#263 (10/12/06)
Preparing for Christmas

The Message

By: Robert A. Schuller

Special Guest

The closest living relative to C. S. Lewis is here in person; his step-son Douglas Gresham. C. S. Lewis and his good friend Tolkien, the author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, were part of the Inklings, an informal writers club that met in a local pub to discuss ideas for stories and Lewis was always fascinated with fairy tales and myths and ancient legends together with inspiration taken from his childhood led C. S. Lewis to write “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe;” one of the best loved books of all time.

Special Music

" O Come, All Ye Faithful "
" Come On, Ring Those Bells "
" Angels We Have Heard on High "
"Joy to the World"
“ Good Christians All Rejoice ”

" And the Glory of the Lord "

MATTHEW WEST – “Welcome to Our World”

The Message

Today, I’m going to share a message which says, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” And as we prepare for Christmas, there are many things that need to be prepared. The prophet Isaiah said you have to level the mountains and fill the valleys. I don’t think you have to go that far for Christmas; you don’t have to make all the roads straight, as the prophet Isaiah says.

But what I think we do need to do is understand what the purpose and the meaning of what this statement is all about, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” God is asking us to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christmas. You know we think about preparing for Christmas and the main things I think about right away, is my to do list, my honey list I call it. And all the things my honey tells me I need to do before Christmas, and that includes getting the lights on the house, getting the lights on the tree, getting some certain things that need to be done, and she’s shaking her head, going yes, you better get all those things done.

And we have all of these things we need to do, and sometimes we forget the most important thing of all, the thing God looks at most. He wants us to prepare ourselves, our relationships, and our understanding with Him, with our self, and with others. But it is hard for us, from times to times to develop our relationships especially during this time of the year. It’s difficult but some of the most important things we need to do, in preparation for Christmas, is to prepare ourselves, our relationship with God, and our relationship with others because if you’re not right with yourself, you’re going to have problems with others. And if you’re not right with God, we’re going to just not be right with our self. And if you’re not right with others, we’re not going to be right with God.

So all three relationships with ourselves, with others, and with God are intertwined and tied together and I’m not sure where it begins, and where it ends. It’s kind of like the chicken and the egg, what comes first? Our relationship with our self, our relationship with God, our relationship with others. It’s one of those questions we’ll never have the answer to. Someday I’ll ask God, I’ll go to heaven, I’ll say “God, which came first, the chicken or the egg?” He knows, He did it, until then I’ll never know. But what we can do this Christmas season, is give; give our baggage away, download resentment, download all of the things that hold us back from experiencing the relationships that God wants us to have, with our self, with Him and with others.

Sometimes the resentments that people have are minor things, like this morning, I met my, in fact I have nicknames for a lot of my nieces, things that make them feel good. So I have a nickname for one of my nieces is, my favorite, I call her my favorite oldest Penner niece, cause her last name is Penner, and she happens to be the oldest. So I said, “How is my oldest favorite Penner niece this morning,” and she looked at me and she said “I’m not old.” She happens to be 14 and I said “Well, how old is old?” And she thought for a moment and she goes, “30.” Thirty? And she goes “yes, 30.” “Oh well what does that make grandpa then?” “ANCIENT!”

You know it’s easy for us in minor things like that; you hear things that you might take resentment to, someone insulting you about being old just because you’re 50, and yet we realize that there are things that are far more serious than that. Which people could clearly and easily understand and take resentment toward God, toward others or even themselves.
I listened to the interview that Tim Russert had with Susan St. James. She lost her son in a terrible plane accident, and her husband is in the hospital. And Susan St. James, you might remember as an Emmy award winning TV actress. She starred in “It Takes a Thief” with Robert Wagner, remember that? This is for old people, you know? Only old people remember this stuff, “McMillan and Wife” with Rock Hudson and she got the Emmy for “Name of the Game.” Lots of TV stuff and what a beautiful spirit she had. And in that interview, she shared her philosophy on life. And she said, you know, resentment: there just isn’t room for any. I was taught that resentment is drinking a poison and hoping somebody else would die. She says there just isn’t room for resentment in this world today.

And that’s the Christmas spirit. There isn’t any room for resentment today. Against friends. Against associates. Against strangers. Against family members. Against brother, sisters, mothers, parents, children. There isn’t room for it anymore. There only room for love. And that’s the message of Christmas. God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten Son. That whoever believes in Him will not parish, but have everlasting life. And that is the Christmas message. Jesus Christ born in the manger. A gift for us.

