#160 (19/12/04)
The Spirit of Christmas—Part II

The Message

By: Robert A.Schuller

Special Guest

December 7, 1941 is a day that will live forever in American and world history. Suddenly, Pearl Harbor was bombed. One of the most devoted, faithful, loyal, generous supporters in this ministry, a member with his wife of.. since 1969, is Richard Higgins. They've been volunteers in practically every department of this church's ministry. December 7, 1941, he was in Pearl Harbor.

Veggie Tales is a favorite to millions and millions of children across America. It was founded in a spare bedroom 10 years ago, with one computer, very little capital, and no connections. Phil Vischer set out with a goal of creating value based family media products. Wow. Well it was a success at the Christian bookstores.

Special Music

" O Come All Ye Faithful "
" Angels we Have Heard on High "
" Go Tell it on the Mountain "

" Joy to the World "
“ CCA CHORUS - Little Drummer Boy ”
" O Come Let Us Adore Him "

SOLO – KEN MEDEMA – “Hush, Missus Teenage Mary”

Acticle of The Message

You know the spirit of Christmas, my father started sharing it last week. He shared a fabulous message from Isaiah 40. And today I’m going to take the next couple of passages, Isaiah 42 and share with you again how the prophet Isaiah proclaims the wonderful good news that a Savior is to be born.

You know the prophet Isaiah, the word Isaiah actually means the Lord saves. And today we’re taking a look at Jesus. You know, that’s what Christmas is all about. It’s about Christ in the mass. It’s Christ everywhere. That’s what Christmas is all about. And here in this season of preparation of an Advent season, we are looking at ways that we can prepare for the tremendous good news of this incredible Christmas. It’s amazing how our society today continues to attempt to take Christ out of Christmas.

I think it was 15 years ago I took my kids out of a public school. And the reason I took my children out of the public school was because their school district decided to take Christ out of Christmas. It was no longer allowed to be called a Christmas tree in the school. It was the winter tree. They didn’t have a Christmas program anymore. It was a winter program. They didn’t have a Christmas Vacation. They had a winter vacation. And nowhere in the entire school system was there any mention or the word Christ allowed. I couldn’t handle it. Because I am convinced that if you take Christ out of the school systems, the school systems are not going to educate our children.

So how do we put Christ in Christmas? You have to realize He’s everywhere. That He is here. That Christ is real. That He’s alive. In Isaiah 42 He shares with us the first thing that we need to remember as we prepare for Christmas. First of all advent is a time for us to prepare for Christmas. And He begins by saying “Here is My servant whom I uphold. My chosen one in whom I delight. I will put My spirit on Him.” The words of Isaiah proclaiming the coming future of our Savior Jesus Christ. And when you go and you look at these words, I can’t help but think of Jesus Christ when He was baptized. And the Bible says that the Spirit of God descended upon him, and He was baptized. And God’s voice was heard: this is My Son.

Today as we prepare for Christmas, as we move into the preparations, I want to encourage you to go and get your Christmas trees. Because the Christmas tree has a beautiful history. Legend goes all the way back to the 6th century AD.

Saint Wilfred, I’ve heard two different accounts of Saint Wilfred, but it is good old Saint Wilfred who, it comes from two different directions. One legend will tell you it came from England, the other one will say it came from Germany. If you’re from Germany you could say it came from Germany. If you’re English, it came from England. We’re in the U.S. so it doesn’t mater.
Anyhow the legend is the same. The nomadic tribes of that region were worshiping the oak trees. And so he decided that this could not be. And as a missionary, and wanting to share the good new of Jesus Christ he wanted to prove to them that there was no power in this oak tree so he went and he chopped it down. Can you believe it? That took a lot of nerve. He chopped down this oak tree and he said look it there is no power in the tree and he chopped it to pieces.

But then out from the midst of those roots of the oak tree a fir tree grew out. And he declared from now on you will take this tree and you will cut it down and you will take it into your homes, for it is a symbol of what Christ does for us. It is evergreen, a symbol of eternal life, everlasting life. It points to heaven. All of its branches point to heaven. And so we are pointing to heaven.
It is a symbol of peace as you use the fir trees to build your homes. Take this tree and realize it is a symbol of peace. And so the Christmas tree from its foundation is a declaration of peace. It’s a declaration of our faith in Jesus Christ. It is a Christmas tree.

The advent, the Spirit of Christmas is a time of personal time. Isaiah said it this way: “I the Lord have called you in righteousness. I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, and a light for all.”

