Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas -- the Focus

Be prepared, this post is a Christian message.  It's my blog, and I'm putting it out there.  My hope is that if you are not a Christian and you read this, you will not be offended.  It's not intended to offend, it is a statement of my belief. 

In our church, the smaller children get a little mini-message based on the gospel lesson for the day and then they go into 'children's church' for a Bible video instead of hearing the sermon.  This gives them a message at their level, and lets parents at least have the opportunity to pay attention during the sermon.

Various people do the children's message but most often it's the Director of Christian Education.  Who just happens to be off on a maternity leave this month.  So I was asked as Director of Sunday School to deliver the message last week.

The Gospel was in Luke chapter 21 and it was about preparing for the coming of Christ and not letting  yourself be discouraged or distracted.   The kids I was going to be talking to were below the age of 8, many under 5. 

Here's what I came up with... edited for my 'over the age of 8' followers.

Me:  What does Advent mean?  We've been talking about this in Sunday school, right?
Kids:  Something good is going to happen.
Me:  Yes!  The word itself means 'coming'... something or someone is coming.  What's coming? 
Kids:  Christmas!! 
Me:  What is Christmas?
Kids:  Jesus' birthday!!
Me:  Right!  We celebrate his first coming with Christmas.  He came to live with us.  Here's another word we should know:  distractions.  What are distractions? 
Kids:  Things that distract you?
Me: Yes... it's the opposite of focus.  Do you know what focus means?
Kids:   Many little heads shake up and down for yes!  It's when you really pay attention!
Me:  Here's a list of things that could distract us this time of year:  (I hold up photos or drawings of the following):
  • decorations for our homes and offices
  • Christmas cookies
  • turkey dinner
  • presents
  • gift list
  • television set
  • sports equipment
The kids all recognize those things and shake their heads enthusiastically that yes, those things are distractions.

Me:  Now, do you think these distractions are good things or bad things?
Kids:  Good... well they could be good or bad... but mostly good.  We like presents!  And cookies!
Me:  What do you think our focus should be on Christmas?  What is the greatest gift the world (and we) have ever received?
Kids:     JESUS!!
Me:  Yes!  And where does Jesus live?
Kids:     IN OUR HEARTS!
Me:  You are so right!  Did you ever hear the expression "Jesus is the reason for the season"?
Kids:  some yes, some no.
Me:  Let's keep our focus on Jesus this Christmas -- while we are eating cookies and having parties and getting and giving presents let's not forget the greatest gift we'll ever receive.

Here's a picture I found on Facebook.
We were talking about secular Christmas last night at our ladies' study group.  We know that with political correctness it's less and less about Christ and more and more about Santa.  We have to say Happy Holidays at work so we don't offend anyone.  That's too bad in my opinion.  Not that I don't enjoy a holiday as well as the next person, but I want to share the special joy of Christmas and its real meaning.

As a Christian, I believe that God desires all people to go to heaven.  My church teaches and I believe that the only way to get there is through Christ.  I believe he came for everyone, everywhere.  When I get to heaven I want all my friends to be there too. 

There used to be bumper stickers that said "Jesus is the answer".  Some funny guy said "What is the question?"  Can he really be the answer to everything?  I'd never force it on you, but if something is missing in your life, if you are searching for something, maybe you could open the Bible and read Luke, or any of the other chapters.  I hope you check it out and give it consideration.

If one person is comforted by the message, I consider it worth the risk of someone taking offense.  Whatever your belief system, I wish you well.  But I really would prefer to wish you Merry Christmas!

Sew on...

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