The children’s sermons from mid-November to the end of the year will take us from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Seek Ye First is all about helping us keep our priorities. Tabernacles is a look at what could be considered the first Thanksgiving for the children of Israel. The season of Advent begins with the prophecy of how Jesus will return to earth and will be Coming in Clouds. The story of John the Baptist tells how he would Prepare the Way for the coming of Jesus. As we enter closer to God we are taught to Pray About Everything. Though a little out of place chronologically, the next sermon is the story of the magi in Wise Men Worship Jesus. Then we celebrate the birth of Christ with A Child is Born. The story of Jesus being accidentally left after a feast in Jerusalem is given in Home Alone. Have a grateful Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!
As we move toward the beginning of a new year, we have children sermons for the Season of Christmas. In Soul-ed Out for Jesus, John the Baptist was completely committed to preparing the way for Jesus. He pointed others to Jesus. Next, we learn of Mary, Mother of Jesus who found favor with God and was chosen to bring the new-born savior into the world. Next, we learn about grace as The Gift of God. God’s gift of grace is for us to receive. We cannot earn our way to heaven; we must trust Jesus to save us.
Christmas Day has the story of A Child is Born. The lowly shepherds heard the birth announcement of Jesus first. The Shepherd of the world was born in a lowly stable and is an example for us to be humble. The good news is for all people. Months later, the wise men from the east came to worship and bring gifts to God’s anointed King, as foretold in the scriptures — to be born in Bethlehem. To this day, Wise Men Worship Jesus. On the Sunday following Christmas, we read of a Special Delivery, the story of the incarnation. God delivered his own Son, the baby Jesus, at just the right time.
For New Year’s Day, we can read how the prophet Nehemiah read scriptures to God’s people on the first day of the year near Jerusalem’s Water Gate. We get an inner joy and strength from understanding and following God’s word. And on the first Sunday of the new year, in Adopted, we hear how God adopts us as his children. He gives the Holy Spirit to those who believe in Jesus.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
For those who are not on the mailing list, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!
Luke 2: 7-14 (King James Version)
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
In the weeks preceding Christmas the focus of the lessons is on the coming of Jesus. This is not only the incarnation of the Christ child in the world, but also the anticipated return to rule in peace. We were first reconciled to God through the sacrifice on the cross. When we accept Jesus in our hearts as Savior, we have the ability to have peace in our hearts. After that we look to become one in his ministry to live in love and peace with one another. The apostle Paul explained that the mystery of Christ was at last made known. It was Christ within us, the hope of glory. Though our tendency at Christmas is to look outward at God coming to be among us, the true meaning of Christmas lies in realizing it is Christ within us that enables us to do his will in the world.
Text: Luke 2:1-20; John 1:14; Isaiah 9:6
Prop: a baby doll or poster of Nativity scene
Summary: The lowly shepherds heard the birth announcement of Jesus first. The Shepherd of the world was born in a lowly stable and is an example for us to be humble. The good news is for all people.
Look what I brought with me today. [a baby doll] We will celebrate Christmas soon. Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus. We have this holiday on December 25th, but we are not certain this was the actual day Jesus was born. The Christian, Roman emperor Constantine decided on this day in 325 AD to replace the pagan holiday of Saturnalia.
The Apostle John hints that the birth may have been in the fall (Sept.-Oct.) near the Jewish feast of tabernacles by his words in John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us… It most likely was not in the middle of winter because the shepherds were abiding in the field. In late December, it would be too cold to spend the night outside in a field.
What is more important is that God chose to come into the world as a baby, and how humbly he did it. Now humble is a word that means gentle, and not putting on a big show of importance.
Actually, the fact that Jesus was born was the most important news in the world. It deserved to be told to the most important people in the world: the kings and emperors. But is this who heard the news first? No! God sent his angel to lowly shepherds tending to flocks of sheep. Shepherds were not viewed by others as being important at all. They had a very humble job. This is why God made it clear that the good news was for all people, even the very poorest people.
