December 1st                       Merry Christmas! Pastor Dave

One thing our family likes to do—after Thanksgiving—is to ‘immerse’ ourselves in Christmas stuff. We listen to Christmas music, put up the decorations, get out our Christmas devotional books, start making cookies, and so on. One of the things we like best is to sit around and watch Christmas movies.

I have several favorites: The Grinch (both Jim Carrey version and the original cartoon); A Christmas Carol (I prefer the George C. Scott version); The Nativity Story. On of my all-time favorites is  A Charlie Brown Christmas.

I love Linus’ speech explaining the ‘True Meaning of Christmas’!

If you haven’t watched that show, you really should. It’s a classic.

If you have watched it, you know how it ends: After an ‘Epic Fail’ at choosing a Christmas Tree—where he chooses a scrawny ‘real wood’ tree when he was supposed to choose a “great big, shiny aluminum tree”, Charlie says in despair “everything I touched gets ruined”. He leaves the tree to go off by himself.

His friends, however, have had second thoughts and have followed him. When they find the tree, they surround it and through the ‘magic’ of animation they transform that scrawny tree into a beautiful Christmas tree! When Charlie returns, he does a double take and can’t believe his eyes! Just then his friends all call out “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!”, and start singing one of my favorite Christmas Carols, “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”.

 

 

That song says these words:

“Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more my die;

Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth! Hark!

The herald angels sing, “Glory to the Newborn King!”

 

Ultimately, that is what Christmas—and Jesus’ life, death and resurrection—were for.

He died so that we could be forgiven and have ‘second birth’—meaning to be “Born Again”—born spiritually, as we have already been, physically. It only comes by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, but it is crucial! As Jesus said, “No one will see the Kingdom of God, unless he is born again.” (John 3:3)

 

Read and Discuss:

Read John 3:1-17 and discuss what it means to be ‘born again’. Have you been?

Read Ephesians 2:8-9 and discuss what is necessary to be ‘saved’.

 

Activity: List your favorite Christmas movies to watch this year (note: I recommend making room on that list for A Charlie Brown Christmas!)

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