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A Christmas Carol

December 11, 2016 | John 3:16-18 | christmas, movies, popular culture

Several movies and plays have been based on Charles Dickens’ book, which was first published in London in 1843. The most recent movie version was by Disney featuring the voice-over of Jim Carrey. We learn in this movie that Scrooge doesn’t know how to “keep” Christmas until several spirits visit him and bring about a change of heart. But does the book and movie miss what it means to keep Christmas?

Elf

December 4, 2016 | Isaiah 9:1-7 | christmas, movies, popular culture

Elf is a classic because of the redemptive Christmas themes found in its story. Themes like: a baby boy that gets adopted, an otherworldly young man whose love and innocence cause him not to fit it anywhere, and a man named Walter who is on the “naughty list” and rejects his son. In the movie, Walter’s priorities are upside down, he puts his job and position ahead of his wife and kids, and he is angry and miserable. The story is really about Walter’s redemption by accepting his son.

The prophet Isaiah wrote of a Son that would be given to humanity that would be the Messiah bringing light to a sin-darkened world and establishing an eternal kingdom of peace in a world filled with chaos and brokenness. We can recognize and receive Jesus as this Son that was given to us to bring us out of darkness and into His kingdom of peace and light.

O Come All Ye Faithful

December 20, 2015 | John 1:1-14 | christmas

Christmas carols. All of us have our favorites. I don’t know what mood you’re in this Christmas. Perhaps because of this warm North Carolina weather you’re singing along with Bing Crosby: “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.” Or maybe you’re missing someone this Christmas and you’re humming along with Elvis: “I’ll have a blue Christmas without you.” Whether it’s a white one or a blue one, there’s just something about Christmas that makes us want to sing.

When did all of this caroling begin? It was a little over 2,000 years ago when Christ was born and an angelic choir sang “Glory to God in the highest” to an audience of shepherds in Bethlehem. Faithful followers of Jesus have been singing ever since!

O Holy Night

December 13, 2015 | Luke 2:1-14 | christmas

What would move you to “fall on your knees” in worship today? Many of us have lost the wonder and worship of Christ’s coming. For some the holidays are a reminder of the empty chairs at the supper table this year. Or of the trials that challenge us to fall short of our expectations for the perfect Christmas season.  But the carol, “O Holy Night”, inspired by Luke’s gospel, invites us to contemplate the story of Christmas anew

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

December 6, 2015 | Matthew 1:18-25 | christmas

In Matthew’s gospel, he showed that the birth of Christ was the fulfillment of the Old Testament’s promises. Writing to a predominantly Jewish audience, he desired to give them the hope that they had long awaited. We too can experience this hope that we have been truly searching for. In today’s passage we will study the fulfillment of God’s promise to send His Son who is Emmanuel, God with us. Today we will see three ways to experience “God with us” in our lives.

Myrrh: A Gift Fit For a Savior

December 21, 2014 | John 1:29-37 | christmas

Pastor Gary Combs concludes the three-part sermon series, “The Three Gifts,” with this message on the gift of myrrh. In this message, based on the book of John, Jesus was presented as the one who came as a perfect sacrifice to pay for all our sins, John the Baptist called him the “Lamb of God.” When the disciples of John heard John’s declaration they decided to follow Jesus. We can decide to follow Jesus too. We can give Jesus the gift of myrrh by recognizing him as the Lamb of God—God’s perfect sacrifice for our sin.