(Read Luke 2:8-14) The shepherds were told of Jesus’ birth first. This was not the birth of any ordinary child. This baby was the Son of God. Was he born in a palace and wrapped in fine silk clothing? No! There was not even room at the inn. He was born in a lowly stable where animals slept. His only bed was the straw in the feeding trough (a manger). He had small strips of cloth wrapped around him, not a warm pair of baby diapers. His family wasn’t rich, but lived modestly. The Savior of the world entered the world in a humble fashion as an example for us to be humble. As Isaiah 9:6 says Unto us a child is born… The Prince of Peace.
The shepherds hurried to Bethlehem and found the manger where Jesus lay. Then they returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen… As you ponder the meaning of Christmas this year, be sure to thank God for sending us his Son Jesus, and giving us an example of being humble. It doesn’t matter if there is no room at the inn, as long as there is room in your heart.
©1998 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.
Text: Matthew 2:1-11; Micah 5:2; Psalm 72:10,11,15
Prop: a poster of the baby Jesus receiving gifts from the wise men.
Summary: Wise men from the east gave gifts to the baby Jesus and worshipped him as God. Today men who are wise still worship Jesus.
Do you know who has a birthday at Christmas? [Jesus] Yes, the baby Jesus is the reason for the season. Now tell me, how many of you like to get presents on your birthday? [ask for a show of hands] Yes, all of you! Well today I want to tell you about the baby Jesus and the gifts he received shortly after being born.
The people of Israel knew that the Savior would one day be born in Bethlehem, a small village near Jerusalem. The prophet Micah had foretold this over 700 years before Jesus was born.
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2)
Now the wise men from the east had followed a star that God the Father had placed in the sky to guide them. When they arrived in Jerusalem they went to see King Herod. They asked him where they could find the newly born king so they could go to worship him. This troubled King Herod and made him jealous and mad. He didn’t like the idea of someone else (much less a child) being called a king. He asked the priests and they told him Christ would be born in Bethlehem. Then Herod told the wise men to return after they found the child king and tell him so he could go and worship him also. King Herod was trying to trick the wise men, because he really meant to harm the child.
So the wise men continued to follow the star to Bethlehem until they found the house where the baby Jesus lay. We are not certain how many wise men came. We can guess that maybe at least three came because that is how many gifts they brought. They may have even been kings from other lands in the east (Arabia and Persia) because one of the gifts was gold, which is very expensive.
There is a prophecy in Psalm 72 that says kings from Arabia would bring gifts, in particular the gift of gold, and worship him.
…the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him… to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba… (Psalm 72:10, 11, 15).
(Read Matthew 2:11) The wise men worshipped the baby Jesus as God the Savior and gave him gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts were very meaningful. Gold was fitting for a king. Frankincense was a resin from a balsam tree used as a medicine. This king would heal his people. Myrrh, an herb used in burials, was the most unusual gift in that it pointed to the importance that this child-king’s death would mean later in life.
Christmas is the day we celebrate the birth of Christ our Lord. These wise men came to worship the newborn king. Today, men who are wise still worship Jesus. When you open your presents on Christmas morning this year, remember to pause and thank God for sending us the greatest gift of all: his Son Jesus.
©1998 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.
The Gift of God
Text: Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 12:1
Prop: a gift bag with a piece of paper or cardboard marked “GRACE” in it
Summary: God’s gift of grace is for us to receive. We cannot earn our way to heaven; we must trust Jesus to save us.
I know you are excited now that Christmas has come. Did you get any gifts this year? [listen to responses] One of the songs we hear played this time of year is The Little Drummer Boy. In the song we learn that the little boy did not have anything special to give to the baby Jesus. He could only give of himself so he played on his drum for the baby Jesus. Today I want to tell you about the gift of God.
