afraid of what King Herod, in his madness, would do, but also because the people were afraid of how the cruel Romans treated them. They did not have the peace of God. The peace of God melts away all troublesome thoughts. This Christmas season don't be overly worried about pleasing someone by absolutely and totally fulfilling their present wish list. Don't let worries about what to cook or what to wear overwhelm you. Don't worry that you can't afford a big lighted front yard like some of the neighbors. Instead, let the peace of Christ, the Prince of Peace, flow freely into your heart and soul.

Hymn ("Why Herod, Unrelenting Foe"): “Why, Herod, unrelenting foe, Doth the Lord's coming move thee so? He doth no earthly kingdom seek, Who brings His kingdom to the meek. Led by the star, the wise men find, The Light that lightens all mankind; The threefold presents which they bring, Declare Him God, and Man, and King.”

8

Wise Men and Women Still Worship Him
Text: Matthew 2:1-2 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "When Jesus then was born at Bethlehem in Judea, in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, Saying, `Where is the King of the Jews that is born? For we have seen His star in the East, and are come to worship Him.' “

Dear Friends, Today, we see how wise men came from far away to seek and worship Jesus. Jesus wants us to worship Him on Christmas Day and everyday.  We first worship Jesus by inviting Him into our heart and life asking Him to be our Lord and Savior, and then living for Him.  This Christmas let us realize that all wise men, women, and children seek out Jesus and worship Him.  Foolish men, women, and children are those who seek the other pleasures of Christmas before honoring Jesus whose birthday we celebrate.

Hymn ("Come with the Wise Men"): “Come with the wise men! led by any sign—This the holy promised One, Babe, yet Lord divine! Wonderful Stranger from the courts above, In the time appointed, God's gift of love.” Refrain: “Homage we render, Thou King and Defender! Kneeling with wise men great, at love's holy shrine. All lands shall own Thee! As Lord shall enthrone Thee!
Thine is the kingdom, and the glory Thine!”

7

Joseph, an Example of Obedience
Text: Matthew 1:25 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "But he knew her not, till she had brought forth her first born son, and he called his name JESUS.”

Dear Friends, Today, we see how Joseph obeyed God by having no intimate relations with Mary until sometime after she gave birth, and how he named the baby Jesus (meaning, “God is salvation”). Joseph recognized that this child was a special Child, the one to be the Savior of the World. So, in closing, this Christmas season do not get caught up in the stress of the hustle and bustle, but step back and worship the special Child, Jesus, the True Reason for the season of Christmas.

Hymn ("What Child is This?"): “What Child is this who, laid to rest On Mary's lap is sleeping? Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, While shepherds watch are keeping? This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing; Haste, haste, to bring Him laud, The Babe, the Son of Mary.”

6

Wake Up Dear Friend and Spread Some Christmas Cheer all the Year
Text: Matthew 1:24 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "Then Joseph being raised from sleep, did as the Angel of the Lord had enjoined him . . ."

Dear Friends, Today, we see how Joseph woke up from his sleep and did as the Angel of the Lord instructed.  As we enter this Christmas season, God wants us to wake up spiritually. We need to see that Christmas is not about us, not about Santa, and not about getting more into debt to please others. It is about Jesus.  Then after we wake up spiritually, we must do as God commands us.  We can help spread "peace on earth and goodwill toward men" at Christmas and every day. Wake up every day and say, "Thank you God for another day of life, and Lord, please help me to do whatever pleases you." Smile and be a good listener to all. Listening is an art and a gift from God. Finally, when you have sinned or let others down, ask God for forgiveness, ask others for forgiveness, and, please, forgive yourself!

Hymn ("Waken! Christian Children"): “Waken! Christian children, Up and let us sing, With glad voice the praises, Of our newborn King. Up! 'tis meet to welcome, With a joyous lay, Christ, the King of Glory, Born for us today.””

5

Emmanuel, God with Us
Text: Matthew 1:22-23 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "And all this was done that it might be fulfilled, which is spoken of the Lord by the Prophet, saying, 'Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, [which is by interpretation] God with us.' “

Dear Friends, Today, we see how the Scripture which was originally recorded in Isaiah 7:14, was fulfilled.  One of the Names of Jesus is "Emmanuel,” which means, "God with us.”  Oh, how powerful these words are to us today!  Perhaps at this Christmastime, you feel lonely, sad, depressed, or wonder how you can possibly fulfill the wishes of all those who give you their proverbial "shopping lists.” You do not need to worry, be discouraged, or be lonely: go to Jesus in prayer. He promises to never leave you nor forsake you.  He is God with us and He will make a way.  Finally, do you know of a lonely neighbor, widow, widower, single parent, or single person in your church, workplace, or family?  If so, why not invite him or her over for Christmas and be Christ's ambassador, sharing God's love for that person.  I know when I was single and away from home I was blessed by the faithful few who invited me over for Christmas.