Why is it, if this is God’s promise to us, why is it that Christmas seems to be such a hectic time? Dose anyone here find Christmas to be a little more hectic then normal? I know I do. It’s amazing. Why is it that it’s so hectic and why is it that it seems to be so difficult? I mean here we are getting ready for something so exciting and something we’re so thrilled about and yet we get so confused. Oh.

Do you know what it is for me? It’s all the decisions I have to make. Now once I make the decision it’s a piece of cake. But it’s making those decisions. It is not easy trying to figure out what to buy my dad, you know? That is just an enormous decision. The only thing worse than that is the decision what am I going to get my mother? Oh! And all of these decisions one after another, and that’s what makes Christmas so hectic for me. How am I going to use my time? What am I going to do with the limited resources I have? How am I going to spread it out and then where am I going to go to find all these thing? And oh!

But the only way I have realized, resolved this incredible conflict of all these decisions is to realize that Christmas is a time to be personal. It’s a personal time with God. And I have to take the time to pray. Take the time to come to church. Take the time to put my priorities straight so that Christ stays in Christmas, and that He is there. He is my God, and I am His servant. And it is time the Spirit of Christmas to thrive. It is a time for us to prepare. It is a time for us to have personal time. It is a time for us to have praise time.

He goes on in this wonderful chapter and He says, “Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise from the end of the earth. You who go down to the sea and all that is in it, you islands and all who live in them, let the desert and its towns raise their voices. Let them give glory to the Lord and proclaim His praise.” When Christ was born the angels sang, “glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill to all.” It’s a time for us to praise God.

A friend of mine was telling me about his child’s Christmas pageant. He said it’s the same thing every year. All these kids come along and they just kind of walk on the stage, and they’re wearing their bathrobes and their slippers, and they have these funky things they wear and it’s just pandemonium. He says the first thing was the three Mary’s came out. I said what? He goes don’t ask me what the logic is, but they had three Mary’s. Apparently they acquired three costumes throughout the years and they decided they should use them all. So they had three Mary’s. Then they had a couple of Josephs. And he said then the angels came out and their wings were huge. They had these huge wings on them and they came and apparently they had different marks on the stage where everyone was supposed to stand to try and create order.
So everyone came and they stood in their place, but then after all the angels were standing in their place all the shepherds came. And his son was one of the shepherds and they come out there, but the angels wings were so big that the shepherds couldn’t get to their marks. So the shepherds are pushing all the angels and everyone’s causing pandemonium and there isn’t enough room for all of these wings, just causing enormous problem. Total pandemonium breaks out. He said finally I couldn’t believe it. I was mortified. My son came out of the group and he said the angels are ruining everything. Oh, the angels are ruining everything.
I think sometimes we feel like that don’t we? The angels are ruining everything. Oh my goodness. But the fact of the matter is it’s the angels that bring us praise to God and a multitude of hosts saying “glory to God in the highest and on earth peace goodwill to all.”
There’s nothing I like more in Christmas season, than to sing the Christmas carols. Don’t you love singing Christmas carols? One after another and I love to sing them all. The spirit of Christmas is a preparation time. It’s a personal time. It’s a praise time. It is a prosperity time. And going on in this chapter the prophet Isaiah says, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them. I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do. I will not forsake them.”
Look at all of the prophecies and Christ fulfills them all. And He leads His sheep. And we see that the prosperity isn’t a bank balance. Prosperity isn’t saying that okay now I’ve got more than I need. That’s not prosperity at all. I’ve never met anyone in that category. I’ve met lots of wealthy people, but guess what? They always need a little more. They don’t quite have enough. And that’s true with people who make the minimum wage to people who make a thousand times the minimum wage.

Prosperity isn’t about the bank account. Prosperity is about the spirit; the spiritual account. The Spirit of Christmas. That Christ will lead. That even though we can’t see the future He is leading, He is guiding us as we will continue to take the steps of faith and to move with Him, participating in possibility living. Moving forward one day at a time trusting and believing in Jesus Christ’s guidance.

The prosperity of joy and happiness and goodness and God’s promises will be filled. And so this is a time for us to prepare. Spend some personal time with Him. To praise God and to prosper as we follow His guidance and His leading.

Let us pray. Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You. You are a God who is at work this very moment guiding, leading, touching, upholding. So give us the faith to live the possibilities that You have given to us. To realize that as You who’ve been active in history from day one that You are in process right now of creating change and bringing hope and bringing peace. So we thank You for the Christ Child, for baby Jesus, for the peace, the joy and the love He brings into our hearts and into our families and into our love. We love You, God. Amen.

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