Note: this message follows the lectionary reading for December 27, but obviously can be preached before Christmas if you change the introduction.
Do you realize that there are only 363 shopping days until next Christmas? Do you also realize that even though the season just ended for us, the next Christmas season is beginning this week for thousands and thousands of business people—from distributors and manufacturers to marketing and advertising executives? They are all beginning to make plans for Christmas 1999. In fact, many will spend the entire year focusing on this one particular month.
I used to work in retail; I was the manager of a record store. There were more than 100 stores in our chain. Dozens of those stores lost money 11 months of the year, but were ultimately profitable due to the strength of Christmas sales. There's no doubt about it: Christmas is big business, and many businesses spend their entire year focusing on the single month of December.
This week I began to think: Wouldn't it be great if we could be so focused on the Christmas message that it consumed our entire year as well? Today's Scripture is found in Matthew; it is the story of the journey of the wise men to see Jesus. We consider this a Christmas story, yet it is this Sunday's (December 27) suggested reading for all Christian churches, as outlined in the New Common Lectionary.
Today, even though Christmas is behind us, we're going to look at this story of the Magi for the following reasons: One, we need to remember that Christmas has year-round significance in our lives. Two, this story teaches truths about God that go far beyond what we see in the average Christmas pageant. It presents a radical view of God that challenged ...
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Steve May is a speaker, author, and missionary living in Knoxville, Tennessee. He has served as pastor of churches in Oklahoma, California, and Tennessee. He is author of several books, including Preaching Through the Year.