God decided long ago that he would send us his Son Jesus. He came as a baby in a manger. God loves us so much that he gave us a gift. Let’s look in this gift bag and find out what he gave us. [open the bag and pull out the paper marked “GRACE”] What does this say? Yes, it is GRACE. Grace is a word we hear a lot in church but sometimes we don’t know what it means. Grace means we have been given something we don’t deserve because we cannot do anything to earn it.
The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8,9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
When Jesus was grown he died on the cross to pay for our sins or badness. We could never be good enough to get to heaven on our own. Jesus loves us so much he wants us to go to heaven when we die and be with him forever. We have a gift we can give to God. Just as the drummer boy gave of himself we can give ourselves to God and serve Him.
In Romans 12:1 it says I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. That means our gift is giving ourselves to God. We can do that when we trust Jesus to be our Savior and follow Him all through life on earth.
©2000 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. – Colossians 1:26-27
Text: John 1:10-14
Prop: An overnight delivery package.
Summary: God delivered his own Son, the baby Jesus, at just the right time. This explains the incarnation.
Have you ever received an overnight package?([Show prop.) The sender feels that the item being delivered is so important that it needs a special delivery. It is important to deliver it on time. Today I want to tell you about the time God sent the baby Jesus into the world at just the right time.
No one is certain exactly what day of the year Jesus was born. We celebrate his birth on Christmas Day, December 25th. God had been preparing for hundreds of years to send his Son into the world. He sent an angel to tell Mary that she would be the mother. Then, at exactly the right time since the world began, God sent the world a gift as a special delivery: the baby Jesus.
(Read John 1:14.) God became incarnate. That is a big word that means God came as a man, yet that man was still God. God knew the best way for us to love and trust him was to become like us, to come into the world the way we do, as a baby. Some people think this is the real meaning of Christmas, but it isn’t. Some people totally miss the real meaning of Christmas. Think about this: if a gift package was delivered to you would it do any good to leave it lying on the doorstep? No, of course not. A gift is not a gift until it is accepted and received. You would have to sign for the package and open it to see what was inside.
(Read John 1:12.) It is only those persons that receive Jesus in their hearts and believe on his name by faith that become the sons of God (and daughters of God). That is called being born again. The real meaning of Christmas is not simply God being with us, but God living within us. Christ in you, the hope of glory is the great mystery at last made known, at just the right time.
Dear God: Thank you for sending the baby Jesus into the world at just the right time. Help me to open my heart and receive him as my own special delivery. Amen.
©2002 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.
In the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holiday season many people head out with shopping list in hand and cell phone at their ear, multi-tasking and hurrying to get to a sale and bring home gifts to wrap. Few seem to pause and reflect on reason they set out in the first place. Even fewer stop and listen to the Holy Spirit whisper to their hearts about the beauty they are shown in each magical moment that Jesus gives.
The Washington Post won a Pulitzer Prize for a story about violin virtuoso Joshua Bell’s incognito performance in a Washington subway in January 2007. In 45 minutes he played pieces (two by Bach), some of the most beautiful and technically difficult musical compositions ever written on a $3.5 million handcrafted 1713 Stradivarius violin. Of nearly 1100 passers-by, 27 people tipped a total of $32, and only 7 stopped to listen, and 1 recognized him for who he was. Three nights earlier he sold out a Boston theater with seats of $100. It was an interesting social experiment to determine if people would recognize beauty in a mundane setting at an inconvenient time.
The same thing happened a little over 2000 years ago. The hustle and bustle of a census being taken, a man and his pregnant wife entered Bethlehem and couldn’t find room at the inn, and had to settle in and share the night with the animals in a manger… a mundane setting at an inconvenient time. It was here, that the Creator of All That Is, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, came humbly into our realm as a baby to live among us, and show us the Way back Home. A few shepherds stopped to listen to the amazing news told to them by angels, and hurried to see the new-born King. Yes, those dirty, smelly, bottom-of-the-social ladder shepherds. Go figure.
So my question to you is this: will you stop and listen? Will you recognize Him for who He is?
See http://www.snopes.com/music/artists/bell.asp for details on violinist Joshua Bell’s performance.