When someone takes something from you, it hurts. But when they do just give it to them and then you can never be robbed. Did you ever realize that?

Shirley Buckhelder tells a story about when she moved to Lawndale, California in 1962, ancient history. She had a milkman. Now for all of you young people, milkmen are men who used to come to the houses and deliver milk. They came in glass bottles with a paper top. And they came in quart size and half gallon size and they came in a little rack. A little metal rack and they’d all four would sit there and the milkman would come. And the amazing thing is they put them in the back door, if you had a back door, by the kitchen door. It was amazing. The service they provided and occasionally you could order cottage cheese and eggs and... do you remember those days? Wow. This is a little bit of nostalgia going on, you know. The Christmas spirit. Christmas time they’d deliver egg nog and then they’d put a little ribbon around it, you know.

Well, she moved to Lawndale and she had a milkman. His name was Don. And Don was always a happy spirit and a happy go lucky bouncy kind of a guy and one day he comes to the back of her door and she sees him there in the early morning, because the milkmen always came early in the morning. They have the same kind of a schedule as the newspaper, you know. They try to get everything done by 7:00 am. And so she comes and she sees him and he’s just not quite his normal self.

She says, what’s up? What’s the matter? Well, you can’t believe it. I got stiffed by two people this month: One for $9.00 and one for $79.00. And for all you young folk who don’t know what happens. That’s a lot of money. You had a zero on the end of that. The buying power of a dollar in 1962 was 10 times what it is today. So that’d be equivalent to $790.00 dollars he got stiffed.
He said, this nice... I thought she was a real nice lady. She had wonderful kids and she was just on tough times. She says her husband was going to get a second job and she’d get caught up and I just extended the credit and extended the credit and extended the credit. All of a sudden I went there yesterday and there was nobody there. No forwarding address and I’m stiffed $79.00.

Next week he comes back and Shirley sees him again and she says, so how are things going. He goes, I’m angry. This time you could see the scorn on his face. I’m angry. You know, that lady I’ll tell you, she was really something else. And her kids, they were the brattiest kids in the whole world. You can’t believe it. He was angry. And he was in the process of going through the grief process. Because you know, every time we lose something, whether it’s someone close to us, whether it’s something that hurts us, whether it’s somebody that takes something away, we go through the grief process. It’s almost always the same. First denial. No, it really didn’t happen. Then from denial you get into anger where you get mad about it. Then you go through the sorrow and finally acceptance.

So in this angry stage Shirley comes to him and says do you know what you need to do? You need to give that to that woman as a Christmas gift. You need to give her and her kids a Christmas gift. Are you kidding me? She goes, no I’m serious. Just think about it! So the next week he comes back and he goes, you now, I’ve been thinking about it and I don’t know. I just don’t think I can quite make it.

The week before Christmas he comes again. He says I got to tell you something Shirley. I went and was delivering milk for a friend of mine, he was on vacation and you won’t believe who I saw. I went to his route, delivered milk and as I was leaving the one house all of a sudden I looked behind me and here’s this lady with a robe on and slippers on running after me. And she goes, Don, Don. I looked around and it was the woman who stiffed me! And she said my husband got the second job. We had to leave in a hurry and our rent was up and I’ve actually got $20.00 for you. And she offered me the $20.00.

He says, but I didn’t take it. He says the day before I gave it to them. I made a prayer with God and I said I want to give this family the milk. So I gave it to them. So when she offered me the $20.00 I just hugged her and said, I can’t take it, and she cried and for some reason I cried and I gave her the milk.

What is Christmas all about? What is the meaning of Christ coming to earth? It’s giving sacrificially, in a way that society can’t comprehend and realize. God has called us to give and the gift that He wants us to give Him this Christmas is called resentment. It’s called anger, its called bitterness, it’s called anything that keeps us from experiencing and enjoying and receiving His gift, the gift of His peace, the gift of His love, and the gift of His joy. Don’t let anyone; don’t let anything rob you, of Christmas this year.

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You that You come to bring hope, to bring healing, to bring joy, to bring peace, that Christmas is about the incredible gift of You coming into this world, coming to earth, to touch our lives, to touch our minds, to touch our souls with Your presence, with Your reality, with Your goodness. Now open our eyes oh Lord, and remove anything that keeps us from experiencing You. We give it all to You right now. Amen.

HOP Privacy Legal  
Designed by: Ultragraphics Ltd.