Hi boys and girls! It’s kind of fun at Christmas to dress up. Today I’m going to dress up in costumes of folks who will help me tell the Christmas story. Who am I dressed up as? (Allow guesses) That’s right a shepherd. So give me a moment and I’ll get into character of a shepherd from a long time ago.
A long time ago…we were waiting to be delivered from a very sinful world. The world was a sorry place: people hating each other, stealing from each other, there was no peace on earth. The people of Israel, from lowly shepherds to Lords and Ladies, wondered when God would come and help us?!
God had promised to send a savior. God keeps his promises but not always the way we think. Like when we asked to be freed from our Egyptian slave masters- never thought he would send plagues or open the sea for us to cross- God did more than we ever imagined!
So, we were waiting now with the Roman soldiers occupying our country, with folks being mean and angry and sinful… we though wouldn’t this be a good time for God to help us to deliver us? And then it happened waiting in the fields the angels came and told us God had come to us and we would know it was him because he'd be a little baby born in a barn, placed in a manger, and named Jesus. We rushed to see if it was true, and it was! And he was beautiful. It was more than we could imagine because we always thought God would come- but just to drop by for a visit not stay and work and play and live with us! What a marvelous gift God had given us!!
It was so impressive that these rich wise men came and visited the baby Jesus. They brought gifts and we've been giving gifts on Jesus' birthday ever since. But nobody will ever beat that first Christmas Gift, God with us. God himself would help us love and forgive and help each other. Perhaps now there can be peace on earth.
I see you've joined the new fad. Not that I'm against it mind you- my brother monk you might know him? Martin Luther- has a lot of strange and new ideas. But this one this one is different. You see for years we've been lighting lots of extra candles in the winter- because we don't like not having much sun light. Its gets depressing and sad so we try to cheer things up by putting candles everywhere we would. Some even put them in the trees outside the house.
They especially like putting them in the pine trees basically, because they still have their branches and my brother Martin Luther likes to do that. In fact, he likes it so much… he brings the pine tree inside the house! Imagine a tree in the house!?
When asked "why?" he said: "because it's Christmas!" So, what does a tree with candles have to do with Jesus' birthday?
First, Luther said the lights on the tree remind us, that Jesus Christ is the light of the world. Second, the tree itself has a point on top- which points to heaven- kind of says look up, pay attention to God! Third, the pine tree is also called an evergreen tree because even in the darkest, coldest part of winter it leaves stay green, "ever-green," ever alive. The evergreen tree reminds us that Jesus brings us ever-lasting life.
That Martin Luther he thinks up a lot of things, but I think this one is going to catch on. The Christmas tree a reminder of light, God, and everlasting life. I like it how about you?
I'm Saint Nicolas- some of you know me as Santa Claus. A guy who brings gifts to good girls and boys. I prefer to be called "Saint Nicolas" because a saint is someone who is full of faith. And I’m so full of faith in Jesus that I just had to share it with others. That's why I give gifts on Jesus’ birthday. I want people to celebrate the best gift of all time!
Do you know the best Christmas gift of all time?! The best Christmas gift of all, has always been that first Christmas gift: Jesus!! As the good book says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." Jesus is a gift of love and life that no one can ever take away from you.
Another gift that I really like is a candy cane. I'm a sucker for sweets as you can tell! But not only does it taste great but even better than that, it's a sweet reminder of the best gift of all. Did you know it's a reminder of Jesus? Turn it upside down and it's the first letter of his name. (what's the first letter of Jesus? "J" right.) Turn it right side up and it’s a shepherd's cane- and every knows Jesus is the good shepherd. The one who watches over us and keeps us close to his heart.
Even the colors remind us of Jesus. Jesus was perfect. He never had a dark sin in his life- that's the color white. And Jesus was willing to die for us, to shed his blood for our sake on a cross. That's the color red. So I love to share "Jesus treats" when I deliver my gifts to remind people of the best Christmas gift ever- Jesus. I'm very busy, gotta go, thanks for letting me tell you about the best gift ever!! Ho, ho, ho Merry Christmas!!