Worship Chorus ("Emmanuel"): “Emmanuel, Emmanuel, His Name is called Emmanuel, God with us, revealed in us, His Name is called Emmanuel.”

4

Jesus, What a Beautiful Name
Text: Matthew 1:21 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins.”

Dear Friends, Today, we see why Jesus was named his beautiful name.  He was named Jesus because He would save Israel and all who choose to believe in Him from their sins.  There is no better time to have a very Merry Christmas than today. Why not invite (or re-invite) Jesus into your heart and life now?  I am not sorry at all to tell you the truth and nothing but the truth—only Jesus, the Savior of all who will come to Him, died for our sins and rose again to reign with the Father in heaven!  Have a true Merry Christmas by inviting Mary's son, Jesus, into your heart and life today.

Hymn ("I Know of a Name"): “I know of a name, a beautiful name, That angels brought down to earth; They whispered it low, one night long ago, To a maiden of lowly birth.” Refrain: ”That beautiful name, that beautiful name, From sin has power to free us! That beautiful name, that wonderful name, That matchless name is Jesus!”

3

Christmas is the Perfect Time to Get Rid of Fear
Text: Matthew 1:20 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "But whiles he thought these things, behold, the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, the son of David, fear not to take Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost.' “

Dear Friends, Today, we see that Joseph was told by the Angel not to fear.  This Christmas God wants to give us his peace that comes through knowing Christ and to take away all our fear.  Are you afraid of something?  Bills piling up?  Suffering with an illness?  Failing in an endeavor or relationship?  Are you afraid that you might not be ever able to overcome a bad habit or addiction?  Go to Jesus and trust Him as your Lord and Savior and you will find that He alone is the true Prince of Peace, both at Christmas and always. All you need to do is pray something like this and mean it in your heart: "Dear Jesus, I recognize that I have been afraid of (confess whatever it is).  I confess that I have sinned against you and others.  I believe that you came to save me and give me peace.  You are the Prince of Peace.  Come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior both now and forever.  In your Name Jesus I pray. Amen." If you sincerely prayed that prayer, welcome to the family of God.

Hymn ("Fear Not, O Little Flock "): “Fear not, O little flock, the foe, Who madly seeks your overthrow; Dread not his rage and power; What though your courage sometimes faints? His seeming triumph o'er God's saints, Lasts but a little hour.”

2

Let us be Just at Christmas and Always
Text: Matthew 1:19 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "Then Joseph her husband being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly."

Dear Friends, Today, we see that Joseph was a just (morally upright, righteous) man.  He loved Mary so much that he was not going to make her a public example.  The religious leaders of the day probably would have accused her of committing fornication and would have had her stoned to death. I want to encourage each of us this Christmas to be just and fair to everyone. No matter what you receive for Christmas, or if someone doesn't give you a card or present in return, do not slight, gossip, or complain. In an attitude of humbleness, try you best, with God's help of course, to bring "tidings of comfort and joy" to everyone.

Hymn ("God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen"): “God rest ye merry gentlemen, Let nothing you dismay, Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day; To save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray.” Refrain: “O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy; O tidings of comfort and joy. Now to the Lord sing praises all you within this place, And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace; This holy tide of Christmas all others doth deface.”

1

Remember Whose Birthday It Is
Text: Matthew 1:18 (The 1599 Geneva Bible) "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was thus: When as his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with Child of the Holy Ghost."

In today's text, we see that Jesus' birth was a supernatural event.  His father was not Joseph, but God himself.  It is interesting that in the hustle and bustle of Christmas, so many people, including myself, get caught up in getting more into debt and having to see the "Charlie Brown Christmas Special," etc. Many take Christ out of his own birthday by saying "Happy holidays" or by having "holiday parties" in their homes or offices.  Let us not forget today's text, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was thus." It is Jesus' birthday we are getting ready to celebrate!

Hymn ("The Birthday of a King"): “In the little village of Bethlehem, There lay a Child one day; And the sky was bright with a holy light; O'er the place where Jesus lay.” Refrain: “Alleluia! O how the angels sang. Alleluia! How it rang! And the sky was bright with a holy light, 'Twas the birthday of a King. 'Twas a humble birthplace, but O how much God gave to us that day, From the manger bed what a path has led, What a perfect, holy way.”